When it comes to structured data, I’m a huge fan – anything a webmaster can do to showcase their site better within the search engine result pages is a tool to be considered. Here is a little insight into getting traffic from search engines, the ranking position is certainly a big factor but you can often draw people to click your site, from lower down in the rankings, with schema markup, proper page title use and meta descriptions that draw in users.
Every time I’ve picked up an SEO audit from a previous freelancer or agency, it tends to have Schema markup on there and has been on the list for some time. I feel there is certainly a lot of reluctance when it comes to incorporating these markup tags but the results will come quite quickly. I’ve always had the sense that people who neglect them tend to not really understand their use and more importantly, their benefits.
When it comes to Schema markup, there are plenty of tools that can validate on a page by page basis, or crawler tools like SEMRush, ahrefs, Screaming Frog and Sitebulb that will give you indications of incorrect Schema used. There is a massive blind spot with this, validation tools tend to work by looking at the source code on the site and validating it around the correct markup. I’ve seen it many times where rich snippets won’t be present on an audit because there isn’t a trade of Schema markup on the site, which can often push this under the carpet. So in summary, I would first assess which markup is required against the nature of the site you’re auditing, then ensure the tags are correctly used. Many SEOs miss this key message and presume everything is fine when they are missing out on a big opportunity.
Once you have assessed which tags are required on the site, deploy them on the front end using markup tags. There are several tools available, even a Google schema validation tool, which can give you specifics in regards to what is missing and what is correct. Simply work through these fixes to get a pass label on the schema. I’d also recommend looking at this on a logic level, it’s likely illogical to fix schema on a page by page basis so I’d try and rollout site-wide e.g. if you can nail down Schema on a product page, roll it out to the other product page, dragging in the correct information such as title, price, stock level and so on.
Once you are using the correct tags on the site and the code is correct, there are a couple of steps you can take to prevent any new errors from surfacing. The first place is to adjust any code on the front end with caution, if you change the locations of key information for Schema you can miss out on vital tags and lose visibility. So, I’d always recommend deploying code with a checklist and on that list having the validation of schema when new code is deployed. The second is to monitor any changes to the coding structure or framework with Schema, any new tags or changes in how existing ones are used. The final way I tend to prevent them albeit reactionary is to run a crawl on the site with my favourite SEO software.
Additional feedback from me when it comes to Schema markup.
- I always, always recommend being 100% accurate with tags, for things like aggregateRating I’ve seen people just group together a 5-star ratings, which isn’t a true reflection of their Trustpilot score for example.
- Find a working framework that is validated and then roll that out site-wide, no good will ever come of trying to implement it page by page.
- Web developers are often well versed in handling Schema markup – occasionally they can miss out on some required tags or fail to keep it up to date; so please validate any new sites or key changes that it is still compliant.
- If you want to see any improvements to validate the developer’s work, if you identify the pages which have Schema showing on the front end of the search engine result pages, monitor CTR – you’d ideally like to see a keyword that has maintained a ranking over a period of time and monitor how it has impacted the click-through rate. If you are searching for a product and yours has the review score for example and stock levels vs. a competitor higher up the SERPs without it, you have a chance at stealing a click from them.
- If you want to see how prominent it is within your industry, I recommend doing some searches for product lines and seeing how much Schema markup is being served within a particular industry/search term/product phrase etc…