Using Schema.org for Rich Snippets – #SMX London

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Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak at SMX London about schema.org structured data and rich snippets. I’ve written about rich snippets before on The Tomorrow Lab blog, and in my SMX session I spoke about some of the ‘forgotten’ schemas that can trigger rich snippets.

In the same session Bastian Grimm spoke about microdata and rich snippets [slides] and quoted research from Searchmetrics that showed how 66% of Google search results include some form of rich snippet that’s enabled by structured data, but only 0.3% of websites actually implement it.

The same research indicated that, despite Google’s claims to the contrary, there are strong indications that implementing Schema.org on your website can help improve your rankings in Google.

This was also confirmed by Sam Quincy, the third speaker in our session, who showed a very interesting case study of implementing the recipe mark-up for Duncan Hines, resulting in a rather substantial improvement in rankings and traffic:

All in all this makes Schema.org a very interesting SEO opportunity for websites to set themselves apart from their competitors and claim a greater share of visibility in Google’s search results.

This was my first time speaking at the SMX conference, and it was a real treat. It’s the world’s leading search marketing conference series, and for good reason: there were many great speakers providing expert insights and the whole two-day event was very well organised.

I also got to catch up with many of my friends in the SEO industry, and meet plenty of new people as well. I even managed to get my picture taken with two Googlers – John Mueller and Maile Ohye – without spontaneously combusting.

Flanked by John Mueller and Maile Ohye

Flanked by John Mueller and Maile Ohye

I’m looking forward to next year!

Comments

  1. By on

    Nice session! Will do a similar one in Dutch within a couple of weeks :) I did missed a few notes about JSON-LD

    Regarding the improved rankings, what do you think of the increased CTR -> more traffic -> rankings going up? I don’t think just the fact of adding markup, will increase your rankings.

    Reply »

    • By on

      @Jan-Willem: aye I think that’s probably the right interpretation. Other sessions at SMX, as well as a slew of recent blogposts, all speculate on how Google is using engagement data (i.e. SERP CTR and ‘pogo-sticking’) to feed in to rankings, so it makes sense that improved CTR from rich snippets will then subsequently positively impact rankings.

      Engagement data has been used by Google for years (and it has been mis-interpreted by SEOs as Google looking at websites’ bounce rate in Google Analytics), but I think recently they turned up the volume on that particular metric.

      Reply »

      • By on

        Engagement data is very powerful but, indeed, misinterpreted by many. I have one clear case right now in which the page got around 5 links, only some social shares on the day of the launch and its ranking better week by week. The URL is one of the only ones with authorship which will increase the CTR naturally.

        What makes you think they turned up the value of these kind metrics? Could it be they are trying to lower the value of links, try to replace it with human interaction based signals?

        Reply »

  2. By on

    Thanks for this Barry. It’s nice that y0u don’t shy away from the “but it doesn’t improve rankings, does it?” question. :)

    I applaud your citation of data in support of the possible proposition that schema.org use might impact rankings. I think those data are fairly compelling but, as I keep telling people (as in, endlessly) if the search engines are able to better understand your content as a result of parsing that structured data is it in their best interests to willfully ignore that improved understanding because that content might rank higher for relevant queries? I think not.

    This is isn’t inconsistent, either, with Google and Bing’s standard disclaimers about markup not being used for ranking purposes. The laconic comment from Google that it “doesn’t use markup for ranking purposes at this time” refers only to the markup, and not the data that markup reveals or disambiguates. To use an analogy, the presence or absence of a tag in itself won’t impact your ranking, but the content of a tag certainly will (but yes, it’s a loose analogy).

    Thanks most of all for consistently referring to the vocabulary in question as “schema.org” rather than “schema”: you’ve put a smile on this pedant’s face (rivaling the smiles evident in that great picture above!:).

    Reply »

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