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October 1, 2014

SMX East Liveblog: 25 Smart Examples of Structured Data You Can Use Now

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Have you reviewed your website inventory and implemented structured data markup wherever applicable? If you haven’t, then maybe it should be next on your SEO to-do list. In this session, presenters go over some of the structured data types you might want to start using right now. Perhaps most important to your decision of whether or not you need to add markup now, speaker Mike Arnesen shares how to track the ROI of rich snippets. By connecting Google Analytics to your structured markup via Google Tag Manager, you’ll find holes and gaps in your rich snippets and also be able to set goals for them. (I’ll catch as many examples as my fingers can possibly capture.)

Moderator: Elisabeth Osmeloski, Director of Audience Development, Third Door Media, Inc. (@elisabethos)

Speakers:

  • Mike Arnesen, SEO Team Manager, SwellPath (@mike_arnesen)
  • Justin Briggs, Sr. Manager, Organic Marketing, Getty Images (@justinrbriggs)
  • Samuel Edwards, Online Media Strategist, Tenthwave Digital (@samuel_quincy)

7 Examples of Structured Data You Can Implement Today

Samuel Edwards works at a full service marketing agency.

A Brief Overview of Structured Data

It’s info formatted in a universally understandable way; abiding by a predetermined set of rules that define data types and the relations between them. Users understand the context of content on a given page, while search engines aren’t always able to discern the difference between “seal” musician, animal, approval. Do a search for “seal” and look at the funny hybrid result.

Rich Snippets are available for recipe, product, review, event — you’ve probably seen this before.

1. Review Rich Snippet

When review info is marked up, Google can present that info on a SERP. We see star rating, number of reviews. The main topic of the page has to be about a specific product/service. Can’t be in the adult industry. If the markup contains a single review, the reviewer’s name has to be legitimate.

2. Product Rich Snippets

Merchants can give search engines product info for rich snippets. Aggregate rating, total reviews, item price, item availability, and essentially endless qualities. Whatever you markup for crawlers you want displayed to the user as well. Product markup on product listing or category pages aren’t displayed. Has to be on the individual product page.

3. Event Rich Snippets

Day, dates, name of event, venue of event and city of the event. You can also markup performer, doorTime, startDate, location. Info has to be as detailed as possible. Event names aren’t supported if you include something like a call to action.

4. Job Listings Rich Snippets

Listings, company, job title, location. Can also add hiring organization, base salary, industry, and more.

5. Restaurant Rich Snippets

Ratings, number of reviews, price range. Can also add address, rating value, rating count.

6. Application Rich Snippets

Image, rating, number of reviews, offer and prices. Can add OS, reviews, screenshot of app. You have to incorporate at least 2 of the following properties: aggregate rating, offer, OS or software application category.

7. Recipe Rich Snippets: A Case Study with Duncan Hines

Ratings, total reviews, calories, minutes to cook and a lot more, as you can see in the slide:

recipe rich snippets

You may be thinking that sounds great but do I need to display structured data on all the appropriate pages? Yes.

Everyone is doing it! Prior to implementation, Tenthwave analyzed the top 263 organic search terms driving traffic to DuncanHines.com from Google and we found that at least one result on page had structured data.

Getting Started

  1. Used schema for recipe and looked through the item properties applicable.
  2. Sitewide implementation via a template with HTML markup, the schema tags as well as placeholders into which the server injects the actual recipe data when rendering the recipe detail page. Nearly all the pages on the site are UGC so this template stamped structured data on all new pages.
  3. Validate using the Structured Data Testing Tool.

Early Results

Markup was implemented in mid February. Organic search traffic from Google increased by 35.07% from Jan. prior and YOY increase was 93.46%. Plus quite a few specific results saw increases above the average, like 73.56% to 389% for Mountain Dew cake recipe.

Observe Ranking Increases: While Google claims adding markup doesn’t affect rankings, they found that 75% of 263 terms analyzed in the test saw an improvement in search rankings within two weeks of implementing Schema markup.

GWT is your best friend. Use it to validate the code you’re implementing. Use the testing tool, use Fetch as Google to crawl and find errors, then fix the errors reported.

Apps and Structured Markup

Justin Briggs will talk about conversational search and entities as mobile is moving to cross the tipping point and the majority of our traffic will come from mobile devices. The data we’re getting is more personal, too. It has access to location, email, applications. Search can execute functions, get into your apps, play songs, schedule invites, get into your email.

Conversational Search: users speak directly into search. the search is aware of hotel reservation ability. it understands that the hotel is an entity (known location) and it’s location aware.

App Indexing (Android apps): SE will know the apps installed and which are used most frequently; when you open a result from a SERP it may open the page in your HuffPo app, for instance.

Creating Indexable Apps

There’s an App URL format. Set up deep linking inside of an application. It can support multiple types of schemes. It can support a host path that takes you into the app. The control file for app deep linking is AndroidManifest.xml. When your app is crawlable and indexable, the next step is attaching that to web pages. Use JSON-LD for this. JSON-LD is a lightweight linking data structure. Implementation is effectively the same as corresponding mdot pages.

When you have a crawlable, indexable app you can add App Indexing API. This sends user behavior back to Google. Another consideration is noindexing sections of your app.

Leveraging App Actions

How do we get to a world where you tell your mobile “OK Google drive to Grandma’s house” and it opens a map app and controls the car. Or, just open the app Spotify to play the song you tell it to play. The Knowledge Graph is where it begins. KG means Google understands relationships and actions that can be applied to different types of entities.

Schema in email: Structured data in emails can appear in search results. If you send yourself an email with details about your trip to San Francisco, opening up Google Now will give you weather for SF.

8 More Ways to Implement and Track Structured Data

Mike Arnesen will talk about something that bridges the gap between SEO and analytics. Who has a plan to track the ROI of structured data on your site? You can see the impact of structured data by using Google Tag Manager, a way to deliver tags on your site so you don’t have to engage a development team every time you want to make a change to your site. You have container code for Google Tag Manager and then pushing changes go through tag manager interface which is pushed out through the container tag. bit.ly/semantic-hobbit

mike arnesen at smx east 2014

Mike Arnesen on stage at SMX East 2014

1. Audit and Discovery — Let’s see what we have here.

Use analytcis and Screaming Frog to identify prime targets for improvement.  You may have a blog, events, case studies. Look at the content types you can implement structured data on.

2. Implementation Plan

What content on your site is important? Trick question! It’s all important!

Build templates and guides you can use for all content types.

3. Events — Decide which events matter to you

When you’ve identified events on your site, go to GTM to create a tag name, type and web property ID for GA. Then select track type event, giving values that are recorded in GA such as category and action (like “person markup on-page”). You then select firing rules (like “has person markup rule”). Rule name and conditions (event that “equals gtm.dom” then fire the macro).

4. Start tracking — Set tag manager to listen for structured data

Custom JavaScript Macro: Detect schema.org markup on page and the result is true or false (do or don’t fire).

Creation order and naming conventions for  Macros, Rules and Tags: has to be created in that order.

5. Groupings — Keep track of each grouping

When you have this tracking and baseline info coming into GA, setup dynamic content grouping in GTM.

6. Goals — Create a goal to track performance

7. Watch the crawl — keep monitoring Google’s crawling to ID missing data or errors.

8. All Powerful Search — one sitelink to rule them all. Google rolled out a new feature, a site search box. SItes with a lot of popularity and navigational searches. This sends the user to a site: search for that website. A lot of publishers are nervous because the sercher is staying in Google longer. But instead, you’re making a handoff into your direct interal search experience. You have that visitor, staying on your site, and all the search traffic data (no not provided). Create a custom HTML tag in GTM to get Google to handoff search to site’s internal search.

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