Live From SMX Advanced: Schema & Authorship: 1 Year Later

By Chad Rhodes | Jun 6, 2012
More Articles by Chad


After the Keynote with Bing’s Derrick Connell this morning, it is time for session 1 of the day at SMX. I am attending Schema & Authorship: 1 Year Later. Speakers will be covering how Schema.org and authorship have changed over the last year, and will be giving advice on how to get the most out of them in the future.

Rick DeJarnette, President, The SEO Ace (@rickdejarnette)

The Definitive Guide to Google Authorship Markup

Google authorship markup is Google’s attempt to attribute author credit to expert content. Using this markup will allow author info, including a picture, and more to show up in SERPs.

Requirements & Methods

You must have a way to varify your digital identity. A Google+ account will work for this. You need to link your content to a Google+ profile. There are 3 ways to do this however.

3 link method – This method uses an author bio page. The Google+ profile links to the author bio page, then the author bio page links to G+, and finally all of the content pages link to the author bio page.

  • In the author bio page, add a link to your Google+ profile. This anchor text should be “Google+”. You will need to use a source code from Google that includes both your Google+ URL, and a
  • Each content page must have a rel=author tag
  • In your Google+ profile you will need to add a link to your author bio page

2 link method – This method is for content pages that contain an author bio page at the bottom

  • Each content page must have a link to your Google+ page, using the anchor text “Google+”. A rel=author tag must also be included within the author bio rich snippet at the bottom of the page
  • In your Google+ profile, add a link to your publishing site’s home page. This should be added to the contributor section of your profile

Email verification method – This is for people who are not able to modify their author bio snippet or page. This method is usable as long as the content domain name mathces that of your email address. This address must also be linked to your Google+ profile

  • There is a form on Google+ to enter your information to confirm your email
WordPress however, offers some challenges. The easiest way to do create this link with WordPress is to use the 2-link method. However, not all themes on WordPress offer an author bio snippet at the bottom of the page. There are plugins that will work with some themes to work around this though.
Other Tips

You must enable +1′s in your Google+ profile in order for this to work correctly. A headshot of yourself is also required. Additionally, you should link your other social profiles to your Google+ site. Consider adding information about your job, your employers, or any other item that may help add to your credibility as a writer.

To validate the markup code you can use the Google rich snippet testing tool. You should see a preview and a confirmation message to let you know that the code has been verified correctly.

If your site uses rel=publisher, make sure it is used only on the homepage. If it is on all pages of the site, it can cause rel=author to not work correctly.

Matthew Brown, Founder, AudienceWise

Google’s knowledge graph just represents data that they have always had, but are just presenting their semantic web data differently.

Bing is doing things a little differently. They require that you use more markup. They also have more access to social data from Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook’s Open Graph data dwarfs Google and Bing’s semantic web data. To make the most use of this, you should also tag anything you use Schema.org on with Open Graph code.

Structured Data Tools

  • Schema Creator – A quick and easy way to create data for your site
  • Microdata Generator – This is great for small businesses to create the markup data they need
  • Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool – Will help you test your markup to make sure that it is working correctly
  • Bing Markup Validator – This tool can test more types of markup than Google’s
  • Structured Data Linter – Is able to test all kind of rich snippets and code on a page, and covers a lot more than all other tools
  • Sindice – A search engine that only searches the semantic web. This is useful for seeing who is using semantic code and for what
Keep an eye out for new Schema’s that are becoming available. If you can be the first person to start marking up with a new type you are at a big advantage.
Semantic Tech and Linked Data – Why should I care?
 Creating new unique content is great, but it can be difficult to get new sources of information. However, there is more than just regular entities. You can do active targeting. For example, link zip codes to show where it is raining and then show results for rain gear products in those areas.
A lot of the data that Google pulls for the Knowledge Graph comes from DBpedia, which is essentially just a big database of semanitc data that is similar to Wikipedia.

Benu Aggarwal, President, Milestone Internet Marketing (@milestonemktg)

How You Can Change Site Architecture To Deploy Schema’s

  • Identify which entities are relavent to your site. Go to Schema.org and pick out which verticals you fit into.
  • Next, pick out which Schema’s will work best for you. How do these work together to make sense for your customers?
  • Add reviews to your site. You just need name, email, comment, and rating fields in order for Schema to pull the review information into SERPs
Certain Schema’s may require you to change the architecture of your site. For example, to include the “Things to Do” Schema, you must be able to include content like business names, addresses, and more.
Results - for a small local business
  • High visibility
  • High click-through-rates
  • High ranking for long tail keywords
  • Significant drop in bounce rate
  • Conversion rates on long tail keyword saw an increase
On average, based on Milestone’s research, the business saw a 56% increase in revenue since the new site with Schema tags went live.
Key Take Aways
  • Identify your correct vertical
  • Consider changing site architecture and content to deploy Schema tags more effectively
  • Schema’s can help gain relevant traffic, reduce bounce rate, and can help get content around your long tail keywords served more accurately
  • Add items like review functionality to help improve the freshness from your site, as well as get feedback from customers
  • Make sure all reviews have Schema’s and rating functions integrated
  • Don’t scare your content writers with Schema. Let your tech people handle it

David Weichel, SEO Manager, CPC Strategy (@DavidWeichel)

Rich Snippets Abuse: What We Learned

There has been a lot of press regarding rich snippet spam lately. Google has responded by creating a spam reporting form so they can review potential abuse. So what is the difference between using  rich snippets correctly and abusing them?

Constants between sites with proper and improper implementation

  • Schema markup
  • Internal Page with client testimonials
  • Only on the home page

The sole difference is the itemprop=”name”. One was set as “SEO” while the other was called “reviews & testimonials”. They both should have been shown as products.

Testing the Schema Markup

Schema code was added to CPC Strategy’s site in an attempt to get customer reviews to show up for the agency services. These tags were intentionally abusive and included the following issues:

  • Reviews were 100% fake
  • Didn’t link to any actual customer testimonials
  • Itemprop=name didn’t even have a product description
  • Did the strategy for this site even qualify for the Schema “Product” itemtype?
This code was pulled right off the Schema site, and then tested to make sure it was working correctly. 24 hours later Google crawled the site and the result looked great. However, Bing and Yahoo did not show this same rich snippet result. Google was serving the result just as it should according to the Schema tagging even though it did not lead to legitimate reviews or information.

Is there value in doing this?

While they did receive rankings that appeared with the review rich snippet, it was not a reliable source. If a searcher actually clicked this result, they would not be able to find any of the reviews. The majority of paid ads for product have review right in results. In AdWords, these reviews actually point to a real trusted source in Google. So paid ads that contain real reviews and may be served along side your products natural search results.

Could we employ a similar strategy for legitimate ratings?

Yes! Add a Schema for legitimate aggregate reviews, not individual ones. Also link to the merchant’s reviews on Google Shopping. These items help show search engines and customers that your reviews are real and trustworthy.

Other Notes

Do some competitive research. There are many tools available that will allow you to see which of your top keywords are competitive in SERPs for pages using rich snippets.

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