Live from SMX West: Structured Data Super Session: What You Need To Be Doing Now

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Mar 13, 2014
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This was a great session — everyone needs to consider adding Schema and Structured Data for multiple uses, including rich snippets. The panel was compiled of Benu Aggarwal of Milestone Internet Marketing, Jeff Preston of Disney Interactive and Frank Cheng of eBay Classifieds.

Benu Aggarwal

Benu Aggarwal was up first and covered the basics of schema and structured markup. Schema gives identity to each business and gives meaning to what searchers are looking for.

  1. First, pick your vertical.
  2. Second, look at your content. You have to implement it at the CMS level.
  3. Finally, test your markup. Use the Google Structured Data testing tool.

What is the reasoning behind schema? Before Hummingbird, Google did massive cleanup through Panda and Penguin updates. Actual meaning came from schema data and gives more relevant information to searchers.

What tools can you use to create schema? The first, most important one to implement is the “footer” schema, which often contains your address, location, etc.

Second, consider your site architecture. It may define how you need to deploy your schema and the information you want to markup.

Once you deploy schema, you likely will see traffic increases. Benu shared that she has seen that small changes in architecture and adding schema has made a big difference in site traffic.

Frank Cheng

Frank Cheng from eBay Classifieds was up next and shared how eBay Classifieds has implemented and used schema. eBay Classifieds group manages classifieds on the eBay site across the world, helping people find what they’re looking for in their local community.

Frank said that it is in their best interest to be included rather than excluded. With the change in Google with the Hummingbird algorithm, schema became very important. They use a five step process:

  1. Go through Schema.org to identify potential markup.
  2. Go through all of your categories to apply schema to.
  3. Map them together.
  4. Markup the content.
  5. Test.

The result they’ve had is traffic growth in the categories where they implemented schema, from 150-200% growth! There were other changes implemented, so it may not have been entirely schema, but they believe it was the main driver.

Jeff Preston

Last up was Jeff Preston from Disney Interactive. He started with defining how structured data relates to SEO. It helps search engines better understand content.

So what are Schema.org and Open Graph? Schema.org is for the search engines. Open Graph is more like Facebook markup. In Open Graph, they’re providing basic data like title, etc., ensures data is available (like images), links to the official Facebook page and is easy to implement. With Schema.org, though, it’s a bit more difficult to implement — it’s like a moving target. You add more code to the page to clarify information for the search engines.

As an example, for the Frozen movie site, they embedded schema information into the site. It’s all buried in the code of the page, so visitors don’t see it.

He also shared an example of Phineas and Ferb TV show, where kids would do searches for “Phineas and Ferb videos” which would take kids to a game page — not what they were looking for, so they would abandon. The SEO team implemented video schema on their videos on the site. Then the videos showed up correctly in search and the games went away, giving the searchers what they really wanted. It improved the guest experience.

They did an experiment on where Google was taking the video descriptions from. They tried putting a different description in the schema markup, in the open graph tags and in the video XML Sitemap. The results were very interesting. Google pulled the description from each in the following percentage of searches:

  • 70% schema.org
  • 20% open graph
  • 10% XML video sitemap

Also, by using schema for navigation, sitelinks showed up for the organic listing. He reviewed some other types of markup that generate rich snippets as well.

Twitter cards also have markup and you can test it there as well.

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