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Schema.org vs Google Structured Data Rich Results

Jan 25, 2021
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In this video, we're going to talk about Schema.org and how it compares to Google's structured data rich results.

So what is Schema.org? It's a vocabulary used to cover entities and the relationships between those entities and the possible actions that can take place. You can use it to extend the meaning of your content and the context of your website. You can also use it to earn Google rich features by adding certain schema.org structured data to your website pages.

 

Links from the video:

Mastering Structured Data

Video Transcript:

In the latest episode of Hack My Growth, we're going to be taking a look Schema.org and the role it plays within Google Search's rich results.

Hey, thanks so much for checking out this video. If you've watched our channel before and you haven't yet hit subscribe, please do so now and don't forget to click on like, if you like the video you're watching and also feel free to add a comment or question below, we'd love to engage with you here online. We create new content each week to help you get the most out of your digital marketing activities. All right, let's go.

A lot of people have questions about what is Schema.org and how does that compare to Google's structured data rich results? In this video, we're going to talk a little bit about the difference between the two or really how they work together in order to help you rank for those specific rich results.

What Is Schema.org?

What is Schema.org? It's a vocabulary that is used to cover entities and the relationships between those entities and the possible actions that can take place.

You can use this to extend the knowledge of your site, to extend the meaning of your content in your texts by adding structure to it with this specific language. This was a language that was developed with the help of a number of different search engine providers, Google,  Bing,  Yandex, and Yahoo to name a few. It's one that has been adopted by a number of different websites and is continually used as probably the most known structured data vocabulary on the web today. What is Google structured data rich results? Google uses structured data to actually understand the content and the context of a page. You can earn these rich features by adding certain structured data to your specific website pages. Now Google uses the Schema.org vocabulary to enable rich results.

We can learn quite a bit about these different types of structured data that we can use to earn rich results by going to the developer.google site and understanding a little bit deeper what's going on behind the search gallery.

This is something really important to understand. When we are targeting rich features, we want to rely on the specific documentation that is provided to us from the developer.google site. This is going to tell us the exact markup that we need to add to our sites in order to earn these rich features. 

Schema.org will have a lot more, it will have extra properties and more information that can be added, but for the specifics of earning rich features and rich results, we need to follow the guidelines that Google gives us. Even if you want to extend things with Schema.org, that's fine, but you need to make sure that you have the attributes and the objects that are needed within the developer's .google.site. Here's a little bit more information from Google.

Using Google With Schema.org

This was covered on SEO Roundtable, looking at the difference between Schema and Google structured data, and this is what John Mueller said, "In particular, we support a subset of the functionality or the different types of markup from Schema.org." Like I said before, they're using the vocabulary and those are the things that we would show in the search result.

Google is taking certain things and certain types of markup from Schema.org and using that to enable rich results within the search results. He goes on to say that everything else is essentially nice to have, something where you're adding a little more information. Then he goes on to say, he doesn't expect this to have any impact on search. If we jump over here, this is the developer.google site, which talks about the rich results and understanding how we can use structured data.

As you can see here, they've got a number of different structured data types. You've got articles, books, breadcrumbs, carousels, courses, and the like. All of these are different types of markup that you can add and they also give you a little image of what it would look like here with any specific search result. Now you can walk through each one of these, click into them, read a little bit about it. If we look in here in articles, it's going to tell us that there are two different types, one with AMP and one with non-AMP pages. And then here, it's going to give us an example of that structured data might look like. We're seeing here the context of Schema.org. It's going to say what type, it's a news article, and then here's the headline, the images, and the like. You're also going to see guidelines here.

You want to make sure that you follow the guidelines and the things that Google is looking for when they're looking at this type of market. This is extremely important when you want to implement this markup on your website, especially when we get into AMP, they've got a logo guideline.

You want to make sure that you follow those and go a little deeper and understand here each of the objects that are required when you're building out these types of markup for rich results. Again, they're using the Schema.org vocabulary, but these are the things that Google requires specifically. When we look at article schema over here at Schema.org, you'll notice that there are a lot more properties than what we saw in the Google documentation. Everything from the creator or the copyrights, you've even got audio you can markup, speakable which this will impact with things like Siri or Google or any of these other digital assistants. There's a lot of things that you can do here with Schema.org that are not required for the rich features.

Don't Solely Depend on Schema.org

There are some people who have marked up their site only looking at Schema.org. Maybe they've missed some of these required categories over here and they're not getting indexed the way they think that they should be, or maybe not earning a rich feature. Now, if you want to earn rich features, you need to follow these requirements here.

If you're a non-AMP page, you need to have an image, a headline, and the date published and modified. If you're an AMP page, you have a lot more requirements here. But what if you want to add some additional markup here? Is that something you should do? In my opinion, that's an absolute yes. You should leverage this and add as much context and as much information as you can. I know that John Mueller said in his quote that this wouldn't likely result in a positive uptick in search, but look at the data and at how certain sites perform when they do extend their structured data. They model their content a little deeper and they make it easier, one for the crawlers to read, and two for the crawlers to understand and specifically understand the intent.

We have seen in a number of tests, this results in an uptick in organic traffic. Start with the basics, go for the Google structured data guidelines, make sure that you're following the guidelines that are here within their article, and then make sure that you look for ways to extend your markup a little bit further.

Test for Effectiveness

One of the things you need to do is run experiments to see what the actual impact of making these changes is. I'm going to share some real results from extending your schema. Now, this is an experiment that was done by WordLift using the local markup. As a result of extending their markup, they were able to see a 5% increase in the number of clicks coming from Google search.

To make sure that this was relevant, it wasn't just by chance, they use CausalImpact. And here they're able to reduce some of the fluctuations and able to actually get a positive probability associated with this change. And as you can see, here was the graph from CausalImpact, in which we can see a positive change and we know that also from this data that it was statistically significant. We can see that making the change for this specific site had a positive impact. If you want to read more, please check out the link which I will provide below. This doesn't happen in isolation, it's not just a one-off thing. This is an experiment that we ran using some extensions of entity markup with one of our client's websites. After three weeks of building the model and marking up the site more extensively with entities and extending the Schema.org, we saw a 12.4% increase in clicks from search.

We also did the same thing by leveraging CausalImpact and we found that the probability of attaining this effect by chance was extremely small, that the statistics were significant. This is something we've extended further on this site.

Don't Just Depend on Google

It's important that you run your own tests, that you don't just take Google's word for it because they don't always tell the whole story. They kind of beat around things at times. And sometimes the crawlers do like the fact that you extend your structured data and you provide more value. Here are some key takeaways. Number one, Schema.org is a structured data vocabulary. That's all that it is. It's a vocabulary that we can use to markup our content, our site. Now Google uses Schema.org for their rich results markup. When you're building rich results markup, you're going to be working within Schema.org.

Now, in order to earn rich results it is extremely important to follow the Google Search Developer Guidelines. Follow what they say, put it to the test, and add the required markup objects. You need to make sure that you follow the guidelines and you use the correct markups. Then you can always extend that Schema.org markup and you can add more information, you can add more layers of data and help them better understand what your content is about. Now the most important thing to do is to not do what somebody else is doing. Don't look at somebody else and say, "Oh, they did that. So it's probably going to work on my site as well." That may be true, but the reality is there are no defined rules when it comes to SEO. We have to test, we have to try things within our niche, within our specific site and see what works.

There are a lot of cool ways that you can do that. CausalImpact is a cool tool that you can use. I know that there are some awesome companies out there who are working on other testing tools that you can leverage to run these A/B tests and A/B experiments; we've talked about them here on this channel. That's really, important to do. You need to experiment for yourself and see what works within your sites. Now, if you're interested in learning more about structured data and actually how to earn these rich results, which we went over here today, we have a course it's called Mastering Structured Data in Schema.org for Rich Results, and that's exactly what I teach you. We go through each one of those main different types of rich result features and I walk you through how to implement this on your site.

As always, we give our YouTube viewers, our YouTube watchers and subscribers, a 25% off code. You have to use the term YouTube when you check out.

You can get access to this course at learn.simplifiedsearch.net. Once you join, you become part of our community and we're there to help you make sure that you're doing this right. We've got a Schema.org generator that helps you build these things out; we also show you how to do it on your WordPress site, as well as sites that don't use WordPress. If you're interested in earning rich features, this is exactly what this course was built for to help you achieve that and see the same results as a lot of these big sites are seeing. It's a really cool way to even the playing field. I hope you learned something new today. I hope this information was really valuable. If you have any questions, please comment below. We'd love to continue that conversation with you. Until next time, Happy Markup.

Mastering Structured Data

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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