Learn how improving SERP visibility and organic traffic relies on various types of structured data.
SEOs have faced a real challenge in recent years due to a steady decline in organic click-through rates.
According to Tanner Zoromski, SEO manager at Merkle, the best way for SEOs to excel in this increasingly competitive environment is to shift their focus to SERP features and rich results.
To increase this type of visibility, technical SEO practitioners can effectively employ structured data and schema markup.
“We want to make search engines’ lives easier by using these techniques because, as a result, they will reward us with higher SERP rankings and increased interaction from searchers.”
Below, we summarize how structured data and schema testing can enhance SERP visibility, as presented by Zoromski at SMX Advanced.
Search is evolving continuously. Zoromski emphasized that structured data allows websites to efficiently communicate with search engines and gain a competitive edge as they roll out new features.
- Google always experiments with and applies changes to its search algorithm, increasingly relying on data scraped from websites.
- We’re witnessing results that resemble product listing pages more often, which gives us insights into the direction Google is heading.
- This means we must adapt to stay at the forefront. How can we communicate most effectively with search engines?
- And how can we ensure that, despite these changes, we remain visible and rank prominently?
- Zoromski further stressed the significance of understanding the wide array of available schema types and their correct deployment for maximum impact.
“There are over 32 different schema types that can be used to interact with more than 16 different SERP features. Whether we’re publishing articles, it’s crucial to know which schema we can leverage to help search engines index our websites.”
To protect feature snippets, often known as position zero, SEOs can use product schema, including photos and descriptions.
“Use this schema to stop rivals from diverting traffic.”
Ensure your brand presents the best information and answers consumers’ questions about your products. Moreover, maintain an on-topic narrative to dominate position zero. Schema is the key to achieving this.
In a case study from his own experience, Zoromski described how, by fixing microdata problems and replacing them with structured data, his team more than quadrupled organic sessions for a recipe website.
My team’s goal was to investigate and rectify improperly nested microdata that was causing errors in cookery videos and article markup on a blog.
When we examined the SERP for this keyword, all the top organic listings had structured data.
There was no organic listing among the top search results, underscoring the importance of implementing structured data to enhance visibility.
Our approach was to advise the client to remove the microdata and replace it with JSON-LD markup.
Consequently, we provided JSON-LD templates for structured data types such as Article, Video, Recipe, and Recipe with Nested Video.
As a result, the recipe and article structured data led to a 101% increase in organic sessions.
This demonstrates clearly that having schema on those pages significantly improved their visibility and engagement with searchers.
Zoromski recommended creating and overseeing your SEO testing process to monitor performance, taking into account various factors, such as:
- Identifying the metrics and dimensions that are impacted.
- Developing custom reports for tracking KPI performance.
- Setting specific testing schedules to ensure timely results.
- Managing internal and external variables like development releases and site promotions.
- Allowing for potential assumptions that might influence results.
- Communicating discoveries with different teams.
AI and the Future of Schema
Zoromski noted that recent advancements in AI will undoubtedly have an impact, and SEO professionals should closely observe these developments.
He concluded by saying, “With the ongoing discussions about ChatGPT, Bing, and Bard, we are witnessing far-reaching effects in the digital realm, and SEO is certainly going to experience these effects.”
“Search behavior is going to change as AI provides more natural language answers as opposed to a list of links.”
“As SEOs, we need to make sure that in the future, our sites are equipped and interact with these different changes. So keep on the lookout and make sure that you’re at the forefront of this.”