Schema Microdata: Stand Out In Search

jewelry polishing machine    

If Anthropologie is known for anything beside its bohemian vibe, it’s its window displays. They are so important to the brand’s integrity, the pretty exhibits are even part of the digital marketing strategy. Blog posts explain the creativity behind each season’s display while Pinterest boards capture the store’s whimsical spirit as seen through the glass cases. And because the windows are so carefully crafted, if you are in Anthropoligie’s target market, it is almost impossible to not stop in for a look around (or is that just me?).

In the SEO world, these window displays are search engine result pages. That’s why using powerful keywords in titles, meta descriptions and URLs is such a strong strategy; they help convince customers that the site has the answers they are seeking. Rather than continuing to scroll down the search engine results page (SERP), a visitor will decide to enter your site.

But every site has title tags, meta descriptions and URLs, just like every brick-and-mortar has a sign, a door and friendly salesperson asking what you are shopping for. So how can you make your organic listing stand out like Anthro’s windows do amid myriad similar stores?

Microdata, specifically that of

Just so we’re on the same page—what’s schema microdata again?

We’ll be the first to admit that Schema microdata sounds ridiculously boring, but it’s actually ridiculously awesome. In short, it makes your site stand out in the search engines by giving the searcher more information.

A few examples:

  • Rotten Tomatoes uses the Movie Schema to show a movie’s Tomatometer rating in the SERP.
  • LinkedIn uses the Person Schema to fill in a person’s name and job position when a LinkedIn results shows in the SERP.

Schema microdata is unique in that Google, Bing and Yahoo now universally understand the on-page markup. The big three rallied together to make this microdata accessible so that no matter which search engine you are targeting, its HTML vocabulary works.

This added information makes it easier for search engines to figure out the page’s topic. We all know why this matters: Google, Bing or Yahoo can deliver more accurate results for the search query. Is your content about dolphins referring to the Miami sports team or Flipper? Context matters, and schema microdata can offer it. Because using schema microdata tells the search engine this more detailed information, it has the potential to increase CTR.

Thus, schema microdata can be incredibly powerful. Which begs the question, why aren’t more webmasters using these rich snippets?

I’m a runner gearing up for my fall half marathon, which means I’m using my tried-and-true gear more than ever. I researched the products I use on every run and how their schema microdata stack up in the SERPs. Of the five products I looked at, three are using schema microdata to some extent.

Saucony Kinvara 7

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Lululemon Cool Racerback

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Picky Bars Smooth Caffeinator

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Saucony and Lululemon show the products’ aggregate review in the SERP itself, which help add depth to their listings. Both products have high ratings, which only adds more incentive for a potential customer to click through. Saucony and Picky Bars display the price of the item, which is another way to add depth to the listings.

Two products I looked at aren’t marking up their search results with schema microdata: Nuun strawberry lemonade tablets and Garmin’s Forerunner 220 watch.

 Nuun Strawberry Lemonade

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Garmin Forerunner 220

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This absence of schema microdata presents an incredible opportunity for these two companies to become more competitive in the SERPs. Providing these extra bits of information can provide customers a richer incentive to click through and convert.

Without this additional mark-up, results easily blend into the SERP. For example, take Vitamin Shoppe’s entry for Nuun. By simply including the aggregate review, the search result has an added layer of depth than Nuun’s.

Nuun Strawberry Lemonade

Schema microdata is a compelling way to make a brand stand out in the eyes of a search engine. By giving customers the answers they are looking for upfront, brands can increase trust—and ultimately conversions.

Pan Galactic Digital is a digital marketing agency in St. Louis, Mo., focused on search marketing (SEO/PPC), and social media and content marketing strategy. Pan Galactic has worked with clients such as Microsoft, Nestle USA, Sun Chlorella, Learning Ally, The Resumator, Novus International and Shasta Beverages, as well as partnered with marketing agencies, to provide digital strategy and execution.