With over 2 trillion searches being carried out every year according to Google, you’d need to think of all the ways that can get your content above your competition on search. In addition, with Google moving from keyword-SEO to Semantic SEO with the BERT and Passage Ranking Algorithms, ensuring that you’re optimizing the entities on your web page is your ticket to be aligned with the search engine giant and be placed on the high-visibility positions on search or in other words, grab the shelf space on SERPs.
Most businesses are still in the keyword race for their content to be picked up, fewer are actually using entity optimization through schemas – and this is your leverage to get ahead.
With Google’s quest to map the world’s content using entities, schema is metadata that you can implement on your website to make it easier for the search engine to understand the content on your web page and recognize the entities and their relationship with each other. Since you’re telling the search engine what exactly the content on the web page is all about and making it easier for them when indexing a page, the search engine can pick out your content for a matching query and display the result as a rich snippet – which attracts users online. This basically means that you are controlling the content the search engine displays on search and driving Expertise-Authority-Trust (E-A-T) as schemas are defined by the top search engines.
The Challenge? Implementing schema isn’t a one time process
Quality content and schemas go hand-in-hand but brands evolve and so does their content and your schemas need to be updated constantly to suit the content changes on a website.
Secondly, Schema.org is constantly updating its vocabulary, which means schemas and their properties get updated or deprecated, and you’ll have to ensure that the schemas on your website are meeting these vocabulary updates to avoid errors – which will come in the way of the content being picked up and being displayed as rich results. To avoid this, you’ll need a robust schema management or maintenance process and we’ve drafted this into 3 critical steps to ensure that the schemas implemented on your website are going to bring your business the goodies.
3 steps for effective schema maintenance
To make sure your schemas are error-free and assist the search engine bot in understanding your website content, you’ll have to constantly follow the 3 steps we’ve listed below:
- Step 1: Recognize the technical severity of your website
This step has 3 parts to it:
- If there are any script issues
You will have to recognize if errors are being flagged because of the loader script being blocked and if there are any incorrect schemas that have been detected
- If there are any site-level notifications
If there are any errors on your website such as Redirects (3xx, 4xx) or domain errors such as 5xx.
- If there are Google-side errors in your schema implementation
If errors are flagged following schema implementation on Google’s Rich Result Testing Tool
- Step 2: Keep up with schema and website content changes
You’ll have to have a robust notification system that calls out errors if the website content has changed or if Schema.org vocabulary has been updated and the existing schemas on your website are now showing up as errors.
- Step 3: Identify Schema Opportunities
The goal is to create a nested schema architecture to map the relation of entities on your web page and this can be done by paying attention to your schema warnings which call out any missing attributes or required fields that need to be filled in for that particular schema to give the search engine bot clear context of the content on the web page.
Measuring the impact and ROI of schema on your content strategy
Following the implementation of schemas on your website, it’s paramount that you measure its impact. This will help you to understand the effect of the schema on your website’s visibility on the whole as well as strategize to implement the right schemas for a web page based on its performance. Due to constant website changes, google algorithm updates, and Schema.org vocabulary updates, ideally you should keep a close eye on your schema performance every 7-15 days to assess if there has been a spike or dip in your website performance and act immediately and accordingly.
Here are the data points that you need to check frequently to measure the impact of your schemas:
- Clicks and Impressions growth of schema URLs vs all URLs
- Clicks and Impressions growth of Rich Results of schema URLs vs all URLs
- Clicks and Impressions growth of each Rich Result type of schema URLs vs all URLs
In addition, you’d need to check your errors, warnings, and any technical errors to gauge the quality of the schema implementation on each web page.
Schema Implementation Success Story
Take this as proof of the efficacy of schema in driving the visibility of a brand. For a Travel Management that wished to drive post-pandemic visibility, we deployed schemas such as Trip, Service/Product, ItemList, ImageGallery, VideoObject, WebPage, and TravelAgency across their web pages. In just 9 months following deployement, the schemas provided enriched data on search results for Featured Snippets, Product Rich Results, and People Also Ask results. The business witnessed a sharp increase in impressions, clicks, and average position against the same period the previous year.
- 209% increase in impressions from mobile devices on Google Search
- 144% increase in clicks to website from Mobile devices
- 29% improvement in the average position of the website on Google Search
- 69K impressions from Product Rich Results
In addition to our Schema Manager driving visibility for brands, for its schema solution, Milestone Schema Manager has been shortlisted for ‘Most Innovative Product’ at the prestigious US Search Awards 2021.
To make sure that businesses are well aware of the return on their investment in schemas and their impact, Schema Manager has robust impact reporting which calls out clear actions that need to be addressed. Using our Schema Audit Report, businesses can view the errors and warnings for each web page, and our Search Performance Report gives businesses an in-depth view of the performance of their pages on Google search and the pages linked to rich google search results. Businesses can also assess the schema combinations or categories that are working best on their web pages and to know the dollar value of schema implementation, the Potential Cost Savings Report calculates the value of schemas against a similar click gain that would have been achieved using a paid campaign.
To get a deeper understanding of the need for entity optimization, to improve your business’s visibility on search and align with the latest search trends, join Milestone’s Founder and President, Benu Aggarwal, along with industry veterans Bill Hunt of Back Azimuth and Dixon Jones of DHJ Ventures at the SMX webinar ‘Why Entity Search Is Your Competitive Advantage’ on November 9th and 10th.
Ask our experts
What is an entity in SEO?
Google defines an entity as, “a thing or concept that is singular, unique, well-defined and distinguishable.” For example, an entity may be a person, place, item, idea, abstract concept, concrete element, other suitable thing, or any combination thereof. Generally, entities include things or concepts represented linguistically by nouns. For example, the color “Blue,” the city “San Francisco,” and the imaginary animal “Unicorn” may each be entities.”
An entity is therefore a unique concept that can be understood through a variety of descriptors. In other words, the word ‘purple’ is an entity that can also be understood through the word, ‘violet.’ The term “President of the United States” would also be connected with the term “Joe Biden.”
How do I get started with entity SEO?
To get started with entity SEO, you need to determine what entities apply to your brand. In other words, look through your website to see which concrete, definable concepts your brand wants to rank well for. These concepts should all be definable nouns that apply to your brand, and not just any keyword that applies to your organization. Once you can identify your key entities, you want to perform research to see how you can use language that helps to identify the the:
- Context for the terms. Are you talking about violet the color or violet the flower?
- Related terms and descriptors that are associated with the entities
- How you can articulate the entities
The better you can communicate the purpose of your entity and your authority on the subject, the easier it will be for Google to understand precisely what type of entity you should rank for and the types of queries you will relate to.
What are semantic keywords?
Semantic keywords provide greater insight into the meaning and context behind a keyword. For example, if you search for “George Washington” and include the term, “peanuts” or “scientist” then you now have greater insight regarding the context of the query and thus know that the searcher is interested in learning more about George Washington Carver, the scientist, rather than the first president of the United States.
Including semantically-related keywords in your content helps to make it clear the context of the entities you discuss and makes it easier for search engines to know when to include you in the search results. Providing greater depth through semantically related keywords also helps to demonstrate your authority on the subject and offer evidence that you are not providing just a cursory overview but that you are discussing the topic in depth.
How do I find LSI keywords?
To find LSI keywords, you want to focus on the keywords that are expected to appear when discussing your target keyword. For example, if you want to create content on the White House, chances are at some point you will mention Pennsylvania Avenue and the term, ‘president.’
Google also expects to see these types of terms in the content. They make it easy for the search engine to know the context of the content so they know when your material is relevant to the query.
To find LSI keywords, you want to:
- Look at the related searches that come up on Google
- Consider the entity you are describing and the terms that apply– note this does not mean synonyms. It means contextual terms that better explain your topic
- Look at the Google Keyword Tool and LSI Graph to generate lists of related keywords for your content.