Ah, Google - the search engine you know your business can’t live without, but you can never quite get right. Sound familiar?
For small businesses, showing up in online searches is key. Even if you’ve got a love-hate relationship with search engines, the stats speak for themselves:
- 87% of shoppers now begin searches online
- 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile call or visit the business within 24 hours
- 56% of in-store shoppers use their smartphone to shop or research items
- 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of search results
One of the best ways to help your business show up on the first page of search results is by applying schema markup to your web pages. And if you’re now thinking ‘schema what?’ just keep reading, I promise it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
What is schema markup?
Schema markup is a ‘form of microdata that can be applied to a web page to create an enhanced description of the page’. In simple terms, it’s basically giving search engines more information to better understand your content and what your page is all about.
It’s kind of like building a knowledge graph for search engines - in fact, this is how search engines (regardless of whether they’re Google, Bing or any other) will see your website.
Why do small businesses need schema markup?
Now that we have some understanding of what it is, why on earth do we need it? Well, you see, any page that has schema markup applied is eligible for rich snippets (often also called rich results) that can appear in search results.
And rich snippets we want. As Neil Patel puts it so nicely:
“Having a rich snippet gives you an immediate boost to your SEO. Studies show that having a rich snippet can increase click-through rates (CTR) by 677% and drive 20-40% more traffic than product links without them.”
The reason they increase clicks so much is because of the extra information they add to the search result, which makes your SERP (that's search engine results page) listing stand out.
So we’re talking greater visibility for your business and A LOT more clicks to your website.
And what on earth are rich snippets?
Great question, rich snippets are essentially enhanced search results that provide additional information to people in the search listing.
Think definitions that show up on Google, recipe suggestions when you search for ingredients, product reviews popping up as part of a result or good-old knowledge panel results like the one below.
When your search result gets listed as a rich snippet, it tends to get catapulted to the top of the SERP, which brings us back to the increased visibility and more clicks.
What types of schema are there?
There are several different markup types, for example, you can have schema for review snippets or schema to show the price range of products. The full list of schema can be found here.
Generally, as a small business you’ll likely want to use a combination of the below-listed schema:
Which schema you go for depends entirely on your business, your product or service offering and on the type of content you’ve got on your website. We’d be happy to advise you on this if you are unsure.
Let’s take a look at an example (and perhaps our favourite type of schema): the HowTo schema.
HowTo schema is great if you’ve got educational content on your website, like ‘how to screenshot on mac’ or ‘how to delete a page on Word’ (hey don’t judge us, those are just the most searched for ‘how to’ queries on Google.)
A ‘how-to’ piece of content basically walks users through a set of steps to successfully complete a task and can feature video, images, and text.
By adding the HowTo schema to your content, you stand a chance of making the featured snippet spot for the specific search term. Google will then present your content in a step-by-step form, allowing the user to expand each step as shown in the example below.
How can I generate and add schema?
We’re now getting a little more into the technicalities of it all. There are several tools to generate schema, but our tool of choice is the Schema Markup Generator from technicalseo.com.
Similarly, schema can be applied in a number of ways. At Trellis we use the below methods:
- Via plugins, such as Yoast
- Via Tag manager
- Directly to the HTML of the content in WordPress
- To the head of the content in Hubspot
It takes how long to show up on Google?
An interesting (and perhaps less motivating) statistic is that it takes, on average, 4.76 months to start seeing positive ROI from SEO. And that’s if you’ve got someone working on a dedicated SEO campaign full-time. Plus we all know that SEO work doesn’t stop once the building blocks are in place - it’s a never-ending job of staying up to date with Google’s latest optimisations.
But hey, nothing good comes easy, right?
That’s why you’ve got us though. Without blowing our own trumpet too much, we do pride ourselves on being experts in SEO for small businesses (actually, all things digital, but let’s not overcomplicate things right now.)
Free SEO website review
As a small business ourselves, we understand the challenges and needs of small business owners inside out. Helping SMEs grow is our passion, and we offer a no-strings, free website review to help you pinpoint what’s harming your SEO efforts (and what you can do to improve.)
Our free SEO website review includes:
- A site security review
- A site speed test
- An on-page SEO review (page titles, metadata, content)
- A backlink profile audit