Structured data, taking a look at Google’s latest news
It was one of the most important trends of the lockdown period, as evidenced by our study on the impact of Covid-19: activities at home have become an obligatory choice in the face of the closure of public places and gyms, for example, and even today, Given the continuing global critical situation, it is a preferred option for many. It is therefore not surprising that Google has decided to support a new type of structured data to be shown in SERP as multimedia results, which are used to mark activities from home or home activities.
Here comes the home activities markup in Google
Google has announced that multimedia results related to domestic activities are currently available at this stage only for searches from mobile devices in the United States, and appear for now for fitness related queries such as “online exercise” or “yoga at home”.
As explained in an article by Search Engine Land, structured data for domestic activities can be used primarily for activities that you can perform at home, such as watching video tutorials and following online events, and appear in SERP as special multimedia results. Their function is to provide users with more details about the video or online course offered by the site, including a description of the activity and how to register, watch or participate.
How to use the home activity markups
It is possible to add the markup to videos and events, as mentioned, and in particular to report:
- A programmed live video streaming.
- An already recorded video.
- An online event.
Perché usare i dati strutturati
The addition of these new markups obviously affects sites that produce videos or organize events in the field of home activities, and as always the advice is to use structured data to benefit from the advantages brought by this meta-information.
That is to say, seize the opportunity to get more visibility among the Search results, with a rich results that can immediately attract the attention and gaze of a user.
SEO benefits of structured data
But there is also much more to it than that: depending on the segment of activity, the level of competition and the reasons that can push users to click on a result, structured data can offer a strong boost to the organic performance of a site, proving to be one of the most powerful weapons of the SEO.
It is convinced of that Mark Traphagen, who on the Search Engine Journal tells some successful case studies resulting from a correct implementation of schema.org markings: while recalling that several times Google has reiterated that the use of structured data is not a ranking factor, the expert considers it likely that an increase in traffic and CTR resulting from the most obvious position of multimedia results in SERP will nevertheless occur.
The experiment with About Schema
The first case concerns Inlinks, which conducted a controlled experiment involving about twenty SEO professionals, who added specific metadata to the pages of their sites, keeping track of the results.
The markup requested was Webpage – which indicates to a search engine bot the topics mainly covered by a Web page and what other topics are mentioned on the page – and specifically the properties about and mentions, which are used to define the characteristics of the content.
At the end of the period, after 4 weeks, it emerged that the double of the sites gained positions compared to those who lost them, without other changes to the pages: a signal, according to Inlinks, that the implementation of the code can help Google to better understand the content of pages and thus give them greater relevance in ranking. As a secondary element, analysts have also noted that adding markups has brought greater benefits to pages with rich content.
Google’s example on Rakuten
Another example comes directly from Google, which shared the effects of the use of structured data on the Rakuten’s chef recipes service, a well-known streaming video on demand platform, which started using metadata in 2012, focusing on the recipe scheme from 2014.
Three years later, the site started a direct collaboration with Google Search to maximize the usefulness of its structured data, and thanks to this work the traffic to the recipes pages increased by 2.7 times while the average session duration increased by 1.5 times.
The reason for this success lies in the “scheme ability to help users to match more recipes“.
The case study on ItemList Schema
Traphagen then goes on to tell the effects of the use of the ItemList property, reporting the data published by SEO Alan Bleiweiss on social media: in just two weeks, the page on which he had implemented this markup has achieved a significant growth in traffic and a strong increase in the CTR, thanks to the activation of featured snippets linked to the content.
Schema.org defines ItemList as a tool to list items of any kind, such as the “Top 100 Party Songs”, which is not to be confused with HTML lists, often used only for formatting.
The value of the FAQ markup
Even more evident is the weight of the FAQ markup, which has saved the fate of two vertical sites.
The first concerns a plastics manufacturer, which following the June 2019 Core Update lost 50 percent of traffic on a major keyword on a month-to-month basis. The decline seemed to be related to the addition of many new SERP features to the results for that term, including Maps, Shopping results, People Also Ask box (people ask on the subject) and more, who pushed the ranking of the customer page further down in SERP, reducing the CTR.
In November the FAQ scheme was added and, as early as February, the pages increased by 35 percent on a monthly basis and 50 percent on an annual basis. The SERPs have not changed, but the customer’s website has improved its real estate and positioned itself above the PAA box, recovering part of the traffic it had lost.
The second example concerns a B2B provider of healthcare services, which was collapsing because of the term “healthcare analytics ” as Google had added People Also Ask boxes and other search features. After adding the FAQ scheme to the site, it moved to position 1 above the PAA box with the drop-down menus of the FAQ, and the organic traffic to the page doubled after implementation.
Other cases of boost thanks to structured data
Lastly, Traphagen reports four other case studies that testify to the drive that the correct use of schema.org markings and structured data can give to a site, telling the examples of 4 vertical ones.
- A national retail site added the Product markup with AggregateOffer and StartingFrom Price, getting excellent feedback from the Google Search Console. In particular, the Product Rich Results had an average CTR better than 2 percent compared to all results of the product pages and an average position of 8.5, better than the site average and all results of the product pages.
- An ecommerce site used AggregateOffer and Price, getting about 13.000 new impressions per day according to the Snippet reviews.
- A healthcare site has implemented the FAQpage markup on the content of the service line, meaning only 7 pages, which now bring hundreds of impressions per day.
- A non-profit site, finally, used FAQpage to pages that answer questions related to health topics, linking it to the main organization using the author property and helping to improve the EAT of the content. As a result, the site got an increased number of clicks and impressions, and the rich result contributed to over 3,600 clicks and 129,000 impressions in the last 6 months.