SEO Best Practices in 2018 – Part 3 of 5 – The Value of Structured Data – One of the very best ways to gain an advantage over your competitors in Google Search.
SEO Best Practices in 2018 – Part 3
- In Part 1, we looked at how website performance plays an even bigger part in SEO in 2018.
- In Part 2, we listed many simple On Page SEO Tips.
- In Part 3 we take a look at how Structured Data can alter your Google Foot Print.
SEO Best Practices in 2018 – Part 3 – Structured Data – Rich Snippets
Once upon a time, Google searches gave users 2 choices. Organic Returns and Paid Ads.
Search Engine Return Pages (SERP) have changed a bit from the old days.
A Structured Data SERP feature is any result on a search results page that isn’t a traditional organic result. The primary goal for SERP features is to give the searcher the most relevant information in a quick, easy to digest form. It stands out, too, so your information will be more visible to searchers.
In 2018 the organic listings have many more options such as;
- Knowledge panels
- Featured snippets
- Quick answer box snippet
- Rich snippets
- Image results
Let’s take a look at 2 of these that can help any type of small business.
First… Let’s define “snippet”. A snippet is the the information that appears under a highlighted blue link and URL in the search results.
A Rich Snippet adds additional links under the snippet text.
See how Google pulled the structured data? They pulled the date to the bottom so it stands out and added a second URL at the bottom to the event registration page. That’s a search return with links to two separate pages.
Plus is stands out from all the other listings.
This doesn’t happen automatically. In your coding, you must mark up the schema with structured data.
Rich snippets can be used for a wide variety of reasons such as;
- Just about anything….
SEO Best Practices in 2018 – Part 3 – Structured Data – Featured Snippets
When Google wants to answer a question that isn’t in the core Knowledge Graph, they may attempt to find that answer in the index. This creates a special class of organic result with information extracted from the target page’s structured data.
Featured Snippets have a much higher CTRs (Click-Thru-Rates) than regular organic results.
Featured snippets aim at answering the user’s question right away (hence their other well-known name, “answer boxes”). Being featured means getting additional brand exposure in search results.
And it’s easy to see why. They are always the very first organic listing on the page, they include a feature image, and the font is larger.
In a word, Impressive.
How’s that for a search return?
When you see them, you can understand why featured snippets are considered “Position 0”.
SEO Best Practices in 2018 – Part 3 – Structured Data
A word about the DIY website builders. None of this is possible as none of those sites let you edit underlying code. All you need to know about DIY is “No successful small business has been built on the back of a DIY site.”
Additionally, unless you are marking up the schema in the underlying website code, no Rich Snippet is possible.
The popularity of rich snippets and featured snippets has increased the competition among companies trying to appear in “position 0” in the SERP. Gaining a featured snippet in search requires catering to a specific combination of factors, which has opened up SEO beyond the traditional “race to the top” of Google we are familiar with.
According to to a Fall 2017 survey, almost 30% of the test Google search queries show Featured Snippets. This brings out the need for a dedicated strategy on how to optimize a site’s content to meet Google’s standards for Featured Snippets.
Additionally, 70% of snippets came from sites outside of the first organic position. So it’s required that the page is ranked in top 10, but it’s not required to be #1 to be featured.
Unlike Rich Snippets,there is no magic button, magicians wand or special markup which will make absolutely sure your site gets a Featured Snippet.
With Google, no organic listing is guaranteed. Of course, it’s a good idea to start with non-specific SEO best practices, simply because being featured is only possible when you rank high for the query.
And that’s where Content Marketing comes into play.
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