Using Schema.org to Enhance Your Search Engine Listings

We’ve talked about structured data before but in this blog I’d like to discuss a website that’s extremely helpful for structured data markup. Most websites are created from structured data stored in databases. Once that data is put into HTML, that structured data can be lost or very hard to recover. This structured data can be of great use to search engines, as it helps them read and display a website more dynamically. Schema.org offers different “schemas” that webmaster can utilize to markup the data on HTML pages to improve the appearance of the website within search results. Schema.org has become recognized as the industry standard by the major search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing. Search engines like structured data markup as it helps improve users more easily find what they are looking for, thus improving the overall user experience for that search engines. For these same reasons, structured data markup can have a positive effect on SEO for your website. Essentially, Schema.org provides a shared vocabulary that webmasters can use when marking up data for websites. In other words, Schema.org has taken the guesswork out of structured data, offering a uniform and easy way to apply these data markups to any website. For an example, let’s take a look at using structured data markup for an event: Whoa, whoa– hold the phone. What are we looking at here? Well, basically the different properties in the “Property” column on the left can be inserted into the HTML code with the proper “Expected Type” to display that information on search engine result pages. For instance, the HTML for a page without markup looks something like this: Using the Event markup properties above, the coding would look something like this: So basically, nearly every key aspect of an event, such as date, time and place can be marked up using schemas to display that information on search engines. The end result of using structured data markup for an event would display something like this on a Google search page: As you can see, the date, time and place are all displayed within the Google search engine result page. Users can now readily view all relevant information of the event without having to dig around on your website. Schema.org offers a plethora of different types of markups for products,  places, people, organizations and reviews. Pretty much if you can think of it, there’s probably a markup for that. Implementing these schemas does take some HTML knowledge so I recommend speaking with your developer or webmaster if you are keen on utilizing structured data for your site. Brian Carver is an Account Manager at SEOhaus. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest SEO industry news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog here.

More Ways to Find Search Data with Bing Webmaster Tools

Ever look at search engine referrals, and notice that your traffic numbers are increasing on Bing? I know it sounds crazy, but people actually do use Bing. I’m sure you’ve had that moment where you tried to find a person, a restaurant, a band, a Facebook page, or a business and could not find what you were looking for. Some people might try other search engines to find what they need. This is one factor in why Bing is kind of becoming a 2nd rate leader in search. You still don’t really ever hear anyone say, “Why don’t you Bing it?” So it’s still safe to say that Google is the search engine leader. But, if you have the time to analyze some other means of web analytics, I say why not. Looking into Bing Webmaster Tools, I have found that the set up is pretty similar to Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). In fact, every time I log in, the navigation and tools are looking closer and closer to GWT. I know you’re DYING to know – what does Bing offer that Google does not? Here is a brief look at a few things I have found:
  • Keyword Research. You can actually find organic search numbers for keywords/phrases. The data comes straight from organic search, unlike Google that comes from Ads search. You can also view the keyword trend: increasing or decreasing.
  • 301 Codes. This shows how many 301 redirects (moving one link to another link). While there is no limit to how many links are redirected, this is a great tool to see a list of old pages, and if they are redirecting to correct page.
  • Link Explorer. Here you can actually type in your URL and see what pages link to that URL. Google provides a list of back-links, but with link explorer you can type in the page URL and refine the filters.
So, is it really “better?” There’s never a right or a wrong. However, in most cases, Bing traffic has not reached a significant amount of your search traffic. So the pool of data you can receive from Bing’s Toolbox is not the extent of your traffic. This analysis is to give you confirmation of what you already know from Google as well as to give you more search data that Google may not show you. All in all, it’s important to look at other variables, other aspects of search, and to think outside of the Google box we tend to live in. — Uyen Ochsner is an Account Manager at SEOhaus. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest SEO industry news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog here. Thanks for reading the SEOhaus blog!

Bing Rankings Need Love Too

Google has ruled our ranking efforts for quite some time now, and for good reason. With almost 70% of the search market share, it has had us jumping at its every request for quality, quality, quality. While I don’t think anyone is disputing the fact Google does bring in the most traffic (and quality is a bit of a good thing), it seems Bing may not be one to be ignored either. While 30% can seem like a small piece of the pie, if someone told you could increase your online business and conversions by 30% you would probably pay attention. And it seems as if people are. I have had more clients ask me about their Bing rankings in the last month than all of my time in internet marketing. While their heavy hitting advertising could be paying off, ( “scroogled” has become my go to expletive) it seems that Bing is taking a bigger stand with their rankings as well.  A common theme I have noticed is dramactic fluctuations with Bing, with sites either just completely jumping up to the first few pages of Bing or just completely dropping off altogether. Not so long ago, the rankings between Google and Bing didn’t seem didn’t seem to be so far off from one another. If you were ranking on Page 1 for Google, typically you were on Page 1 for Bing as well. But now just because you have a Page 1 or 2 on Google does not automatically equal a similar result with Bing (you could even be looking at a non-ranking). Bing is without a doubt trying to define itself as a competitor and making waves were they can. For those tracking rankings on both, the dramatic increases (or decreases) seem to be saying “pay attention, we are here too!”  For those of us still trying to figure out the mystery that is Google, adding another piece to the puzzle seems like a deterrent more than anything.  A good site is a good site right? So how can two search engines now have two seemingly different ways defining what equals the best? While there is some discrepancy on what Bing likes versus what Google likes (user engagement, social media, and.…keyword stuffing have all been through into the pot) it’s hard to define something that makes them stand apart or wont completely ruin your rankings with Google. So what’s a site that wants decent rankings with both search engines to do? While it’s still an unfairly quite topic, there does seem to be one consensus: Bing wants you to be good; Google wants you to be perfect. Bing’s focus seems to be good relevant content on the site and playing well with others (aka social media). While these are both strong factors for Google as well, they still place heavy emphasis on back links, site structure and all and all being the best site you can be. If you see a sudden decrease with Bing, I would first check your robot.txt file. There’s a good chance you are indirectly blocking the Bingbot. Next step to get your site set up on Bing Webmaster Tools (which you should do regardless) and take a good look at how it is viewing your site. Bing is known for being pretty transparent so chances are you’ll get some good clues into how to get into good rankings with them.  And lastly, for the love of all things SEO, do not keyword stuff.  Regardless of what anyone says, this is not good practice for any site. Not only will it most likely ruin any rankings with Google, you’re attempt at picking up any bonus traffic through Bing will pay off. Elisa Houghtelin is one of the Account Managers at SEOhaus. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest SEO industry news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog here. Thanks for reading the SEOhaus blog!