Take Advantage Of Structured Data To Improve Your SEO By Using Schema Markup On Your Website
In part one of this incredibly informative interview with Terry Samuels, Bob and Jesse examine the advantages of using schema markup in optimizing your website for SEO! This interview explores what schema is, how website schema works in Google’s analytics, and how utilizing schema can help you build authority in you or your client’s website! In addition to this, we are also still looking for listener feedback regarding the courses that we will be offering in the future. Listen today and leave us feedback so we can provide our listeners with the most relevant experience possible!
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What you’ll learn
- What schema is.
- How utilizing schema can help you to build and maintain a clean website that will rank highly on search engines.
- How schema can help you to avoid website clutter and keyword stuffing.
- The importance of maintaining a tight, clean schema.
Here is the Transcript for Episode 76 – What is Website Schema Markup for SEO and How Does Structured Data Help You – Terry Samuels Interview Part 1;
Caleb Baumgartner: Hi, folks. This is Caleb Baumgartner, producer of Local SEO Tactics. Thank you for downloading episode one of our two part interview with expert, Terry Samuels. This interview was so packed with great information for our listeners that we didn’t want to cut anything out. So, we chose to split this one up. Today, you’ll learn about schema and how it affects your website rankings, and how it can help you maintain a well ranking clutter-free site. A quick aside before we jump into the episode, we hear Local SEO Tactics are looking for feedback from our listeners about our upcoming SEO courses that we’re designing. Jesse and Bob mentioned this project in the last episode, so if you’re looking for details check that out. We’re designing these courses with you in mind, so if you have any topics you’re looking for help on we’d love to hear about it.
Now, on with the show.
Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan. Here, this episode not just with only Bob Brennan, but we’ve got Terry Samuels of Salterra Web and SEO here. We’re going to skip the usual promotion, self promotions and all that here. We’re going to dive right into this interview and question and answer with Terry. Before we do that though, I’ll set the stage for you Terry. If you guys and gals out there haven’t heard of Terry Samuels, he is definitely one of the foremost people kind of in the SEO space. Founder/Owner of Salterra Web Design and SEO down in Arizona. Scottsdale, right Terry, technically? Is that where you’re headquartered?
Terry Samuels: Yep, Scottsdale.
Jesse Dolan: Terry’s also the owner and coordinator I guess if you will of SEO Spring Training, which has been an awesome SEO event digital and virtual this last year because of COVID, but otherwise a pretty elite group of people there for that event. Terry’s been a speaker and a presenter at different SEO conferences, of course his own SEO Spring Training. Most recently, I caught Terry at SEO Rockstars, which is an awesome event, again digital this year. Of course, Terry has been a veteran serving in the Navy for the country. So, long and storied career and all kinds of things, eventually landing like all of us, in SEO through a windy path.
Within the SEO space, Terry is, at least in my mind, Terry you do a ton of stuff of course, but is the schema expert. Something we really haven’t talked a ton about on this show yet is a schema. We’ve referenced it, and we got a ton of questions about it. So we thought, “Who better to bring on than Terry.” We use Terry for schema. We’ve done some projects together. I’ve learned personally a ton of stuff from Terry through his teachings and his speaking. I’m super excited to have you on, Terry, to teach the people, to start digging into schema, and crack this one open. It’s definitely a bit more mysterious than your typical SEO stuff. So, I appreciate you coming on.
Terry Samuels: No problem, happy to be here.
Jesse Dolan: Let’s just kick off like we talked, and just kind of tease everybody too, we’re going to have Terry on multiple episodes. This one here today, we’re just going to kind of do an overview of what is schema and be very general. At the end, we’ll ask again. Feel free to send him questions. As we go through, hopefully some of the things Terry’s going to be talking about with spear your mind for how you can implement schema, what it can do for your site and your business. Submit questions. We’ll have Terry on again. We’ll answer those questions. We’ll dive deeper, maybe do some tutorials and some more in depth stuff like that. Go to LocalSEOTactics.com, bottom left corner, the link for the submitted question. Just use that. Reference Terry. Reference schema. We’ll know what you’re talking about and we’ll save those for future episodes with Terry.
So, setting that aside, Terry, let’s just kind of dig in. I don’t think we need to do any of the typical edification, who you are, why you’re knowledgeable. We’ll just throw it out there, you’re a schema guru. You’re a schema expert. You know a ton of it. If people don’t trust that, just Google Terry, look up some things and listen to this episode and you’ll get that. In your mind Terry, what is schema? If somebody stops you on the street, or a new client saying, “Okay, I’ve heard about this schema. What is it? Why does it even matter to me?” How would you reply to that?
Terry Samuels: Schema is basically a way to tell the search engines not just more about your site or your brand, or your organization, but basically everything about your site, brand or organization, your different services, everything. Schema gives you the opportunity, in anybody’s mind of web design, schema gives you an opportunity to basically build another website that Google Bot sees. I think the power of schema is twofold. One is, it should be, if not it should be, everything should be in the heads of your schema. There’s a couple of different types of schema that are popular: micro data and then JSON-LD.
JSONLD is the most popular, and in my mind the best to use. You can also install schema through Google Tag Manager. Schema basically was founded by Google, Microsoft, Yandex, and Yahoo. It’s a markup that major search engines can all see and they can crawl. One of the foundational reasons why I think schema is so powerful today is because of the way opensource, WordPress design, any of the opensource platforms. I’ve always had problems with crawl. By that, I mean going from the top of the head to the bottom of the footer.
Jesse Dolan: On a single page you’re talking there, right? Like when you say that?
Terry Samuels: Single page, exactly.
Jesse Dolan: Okay.
Terry Samuels: So Google Bot or Bing Bot, or whoever would hit the website and it would crawl, but it might only get maybe 50% of the page because it saw something in there that stopped the crawl. It could be a code. It could be something. What schema does, is schema puts all this information in the head before it even gets to the body. It’s got some powerful opportunity for you to introduce things to the Google Bots and the different search bots that you might or might not show on the public side. It’s really got some powerful things you can do with it. They’ve given us all the opportunity to do it.
The negative side of schema is that it’s not something you can just install on a plugin and say, “Okay, I’m good to go with my schema,” only because a lot of the power in schema is stuff that a plugin is not going to be able to do for you. We can get that into later on in some different sessions. That’s basically what schema is. It’s a markup that only the bots can see. The public cannot, unless they know how to do paid source, that type of stuff. It’s just a different way for us to get the understanding about what my webpage/my website is all about, is through schema.
Jesse Dolan: In your mind, is it like a critical thing you have to have on your website? You throw your page up, you get your content, you’ve done some keywords and your targeting your content. If you do or don’t have schema, do you see that as a cardinal sin or not for your site or your success?
Terry Samuels: It all depends. Again, I hate that “it all depends”. Schema is not the end all/be all. Schema is what I would say is the boost to what you should have already done already. I say that with a broad sense. If you’re a member of SIA, I actually built a website with nothing but schema. There is no public content anywhere, and I have this website ranking on the first for about six different terms. We do know that schema is important. We do know that at least Google and Bing give credit for schema, but actually doing that and not worrying about titles and descriptions, and header tags and everything else, I think that would be the cardinal sin.
I think even worse is assuming you have schema that’s helping you, if you just installed Yoast for instance. So, that would be the misconception is not that it’s… Obviously it didn’t hurt you that you have Yoast schema, but it’s just not helping you as much as you can help yourself by doing it, we call it the “advanced way”.
Jesse Dolan: Okay, let’s dive into that real quick. If somebody were to use a Yoast or some of the other plugins that say that have schema support or allow you to do schema, what are some of the things… Because maybe people choose that, like “Hey, Terry is saying it’s better than nothing. So I’ll start there.” If they did do that, what are some of the things they’d want to do: organization, local business? What are some of the standard things you might find with a plugin doing schema?
Terry Samuels: Yoast is going to charge you extra money if you want to do local business, if you want to do blue collar space. They’ve got advanced plugins for that. There’s other SEO tools like Rank Math, SEO Press Pro, they give you opportunities to do local schema, breadcrumb schema, that type of stuff. Anything that you can kind of tie your website with certain links, you can probably do through a plugin. What you can’t do through a plugin is the stuff that they just aren’t going to go out and find. Say for instance you’re doing schema for a doctor. Well, these tools are not going to go out and find everything about Dr. Brown.
They’re not going to go out and find that Dr. Brown has degrees from four different colleges. They’re not going to go out and find that Dr. Brown is associated with two different hospitals and three different clinics, and he does charity work for XYZ. These tools aren’t going to go out there and find it.
In order for the power of this stuff to work, you need to go out and find that stuff. A lot of people will put down, “Yeah, Dr. Brown got a master’s degree from AHU University.” That might be on his bio page or something, but we all know how powerful authority and trust, and all the different factors we need to do from a top level down. When you start putting in all the different variables for Dr. Brown and schema, he started out at Scottsdale Community College. He graduated in 1982. He went on to AHU. Just the track of his education, the stuff he’s associated with, some of the awards and stuff he might have won, now all this is in schema and now all of a sudden Dr. Brown’s authority has just gone up tenfold because now you have all this information in there about Dr. Brown.
You have the links to the university and the awards, and the different associations that he was involved in the schema. So you’re basically just introducing Google to a new Dr. Brown. They knew the Dr. Brown on the bio page, but now they get to see a whole new Dr. Brown. They get to see his personal LinkedIn page. They get to see the speech he did with the Channel 10 news station. All the different things that schema plugins are never going to be able to find, are the important stuff that makes schema so powerful.
Jesse Dolan: In your example there, the Dr. Brown, kind of what’s running through my mind is maybe you have a page on your site, like you said with the bio… Or, Dr. Brown has on his site for his bio, trying to envision all these things you’re talking about, all those references, that might look like a real clunky not very attractive page. Maybe all that doesn’t even matter to the users and to the readers, but you can jam all that into the coding of the schema not seen by human eyes, but yet you provide this gigantic index of all of this information about Dr. Brown. So, Google, Google Bot, and things like that can really parse that out and kind of fill their knowledge base, their database more about what he is and pull all this in together?
Terry Samuels: Exactly.
Jesse Dolan: Okay.
Terry Samuels: For sure. And you can do that on so many different levels with schema. Think if Dr. Brown has two different offices. Well now, you can start doing location schema for each one, that might not look real great for the public eye, but it’s definitely going to give geo authority/geo relevance to Dr. Brown’s office in Scottsdale. All the different pieces that Schema.org, which is kind of the schema Bible site, gives us to let the bots, let the different codes or different bots that are crawling the website to see just more stuff about the page that they’re on. I get a lot of people that tell me, “Well, I only want 300 or 400 words on my page.” Well, I’ll put 1,000 words in schema, so I’ll get the benefit. I’m not going to tell people, “Okay, well we can only live with 300 or 400 words,” because we know from a ranking perspective that that’s light content. And that light content is not paid attention to very often. We can change that by adding more words to the schema.
Bob Brennan: Does schema become more important on let’s say the more competitive, by either a keyword or search term, or in the industry it might be? Do you feel schema just plays a bigger role?
Terry Samuels: I think it plays a bigger role in a lot of high competition areas, but the one thing also is that the people that are doing the schema that we do for instance, there’s not many people doing it. I just got done with a big schema project for a lawyer in LA, and I was amazed at how non-schema that was in that industry. The 10 websites that I use with my audit system didn’t have much of anything. Some of them had a little bit better than the others, but nobody really had… You could tell nobody put a lot of time, effort and energy into it. It didn’t really make sense.
There’s two things that I love about schema on the technical side is, one is that I can stack schema. Stacking schema means that you would have a medical clinical schema for Dr. Brown, but then you’d also have a physician schema for Dr. Brown. I get to have two different schemas at two different levels. The medical business might be site-wide because that’s what the business is, but then Dr. Brown might be a physician, if he’s got Dr. Steve also, if he’s Dr. Mary, so now you can break this schema down to where you’re stacking it so your Dr. Brown page is going to have a medical clinic schema, it’s going to a physician schema, it’s going to have a number of different things that we can do that it makes sense.
You can also do it from a silo perspective. Let’s say for instance Dr. Brown specializes in back surgery, so our back pain. So under back surgery there might be three or four different types of back surgery that Dr. Brown does. Well, I can silo that within the schema also. So, Google’s also getting a way to crawl pages from schema that otherwise there might not be a link to down in the body of the text. That kind of gives you an idea of the different things you can do on a broader sense of schemas. Again, the plugins just aren’t going to do. They’re not going to go out and say, “Hey, we can link the fusion page to the hot fusion, through all the different types of back services or back surgeries to this one page.” A plugin will never be able to do that.
The biggest thing is, yeah think of all the different things that we can do with schema, and then we’re going to kind of walk you through it through the next session. It actually gets pretty crazy, all the things you can do. I don’t stuff with them keywords. That’s my big pet peeve. I don’t do stupid schema, and I’ve seen stupid schema. I’ve seen people say to me, “Hey Terry, come check out this schema that I just built,” and it’s basically saying the same thing five or six times through the schema. Well, I guess it’d be a stupid schema. So, if you’re a plumber that specializes in hot water heaters, you don’t want to have a plumber/hot water heater schema, and then have a separate hot water heater as your schema. It just gets to be monotonous.
Doing it right, it should take you time. One of the reasons that I know a lot of people don’t do it this way is because it takes a lot of time. It can literally take you days just to do a real good schema for a website.
Bob Brennan: And you’re trying to be clean with this, right, because this is a bot-centric thing.
Terry Samuels: Yep.
Bob Brennan: I’ve heard other people say that Google has only got so much time and resources to crawl so many sites, and if yours is a mess they’re going to move on. If your schema is tight and clean, I would assume that’s going to help with your footing and ranking everything.
Terry Samuels: Oh, yeah, without a doubt. Again, you can use different variables. One of the things that we do a lot with schema is misspell keywords. Misspelled keywords is something that we all deal with, but you can really deal with it on the public side. You can’t have a paragraph about marijuana and spell it wrong three times in the paragraph. The public’s not going to know why you’re doing it. Well guess what, we can do that in schema. We can misspell the word marijuana in three different places throughout a 600 word description. So, there’re different ways you can kind of just make sure… Like I said, my big thing is that I want Google to know everything they can know about my page before they even hit my page. So, if that makes sense.
Jesse Dolan: You mentioned that earlier, and I think if people missed it, huge pro tip, when you got your schema, inject that into the head of your page which is what you were saying right there. The farther you even get into the actual parsing of the content on the page, your actual text and pictures, they’re reading everything in that schema first as far as an order of operations, right?
Terry Samuels: Exactly.
Jesse Dolan: If it’s in the head. So yeah.
Terry Samuels: If it’s in the head, and it’s about what’s on the page. You can’t put video schema on a page that doesn’t have a video. You have to do things right. Like Bob said, you have to keep it clean because same thing, you can’t put reviews in your schema if no reviews are on your page. Google’s smart enough to know what schema is there for. They appreciate all the different variables we give them, and it’s through different research and through different tools. Some of the stuff we do just freak people out. Part of my schema now is even included in my keyword research audit. So, it gives a lot of stuff about “abouts and mentions”, which Google has gotten very good at.
If you go out and you Google Bob’s Laundry Service and you start looking at the first five, six, seven pages about Bob’s Laundry Service, you’re going to find out some pretty interesting things that Google starts putting in there for Bob’s Laundry Service. It might be Larry’s Laundry Service. Well, that’s your number one competitor. Those are the same abouts. You’re both laundry people. You’re both going to feed off of each other. As you go out and you do these what’s called “abouts and mentions” that has more to do with the authority level of what you’re doing, whether it be grander service or whatever. But you go out and you just search the Internet, what does Google thing about Terry Samuels? Now all of a sudden you start seeing things and you include those powerful things in your schema.
If there’s an article from an award I won in 2017 that’s on page three, guess what, I’m going to put it in my schema because I want Google to go back and notice that again because it brought us some business, it’s definitely relevant, it definitely helps my authority. So, all the different things you can do to that through schema. Yeah, what we’re going to show you guys is going to be pretty crazy as we go through this thing.
Jesse Dolan: I think what you mention in there too for people, you think about SEO, you think about optimizing the page, the content, the keywords. It’s kind of all on page-type stuff where this is not only behind the scenes. Human beings won’t read it, but it’s also like you just said, it’s really for building that entity level, that trust, that authority. Can you, and I think the answer is yes, correct me if I’m wrong, but can you optimize that with keywords and inject phrases?
Terry Samuels: Yeah, for sure.
Jesse Dolan: Okay.
Terry Samuels: There is a keyword area in schema, the old keyword area that we used to do back before Google ignored it. We use that, but we do it with what Google tells us we should be keywords for that page. They might not be keywords we would go after in the content. Once you start doing abouts and mentions on the keyword level, you find out real quick, maybe Dr. Brown is also known as a chiropractor. Maybe he was a chiropractor years ago, or something. That type of stuff gets filtered back in too. Again, that’d be wouldn’t probably put on the public side. It’s not that you’re trying to hide anything from the public, but we all know that keeping people on page is something that we want to do in America. We’re not going to do it with 2,500 words. We don’t read. We would be better off having three videos.
Bob Brennan: Right.
Jesse Dolan: Right.
Terry Samuels: But we also know how important that is to gain authority and to gain trust, and to gain rankings, and to be able to get ranks without purchasing them. There’re all kinds of things you can do throughout this process. It helps… Like I said, I use this in small towns. I use this in big towns. I think if you have both you’re pretty much undeniable. If you have a really solid on page, and a really solid schema, and continue to use schema… So, if you do a new blog about something that you are passionate about, the article schema will probably take you longer to do than the blog itself. That’s how much information’s in there.
Jesse Dolan: True.
Terry Samuels: Again, it just gives Google another way to show you how powerful this blog is, and if you’re set up to a syndication network now that just all feeds out to everything. Schema can just be tied. The challenge with schema is once you find something new that works, it’s like we talked about, it’s going back and implementing it on the right pages. We retest schema all the time. We’re always constantly adding and finding different ways to different things that’ll bring more power to the map, or bring more power to the review section. Maybe we’re trying to boost a review, and we’re doing that through schema. There’re all kinds of different things we can do through that.
Jesse Dolan: On that, for testing too, I want to back up. I wrote a note because you mentioned it quick. We had Kyle Roof on for an interview a number of episodes back. I think Bob asked him a question like, “If you’re trying to vet out an SEO agency, what’s one thing you’d ask them?” He’s like, “Are you testing things?” You’ve got to be testing things.
Terry Samuels: Yep.
Jesse Dolan: You mentioned SIA. Would you mind pausing there and just telling everybody what that is quick? I think that’s pretty important if you’re interested in testing, right?
Terry Samuels: Oh yeah, the SIA is probably in my mind the largest SEO testing environment out there. It’s a group. It’s very reasonable if you have a little bit of capital to spend on something for training, because this is it. Not only do they test, but they teach you what they did. The tests are ongoing, so like I said, it’s something that I’ve got to do a 90 day markup on this schema website that I did. The tests kind of never go away, especially if it’s something that could change. An SIA is Search Intelligence-
Jesse Dolan: Association, I think, if I remember correctly.
Terry Samuels: Yeah, Search Intelligence Association. They also do SEO Rockstars. They’re a top notch group. Ted, Clint, myself, Kyle had some stuff in there. Yeah, there’s some good stuff in there, I like it. A week after there’s been an algo update, I’ll go into SIA because three or four people in there have already tested what happened in this algorithm update.
Jesse Dolan: Right.
Terry Samuels: It just saves me time. Could I do it? Well, sure, but why would I if three or four other people are doing it already. So yeah, it’s always good to train. It’s always good to test. I get so frustrated with people where they send me websites that either got messed up or dropped, or whatever. I can tell it was something that somebody learned in some SEO group and they didn’t test it first. They just went right to their client site and did it. It’s like, “Wow.”
Jesse Dolan: This must be gospel.
Terry Samuels: Yeah, right. There’s a lot of good stuff you can get from groups. I’m not saying that, but I’m just saying that test it in an environment that’s not going to hurt your clients and upset your clients.
Jesse Dolan: Like you said earlier, kind of as a dismissing comment, within the SEO industry it’s a joke where the answer is “It depends.” I think this rings true of what you’re saying. Just because you learned something and somebody showed that it worked in some kind of case study, for that particular client or market or whatever, it may not be effective. It might work in 99 other things, but the one thing, maybe not. So, to learn what you’re doing. The reason I brought up that testing, not just to get back to the SIA, which I think is important, but also you mentioned the schema. It’s kind of ongoing. I don’t know if you have any kind of way to quantify it, but I’ll just throw out there generally, it’s always evolving. They’re always adding new elements, new things you can tag if you will. So, test what works and what doesn’t even within that, because there’s just new stuff.
I don’t know if you can comment on it even, but hold is schema and Schema.org, and this overall collaboration? That’s what, three, five years? That’s not a 10 or 15 year old type.
Terry Samuels: It’s been around for a little while, but it’s really only gained traction probably… They’re on version 11 now, so it’s probably three years old I would guess. But it’s really only gained traction about a year and a half ago. I really believe it gained traction because of the crawl issues from opensource. I really think that… I’ve been developing software since 1990, so I’ve seen… Google used to be able to… We used to have what’s called a Fetch and Render tool. That fetch and render tool used to give us webmasters a way to see how much a page was crawled. It really became a problem about two years ago, that Google was just having problems getting to the bottom of the webpage.
That’s when I think schema kind of got a little bit more important. Yoast’s been playing with it for years, but it was so basic. It was like, “Yeah, here’s my brand name. Here’s my logo.” It was really nothing. I think as people started figuring out how it can be, and I say this in a broad sense, a good sense, how it can be exploited, it’s a markup that these… You figure you put Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex in a room and say, “Hey, let’s come up with a new code that we can all read,” it’s probably something we’re going to be able to do pretty cool things with. I don’t think everybody really kind of looked at it and said, “Well, that doesn’t really make sense.”
People definitely started using it wrong a long ago, just stuffing it. People who used to do schema used to stuff keywords in it: plumber, plumber east, plumber west, plumber north. I mean it was just ridiculous how much it was being done. Then they started penalizing people for schema, and again that was about two years ago. They started penalizing you for your schema and most people had no idea what that even meant. It just kind of started slowing dragging, slowly gaining things. I think nowadays we’re at the exciting point because we’ve got a huge group of people that are doing it, and doing it very successfully. You’ve got a huge group of people who want to do it, and they want to do it successfully, but they don’t know how.
Then you’ve got the other group of people that have Yoast and they think they’re doing it okay. So you have three different groups right now, and the people that are doing it well, and the people that want to do it well, those are the people that really have an opportunity. I tell people, “If you’re in the plumber industry in Dallas,” but if you’re in even a major city and you looked at the top 10 people, you’re going to be lucky to see maybe two that do the schema on the level that we do. Then it’s a matter of what components are they doing within that schema, because we figured out what the schema ID should be for the most power. We figured that out.
A lot of people would just put a webpage. Well, you need to do it to Google property, and we all know that the most powerful Google property we have is the map, is the GMB. We figured that out. When I see this huge schema and they’re just using the page itself as the ID, I know right there we’ve got an opportunity to do something completely different. It just gets into little minute things like that, as you get towards the end of what we’re getting ready to show everybody to say, “Okay yeah, this competitor has all this schema, but let’s see what he really has.” Because there’s a lot of things people miss. A lot of people miss the alumni, the organizations, all the stuff that is really powerful on the brand level.
I tell people, “You’re not a plumber in Dallas. You’re a plumber. Get the Dallas part out.” So, we need to find out everything there is to know about Joe the Plumber. If Joe the Plumber doesn’t have much stuff out there, then we know what we need to go out and build for Joe the Plumber. It’s kind of thinking differently than SEO or even web design where you can say, “Okay, here is this big block of wood. What else can I add to it that’ll give me a prettier block of wood on the code side?” Because it’s not prettier if they’re obviously… I showed one of my medical spas one of the schemas that she had on her site. She was like, “Oh, gosh.” It’s pretty much four times… Her schema’s probably four times the size of her entire website as far as words.
She was one of the ones that fought me on adding text to pages. Well, okay just keep fighting me. I’ll add the schema. So, I’ll get my point across in order to write that keyword.
Jesse Dolan: With that, the complexity, the length of it, if you will, things like that, you mentioned Schema.org earlier.
Terry Samuels: Yep.
Jesse Dolan: We’ll put a link to that in the show notes for everybody. That is basically, would you say, the repository of all the elements or all the things that you can apply or use schema with, correct?
Terry Samuels: Yeah, but it’s a hodgepodge. A lot of the elements will give you an example. They’ll give you a micro data example and a JSON example, and stuff like that. You can start with that example, but there’s so much more you can add to it. The example they give you is very broad. The biggest thing I see people get frustrated with is, it is basically writing code. You need to think in brackets, arrows and parenthesis. One of the things when I built my very first one, that was like my template. That template just kind of just grew into all the different schemas that I’ve done since then because I at least had the kind of code.
When you spend two hours trying to figure out that you’re missing a close bracket, it gets very fricking frustrating. That’s what I mean, it’s a hodgepodge. So okay, you can include these 15 things with this type of schema, and you expand to that through one of those 15 things, and you can do these 14 things to this one kind of schema, but then now all of a sudden you’re putting into Google’s Schema Checker, and you’re getting errors because you’ve got duplications. Even though it tells you you can have all the different components within, as you build the schema out that’s when you start getting errors and duplications. There’re warnings and there’re errors.
The warnings are something that Google is saying, “Hey, we’re not really paying attention to this. You need to fix this.” An error will cause all of that schema to not be indexed. When you’re doing the Schema Checker, which I’ll show you guys, there’re certain ways to do things and check things, and you can change within the checker, but yeah Schema.org is a great place to start especially if you’ve got something new. I just did a bid for a bakery. Well, I’ve never done anything food-related, or restaurant-related. So, I started at Schema.org. I just started typing in restaurant. What can I do under restaurant?
Baker, is there anything under baker? Chef? You basically have to start out and start building this cobweb of stuff that it allows you to do, and then kind of figure out where you’re going to start. That’s why I said schema is a whole different thing as far as… We turned it into an a la carte thing about six months ago because they can be so big. I did a schema bid for an attorney that has 47 lawyers. This schema would probably take us a month because there’s just the whole much. Do they feel it’s important enough to pay that much money? We’ll see.
The nice thing about schema is typically once you do a schema for a service page, you probably don’t ever have to go back to that service page again on the schema side, unless you find something new that works, you can go add to it or whatever.
Jesse Dolan: I like the way you referred to it as coding, like it’s its own language. Besides, I’ve played with them too. I’m near on your level, but comfortable enough to be able to do it. I think that’s a great parallel, whether it’s like writing HTML or PHP, or whatever anybody out there kind of knows for their coding. That’s all you’re doing. You’re not just typing on a Word Doc or a WordPress on page update. It’s a method of coding. It’s its own language if you will, right, to get it to work right?
Like you said, I think it’s going to get discontinued, but I guess people want to either A, check out their own schema if they’re messing around, or B, if you’re sitting wondering “Do I even have this on my website? Is my web dude doing schema?” Just Google Structured Data Testing Tool. You should find the Google page. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes direct. But, if you just Google Structured Data Testing Tool, you’ll get to the Google page where you can plug in your website or your code to test it out. And like Terry’s saying, it’s going to tell you if there’re errors, or warnings, and kind of how egregious the problems are. But I believe they’re still discontinuing that page.
Terry Samuels: Yeah, they’re going to keep this tool.
Jesse Dolan: Oh, they are now?
Terry Samuels: I think it was a week ago they said they got so much backlash, because they take away all of our good tools. Like I said, Fetch and Render was my favorite tool. I used to get so much business because I would show people their daily website wouldn’t crawl all the way.
Jesse Dolan: There is where it was getting stuck right here.
Terry Samuels: Yeah, it would get stuck about 40% down on almost every single page. That’s unfortunately. We’re taught in the SEO world to put your most important stuff to the top, but still there’s stuff at the bottom that’s important too.
Jesse Dolan: Pause there and kind of come back. I think there’s something there to parse out for everybody. I think two things. One, so Google doesn’t always necessarily, even though they can find your page, they may not have digested or crawled all the information on that page because then you’d stop somewhere… I think you and I were talking before in a conversation and you put it really well, they’re crawling this page. If they find an error and they stop, they’re not going to skip over it. They don’t know where to pick up next. They’re just stopped like, “Okay, done. Onto the next page.” They’ve got better things to do. If you had content that was important past that stop point, your kind of screwed.
Again, that’s where like you saying, put your schema up in the head. Guaranteed to be crawled every time, even if you have a stop point on your page or an error. At least you’re communicating all the schema stuff then, if nothing else.
Terry Samuels: Yeah, at least Google and Yahoo, and Bing and everybody are understanding what your page is about.
Jesse Dolan: Right.
Terry Samuels: That’s the most important thing. One of the things, especially the way some websites are built, it’s very hard from just a code part to understand a webpage especially if they’re not using all tags and they’ve overstuffed their header. If you think about it from a code-crawling point of view, some of the stuff Google Bot probably just sees and said, “Oh God, this is a mess. I’m out of here.” Like I said, we’ve all got a budget and the budget gets smaller and smaller every single day because more websites are coming on than Google’s getting bandwidth. So, we’ve got to be prepared with that to make sure that Google’s crawling the stuff that we want them to crawl, and if they miss stuff, then we’re okay with that. Hopefully, they’ll get it on the second time around, but unfortunately we don’t have a tool anymore that’ll go out and give us that issue.
You can test it. You can move your H1 from the top of your page to the bottom of the page and see if it affects your rankings, is probably the fastest way to do it. But we don’t have a tool like we did with Fetch and Render to be able to say, “Man, this page just isn’t moving. I wonder why,” and now all of a sudden we see, “Oh, well it’s not even getting through the body.” Google Tag Manager needs to throw off a lot of errors. So, the bot would just stop because there was something in Tag Manager that it didn’t finish, and it didn’t know what to do, so it leaves.
But yeah, that’s what I think. That’s why I’m so passionate about the schema, because I can kind of tell a better story in schema than I can on the public side of the website.
Caleb Baumgartner: This is a pretty decent spot to leave off with part one of our interview with Terry Samuels. Hopefully, you folks are getting a lot of information out of this. There’s a lot to unpack, but there are a lot of great nuggets in here, and we’re hoping your looking forward to part two in our next episode of Local SEO Tactics. Also on our next episode, we’ll get to reading our new five star review. Just a quick reminder for you folks, that our free Instant SEO Audit Tool is on our website where you can quickly audit your website and check your SEO against any keyword you’re trying to make. It’s totally free. You can get it by going to LocalSEOTactics.com and clicking the yellow button that says Free SEO Audit. Thanks again for listening, and we’ll catch you at part two just a little bit down the road.
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