SEO Articles

7 Tips for Structured Data on E-commerce Sites

7 Tips for Structured Data on E-commerce Sites

BEFORE READING: If you’re unfamiliar with JSON-LD, check out this article to learn more about the structured data format and why we prefer it. Overall, JSON-LD is much more flexible and scalable in comparison to microdata. Rather than having to add and edit microdata spread throughout the HTML of a page, you can add and edit JSON-LD in one place, wherever it’s pasted in the HTML.

While compiling recommendations for structured data for a client, many questions came up. After looking through countless articles on schema markup for e-commerce and going knee-deep into Schema.org, I still came up short when trying to find answers to my questions. Whether you’re working on implementing structured data for your own e-commerce site or a client’s site, here are 7 things that will help you along your journey.

1. When in doubt, test it out. Test and discover structured data opportunities with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool

If you’re unsure whether your structured data is valid or is free from errors, use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. It can confirm whether Google sees the markup on a page. If you’re missing any recommended (displayed as “warnings”) or required values (displayed as “errors”) as part of the structured data type, Google will tell you so. Additionally, the tool will report any syntax errors in your code.

Another great aspect of the testing tool is the ability to view the structured data used on competitor sites. This can be great if you’re unsure where to start or what schema types are relevant for your e-commerce pages. You can even learn from their errors and warnings.

2. Add structured data to your site based on templates

Whether you’re the one adding structured data to your e-commerce site or the one making recommendations, it can be overwhelming to think about all the schema markup needed across the many pages of your site. Rather than thinking about this page by page, approach it from a template level: product categories, products, contact, about, and so on. Also include a universal template, that is, structured data that would appear on all pages (such as BreadcrumbList).  

Delivering templated structured data to a client or your team can also aid in communication with developers and make it easier to implement changes.

3. Do you need to add review markup?

We often come across clients that use third-party apps to collect and display product reviews. We get a lot of questions about review markup and whether to include it as part of their product markup. Review markup should always be included in your product markup as it is a recommended field. But do you need to add it yourself? Here’s a visual to help answer that question.

4. Use “reviewBody” to markup review text in Review

When taking a look at the examples included at the bottom of Schema.org’s Review schema, one example review markup uses “description” and the other uses “reviewBody”. They both appear to be review text. So, which one should you use?

I would recommend using “reviewBody” for review text as it is a property of Review, whereas “description” is a property of Thing. The description for “reviewBody” (“The actual body of the review”) seems to fit review text more closely than “description” (“A description of the item”). Furthermore, when comparing with Google Developers’ guide on review snippets, they used “reviewBody” for the body of a review.

5. Use product markup on product category pages

Category pages can include products, yet it’s not quite a product page. About two years ago, Distilled, using an SEO split test conducted on our ODN platform, experienced positive results when including Product schema on e-commerce category pages. Unlike product schema on a product page, we omitted links to individual product pages when including the markup on category pages. This is in line with Google’s structured data policy on multiple elements on a page:

“A category page listing several different products (or recipes, videos, or any other type). Each entity should be marked up using the relevant schema.org type, such as schema.org/Product for product category pages. However, if one item is marked, all items should be marked. Also, unless this is a carousel page, the marked items should not link out to separate details pages.”

See the next tip on how to include markup for multiple products on a category page.

6. Use @graph for pages with multiple schema types

Are you using multiple structured data types on a single page? Instead of using numerous <script> tags, use one and place all your structured data types inside of a @graph object.

Example:

Before (two <script> tags):

After (using @graph):

7. Use a free online JSON editor

A tool that a colleague recommended to me was JSON Editor Online. You don’t have to sweat it if you don’t have a source code editor downloaded. Just use this tool to make sure your JSON-LD code is valid and correctly indented with tabs, not spaces of course 😉 The tool is also quick to tell you when you have errors in your code so that you can fix the error in the tool sooner, rather than later when you validate the structured data using a tool like Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Another great thing about using an editor tool such as this one is that it is free of weird formatting issues that can occur in word processors such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word.

Speaking from my own experiences (before I made the switch to use a JSON editor): when creating structured data in document files and then pasting the code to test in Google’s Structured Data Testing tool, the formatting remained intact. As such, I kept getting this error message, “Missing ‘}’ or object member name.” Looking through the JSON-LD, I was unable to locate where the missing “}” would go or any other missing character for that matter. It turns out that copying and pasting code from a doc file with the formatting intact caused my quotation marks to look funny in the testing tool, like italicized or in a different font. Rather than wasting more time by fixing the weird quotation marks, I switched to using a JSON editor when creating structured data. No more wonky formatting issues!

Did this post help in solving any of your problems with structured data on e-commerce sites? What other problems have you encountered? Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting @_tammyyu.

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Advanced SEO: Digital Summit Slide Deck

Advanced SEO cuts through abstraction. It doesn’t add layers of fixes and workarounds to mask SEO problems. Instead, it removes the problems themselves.

This deck is my talk from Digital Summit 2019. There are a lot of slides. If you’ve seen me speak you’re used to that. If not, don’t let it scare you. Every slide has a single link, idea, or tip. It’s a fast read that I’ve hopefully crammed with useful stuff.

Ask questions in the comments below, or find me on Twitter: @portentint

Or on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ianlurie/

The post Advanced SEO: Digital Summit Slide Deck appeared first on Portent.

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Not just for auto anymore: Google tests giant image search ads in new verticals.

Not just for auto anymore: Google tests giant image search ads in new verticals.

Remember when Google introduced that giant model automotive ad format to advertisers a few years ago? Well, it appears the format might be expanding to more verticals.

What they look like. A version of this format with a carousel of images was spotted on mobile by Search Engine Land columnist Glenn Gabe, who heads G-Squared Interactive. The ad, for Nike, appeared on a non-brand query for “what are the best running sneakers.”

Saw this crazy-immersive ad yesterday from Nike. 6 images that I could swipe through with the ability to launch a full page with those images. Not sure I've seen that before. @GinnyMarvin Have you seen this? pic.twitter.com/Aa9P8ZLZHA

— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) February 22, 2019

The format features multiple headlines followed by a large carousel of images and a description below. Users can swipe through the set of images in the ad. Clicking on any of the images brings up a Google-hosted page of all the images and their captions. A card with a link to the advertiser’s site is at the bottom of that page. Just like any other text ad, clicking on the headline takes you to the advertiser’s site.

Testing, testing. This expansion is just a test for now. “We’re always testing new ways to improve our experience for our advertisers and users, but don’t have anything specific to announce right now,” a Google spokesperson said when we asked about this.

Why you should care. Google has tried images in search ads in several variations — visual sitelinks being the latest. This bigger, splashier format is high impact and demands little effort from advertisers, particularly in verticals likely to already have a diverse selection of high-quality product imagery.

Whether this is rolled out will depend on performance, of course. Bigger ads (RSAs anyone?) typically lead to higher engagement rates. And Google knows from Shopping ads that images can drive high engagement. But will these new ads convert? When the automotive ads launched, Toyota said it had seen higher conversion events at a lower CPA than standard text ads. The model automotive ads have now been in rotation since 2016, which means Google has more than three years of data on how they perform.

It’s also interesting to see this test showing up on a non-brand search query. Model automotive ads typically show only on brand searches.

The post Not just for auto anymore: Google tests giant image search ads in new verticals. appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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We’re Shutting Down Our Link Building Services

We’re Shutting Down Our Link Building Services

Hey guys,

So I’ve decided to permanently shut down our link building services and all other services which include the blogger outreach service, citation building service, curated links service, SEO audit service, and 1-on-1 SEO consulting.

Now the question is:

Why am I closing a division of my business that’s been growing consistently for 3 years?

There are a few reasons:

1. We are dedicating 100% of Gotch SEO’s energy and focus on Gotch SEO Academy

In 2017, I shut down all of my client SEO contracts despite the fact that I was making over $60,000/mo doing client SEO. Most would view this decision as “insane”.

But this was a necessary decision so that I could dedicate all of my time and energy towards Gotch SEO Academy.

I was willing to make less money for a short period of time because I knew that teaching is what I truly love doing and it’s best way I can serve people.

But the truth is…

Even in 2018, I was still one foot in and one foot out.

While I was no longer doing full service SEO, my team and I were still operating our link building services.

That’s why on February 28, 2019 we’ll be permanently closing these services.

2. It’s a conflict of interest

It doesn’t feel “right” for me to educate someone on the process of building backlinks and then turn around and try to sell them my company’s link building services.

That’s not genuine.

Plus, it makes me a lazy teacher because I can say “just use our service so you don’t have to do it”.

That’s not cool.

My job is to teach people how to do SEO and how to get results on their own.

That’s it.

Anything that takes away from that is unacceptable for me personally.

This doesn’t mean I’m against buying backlinks. I just personally can’t sell them because it doesn’t feel right.

3. I love punching fear in the face

Back in 2013, I packed my stuff and drove to St. Louis to pursue an SEO career. I was $40,000 in debt, had no job, had no clients, and had to live in my now mother-in-law’s house.

I applied to work at every SEO agency in St. Louis and only received one call back and interview. I didn’t get the job. Not to mention, I was applied for an SEO position when I was still in California and didn’t get hired then either.

I’m not going to lie… I was fearful at this time.

“What if this doesn’t work out?” “What if I have to get a normal job and I can’t do SEO (or what I actually want to do)?”

In hindsight, I’ve realized that:

Those thoughts are nothing more than lies. Fear doesn’t want you to succeed.

But here’s the interesting part…

Every time you push through the fear, those little thoughts get weaker and weaker.

That’s why back then, I decided that instead of trying to get hired as an SEO, I would take on clients instead.

And I’ll be honest… I had a chip on my shoulder. I wanted to teach the agencies that ignored me a lesson.

I’ve grown up since then, but it was definitely a driving force.

Within 30 days of making my decision to take on clients, I moved out of my mother-in-law’s house and got an apartment.

For all you stalkers, 14480 Tramore Dr, Chesterfield, MO 63017 is the address to my old apartment.

If you do some stalking online (just search “tramore” + “gotch SEO”), you’ll be able to find business listing using my old address.

Any way…

I went from $3,000/mo doing client SEO to making $18,000/mo + in less than 6 months working from that tiny apartment.

Now you might be wondering:

What’s the point of this story?

Well, hopefully it helps you to get an inside look into my journey because I know that can be super helpful.

But it’s also personal reminder to me that I’m conquering the third stage of fear in my career as an SEO and entrepreneur.

Stage 1 Fear – Deciding to take on clients (and not get a “real” job)
Stage 2 Fear – Deciding to fire all clients
Stage 3 Fear – Deciding to ONLY focus on Gotch SEO Academy

4. Focused energy works

Despite only be 50% focused on Gotch SEO Academy in 2018, last month (January 2019) was the biggest month I’ve ever had in my business (WITHOUT clients)!

So, while firing my clients may seem “stupid” in the short-term, it’s paid off in the long-run and will continue to.

Not only does focusing help your business, but it’s also better for your customers (which is all that matters).

I can now dedicate 100% of my time and effort on training, coaching, and supporting every single person who’s already in Gotch SEO Academy and who decides to join in the future.

That’s exciting.

Conclusion

Phew… I had get that off my chest, but here’s what’s going down over the next two weeks:

1. I’m going to do a “blow out” sale

That means you can save 20% on our blogger outreach service, citation building service, and curated links service for the next two weeks.

Use coupon code: “lastchance” (without the quotes)

2. This will also be the last time you can book 1-on-1 SEO consulting or audits

I’m also going to shut down all SEO consulting and SEO audits for the rest of 2019. There’s a chance I won’t accept new clients in 2020 either.

So, if you want my 1-on-1 SEO help or you need my team and I to audit an SEO campaign, then you need to jump on it in the next two weeks.

Like the link building services, use coupon code “lastchance” (without the quotes) at checkout to save 20%.

3. This isn’t some type of marketing ploy

The deadline to invest in our link building services or get 1-on-1 SEO help from me is on February 28, 2019. THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS.

4. THANK YOU

Thank to everyone who’s used our services throughout the years. I’m so incredibly grateful to have served you and I wish everyone the best of luck in their SEO endeavors!

5. Get started

Here are links to all the services we offer (and will no longer be offering after February 28, 2019):

Blogger Outreach Service – Get contextual links on real blogs without effort.

Citation Building Service – Business listings for local businesses.

Curated Links Service – Get contextual links in aged content on real blogs.

SEO Audit Service – Find out why your SEO campaign isn’t working (now with video walkthroughs from me).

1-on-1 SEO Consulting/Coaching – We’ll work together to improve your SEO and digital marketing performance.

Use coupon code “lastchance” (without the quotes) at checkout to save 20%.

You get unlimited uses of this coupon until the deadline.

Have some questions before you order?

Email me directly at nathan at gotchseo dot com and I’ll help you out.

Thanks again for everything guys & gals.

P.S. I have some insanely helpful stuff coming out soon. One thing that I’m really excited to show you guys is a new product that’s going to save you massive amounts of time and help you scale your SEO client services (faster than ever). BOLO.

– Gotch

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Q&A with SEMrush CEO / Cofounder, Oleg Shchegolev

Oleg Shchgolev, CEO and Co-founder of SEMrush, also created SEOquake that was released in 2006. SEOquake was the inspiration to creating something more complex. Then SEMrush was born with the help of his partner, Dimitri Melnikov.

Today, SEMrush has 10 years in the market with 500 employees, revenues close to 100 million, and about 2 million users worldwide.

I had the pleasure to interview Oleg, including some questions beyond Search.

KT: What type of inspiration, vision, and loyalty did you see in Dmitri Melnikov that made you want to go in business with him?

OS: First and foremost, Dima is my friend. Second, he is a SEMrush co-founder; he’s been here right from the very beginning. We have always believed in the product that we’ve been working on and I totally admire him as my friend, my colleague, and co-founder.

We make most decisions together as CEO & co-CEO. Our temperaments are mutually reinforcing and this contributes greatly in allowing us to make balanced and informed decisions.

KT: How is your relationship with your partner Dmitri Melnikov?

OS: I’ve known Dmitri for more than 30 years. We grew up in the same neighborhood; we started programming together and over time our friendship expanded into a business partnership. We’ve gone through lots of ups and downs together.

KT: To be successful in the tech industry do you consider a person has to go to college or can they be self-taught?

OS: Formal education greatly enhances discipline and concentration, helps you socialize and find the right and important people — to network, if you like.

But a lot of leaders I know are self-taught. Back when I was a student, people had pretty much no idea what SEO was, or how important (and complicated) it would become over the years. Students should be aware that their knowledge gets outdated fast. They need to be prepared to dedicate a lot of time to continuing self-education.

The IT industry is developing extremely quickly. That’s not to say that college education is not needed at all (it definitely doesn’t hurt to learn some basic stuff in college), but other than that…like I said, I don’t deem formal training to be absolutely essential. With all the online courses and workshops, it’s possible to study everything remotely.

KT: Does SEMrush have corporate social responsibility initiatives? Such as giving scholarships for people that dream with tech careers? Or any other?

OS: At the moment, we work closely with American and European universities and give students the opportunity to explore SEMrush. While learning digital marketing, they familiarize themselves with our tools and work on their projects with the help of SEMrush. Representatives of our company give a lot of master-classes to students, providing them with the insights about digital marketing.

We organize a lot of meetups, roundtables and conferences on digital marketing and agile. We always welcome other IT companies to take part in such events. Lots of lectures, a great deal of useful insight, plenty of opportunities for networking — these are just a few reasons to come by our events.

On a different note, we certainly care about ecological sustainability. We are going to implement waste separation in all our offices and  we encourage our employees to cycle to work to reduce CO2 emission.

It goes without saying that we give people the opportunity to work with us on paid internships. Pretty often, former interns become our full-time employees. We have plans for a large project on how to help novice specialists find work in the digital sphere, but we won’t reveal the details yet

KT: Where is SEMrush headed in the next 5 years?

OS: We are definitely going to add more features to SEMrush, while enhancing our content tools, along with local SEO and traffic analytics (Competitive Intelligence 2.0). We want to ensure that we remain the leading digital marketing software.

As for strategic plans, we are going to strengthen our global brand. At the moment we’re working diligently to enter emerging markets such as China — right now, we are updating our databases to cover Baidu data.

We’ll also introduce tools that help figure out how to rank better on Amazon and optimize for voice search.

This is just a minor part of what is coming. There are a lot of other things we are working on, but we’ll keep them quiet for a while! Hint: 2019 is going to be a big year for us.

KT: What are your biggest pain points as SEO thought-leader? What additional support/buy-in do you think most companies struggle with to get on board? Does this result in limiting their growth opportunities?

OS: SEO is multidimensional and its development is extremely rapid. 5 years ago we couldn’t even imagine that image search or voice search would be everywhere. Such technological growth involves non-stop education and creative thinking, both from my side as a thought-leader and from the side of companies trying to get on board.

One more indispensable thing to get on board successfully is to have some unique feature, to understand your uniqueness and, crucially, to communicate that knowledge to your audience. Such an environment of extrinsic value, created for your customers, will also help build strong and long-term relationships with them and will directly affect customer retention.

KT: What will impact the traditional SEO from Voice search devices in the coming years?

OS: The share of voice searches is growing, along with the amount of voice-activated smart speakers. Naturally, voice searches are different from the searches that are typed — the former are longer and the wording is different — more conversational.

Voice search is about questions, prepositions, and comparisons – the same as with featured snippets . If it’s not an informational query, people are likely to search for location-based info.

Backlinko’s study claims that 40.7% of answers come from the featured snippet. Our SEO clients are putting more and more emphasis on this feature. Questions, prepositions, and comparisons dominate featured snippet results. A whopping 52% of questions have featured snippets.

KT: Can we get a dashboard or report on voice search?

OS: There’s no single dashboard or report on voice search in SEMrush (at least for now) but some of our tools help find solutions for voice search optimization. For instance, featured snippet checks or mobile devices optimization — this contributes to voice search ranking.

KT: What’s the most popular SEMrush feature and why?

OS: Everyone loves us for Keywords Research tools, but there is so much more to SEMrush.

KT: What’s a feature of SEMrush that is less utilized and why?

OS: The features that are available in the Admin Mode only =)

KT: What is diversity like in the tech industry? Do you think there is gender bias in the tech industry?

OS: Judging by what the media says, there are indeed a lot of problems with diversity in the tech industry.  In SEMrush we want our company to be equally welcoming to people of any race or gender. About half of SEMrush C-level employees are women and we believe they are awesome specialists who help make SEMrush an industry-leading company.

Closing thoughts

My favorite answer is the last one because I am an advocate for equality and inclusivity.

In my conversation with Oleg I also learned that SEMrush’s headquarters is now in Boston.

To summarize the success of SEMrush, it is based on a great communication within its talented partners, a great culture of inclusivity, and the amazing people that work there.

The post Q&A with SEMrush CEO / Cofounder, Oleg Shchegolev appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Does readability rank? On ease of reading and SEO

Is it worth your while making your text a pleasant read? Will it lead to higher rankings and more traffic? Is readability a ‘ranking factor’? At Yoast, we’re convinced that writing in plain and understandable language can get you more visitors. We’ve even developed a tool to help people write readable text. Here, we’ll explain why search engines love easy to understand copy, and we’ll give tips on creating it.

Well-written copy improves UX

At the risk of stating the obvious: unintelligible copy makes for bad user experience. Nobody likes to read something that’s incomprehensible, boring or stuffed with keywords. All your web copy should, therefore, be aimed and focused on your audience, giving them the information they need, a solution to their problem, or an answer to their question.

First and foremost, you should write great copy for your visitors. This fits in nicely with our vision of holistic SEO. If you write text people don’t understand, you won’t help people find what they need. What’s more, you’ll end up with unsatisfied visitors, that’ll probably bounce back to Google when they hit your site. Google analyses user signals like that to determine how visitors experience your site.

Search engines mimic humans

There used to be a time when stuffing keywords in your copy would work: if you’d just mention your keywords enough times in your text, Google would rank it high for those keywords. Those times are long gone.

Fortunately, Google got much better at recognizing quality content. For instance, after the Hummingbird update, Google started recognizing synonyms. It also understands which words, entities, and content are related to each other. In addition to that, search engines became better at predicting what people want to read: from the keywords in your query they can make an estimated guess on your search intent. You can learn how to semantically link entities to your content.

Overall, the algorithm of Google is trying to mimic a human. It tries to read text like a human being. As Google becomes more capable of understanding and scanning texts in a human-like way, the demands on the readability of text also rise.

Readability is important for voice search

The number of people using voice search is growing, so Google — and other search engines — are focused on voice. They present their results in a voice-like manner; they rank their results in a voice-like manner.

People searching for information with voice search could end up listening to a relatively long piece of information. Imagine a long paragraph consisting of meandering sentences and containing lots of difficult words, that’s read out loud. The voice result would become impossible to understand. Google wouldn’t want to use an answer like that. Neither in voice nor in normal results.

Google prefers understandable content because voice search is getting bigger. Whether it will be huge or not, doesn’t matter for the importance of understandable, readable content. Google simply dictates the search results and the algorithm. We just have to go with it. And in this case, it’s a good thing. Writing readable content is a blessing for the reader.

Read more: How to prepare for voice search »

What makes a text easy to read?

How do people read web copy? Visitors scan through texts, read subheadings and the first sentences of paragraphs. They look for transition words in order to quickly abstract what the main conclusion of an article will be.

All the things humans do while reading text are things Google will do. That means that the structure of your text, the way you write your paragraphs, will become increasingly important. Core sentences — the first sentence of every paragraph — will be crucial. Having a clear and logical structure in your text will be invaluable.

Tips to keep your text readable

How to create easy reads? Before you start writing your text, think about the structure. What are you going to tell your audience and in what order? Is that a logical order of topics? Will your audience be able to follow your arguments, your examples, your message? Maybe you should try writing content with the inverted pyramid style?

Read more: Setting up a text structure »

Write short rather than lengthy sentences, as lengthy sentences are much harder to process. Try to avoid or to limit the number of difficult words in a text. Try not to use complicated sentences and try to avoid the use of passive voice.

Keep reading: 5 SEO copywriting mistakes you should avoid »

Make sure to write in an appealing style. That can be really hard; not everyone has a talent for creative writing. Make sure to mix it up a little! Try to alternate long sentences with shorter ones. Use synonyms. Avoid starting sentences with the same word.

Read on: 5 tips to write a readable blog post »

We know writing readable copy is hard. That’s why we developed a readability analysis in Yoast SEO. It checks, for instance, if your sentences aren’t too long, if you don’t use passive voice too often, and if the length of your paragraphs is OK. We’ll give you tips for improvement and you can even see which sentences need a second look. We’re continuously tweaking it, adding new checks and getting it translated in as many different languages as possible. It’s available for free in the Yoast SEO plugin.

One last tip: read it out loud!

Google’s Gary Illyes once tweeted that you should read your text out loud. If it doesn’t read nicely or sounds strange, it probably won’t rank either.

Let’s be clear: your rankings won’t immediately soar if you improve the readability of your texts. But, writing a readable blog post is an essential part of every SEO strategy. If you want your readers to read your entire blog post, you should make sure your copy is easy to read. Posts that are nice to read will definitely result in more returning visitors and a higher conversion rate. So in the long run: readability ranks.

Keep on reading: SEO copywriting: the complete guide »

The post Does readability rank? On ease of reading and SEO appeared first on Yoast.

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