Structured data is a mark up that provides information about pages to the search engines and Schema.org is a vocabulary that can be used with many different encodings supported by HTML that can help boost organic search performance. There are hundreds of different schema.org entity types, and you can locate a full list of schema.org entity types at schema.org.
While some types of entity types are used often, other types are underutilized and underrepresented. Some of the most commonly used entity types include CreativeWork, Book, Movie, TVSeries, Person, Place, Restaurant and more. But what about breadcrumbs schema, FAQ schema, Review and all the others that may be useful to your pages? Let’s take a look at some of the more important entity types that are undervalued by SEOs.
Underrepresented schema markup
- Course: In the EDU structured data space, there is a lack of course and educational info being marked up. But using the Course type and related properties here would enhance search result listings. Typically, you will find that small trade colleges are some of the only to utilize education schema. Why? Larger colleges and universities expect their school name to carry a lot of weight therefore, they don’t feel they need schema.
- Podcast: Podcast is a new and recent extension. As new podcasts go live on a daily basis, markup for them is becoming increasingly relevant and should be used.
- Article/BlogPosting: For as many blogs as there are on the internet, blog markup is underutilized. If you’re writing educational, informational and unique content, you’ll want to use schema simply to help your content be more easily understood by search engines, which may help your content with keyword relevance.
- Guides: Schema.org vocabulary for guides is underutilized. In today’s digital world, the quicker a user can find the answer to their pain point, the better. A guide is a great way to give snippets of information to a searcher quickly.
Not yet supported by Google for Rich Results.
- HowTo: You’ll find that HowTo markup is not frequently used, though growing in its adaptation by websites. Recipes were the first “how-to” content that Google and other search engines supported with rich results, making recipe structured data a must include to be competitive in organic search. One can expect a smilar trend for the expansion of recipe into the much braoder How-To/DIY space.
- FAQPage and QAPage: The vocabulary for FAQs is one of the most underutilized forms of markup currently. While FAQ and QA markup might be similar they serve different functions. FAQ tells Google “I am an organization providing the answer to a question” while QA is for a user to ask a question to a community, and the community members answer and/or rate the answers to determine the best response to the question – like Quora.
- Event markup: Event schema is partially underutilized. While SportsEvent and ComedyEvent are used often, other important ones like SaleEvent and MusicEvent aren’t used as often as they could be.
- Fact Checking markup: You will rarely see fact check vocabulary, even at such a unique and important time of disinformation. This could be because fact checking websites are still a small niche, but if you are in a publication space acting as a fact checker, this entity type and properties could be useful in helping searchers cut through the noise and find reliable information sources.
- Home Activities markup: This entity typeis new but it’s extremely relevant today and will likely continue to be during COVID-19 and stay at home orders. Stay at home mom blogs and site’s like Martha Stewart’s DIY projects are relevant pages to include home activity vocabulary.
Other vocabularies that are underutilized include Contact pages, Search Result Page, Profile page and real estate listings.
Google structured data guidelines
In order for your pages to be included in Google’s SERPs, you have to follow their structured data guidelines as you implement schema on your site. Google states that they will penalize your pages and take “manual action” if guidelines are not followed. Be sure to become familiar with and follow Google’s guidelines. You can find technical, quality, relevancy and more guidelines straight from Google.
Some of Google’s guidelines are simple. Don’t markup spammy data, fake reviews or fake content, misleading data and more. Other guidelines are slightly more complex. When considering using FAQ schema, people want to leverage it to sell. Google specifically responds negatively to using FAQ markup to sell and emphasize that sites cannot use FAQ schema for selling purposes. FAQ schema has to be factual and if it’s used for sales, you will have rich results removed from search results.
Schema.org and structured data are extremely valuable to your pages for organic search performance purposes. Begin using schema markup by first deciding which entity types are most relevant to your content and then add it to your code.
While schema.org vocabulary may seem extremely complicated, once you begin to understand how to align your content with existing entity types and how to implement it into your webpage’s HTML, you will more easily understand how valuable a tool it can be in your SEO workflow.