How to be naughty with Schema
Recently, the Marks and Spencer website relaunched under much fanfare and a bill for 150 million pounds or roughly 220 million USD.
Thing is, they seem to be abusing the schema markup for video sitemaps, as James Flacks points out in his article.
Apart from the video sitemaps, the old simian has come to regard schema markup as being inherently interesting for the modern SEO.
It gives a clean way to add semantic markup to a website and allows search engines (and other bots) easy access to the what and why a page is about.
In essence, all the info google and other engines need to display good and relevant and click-inducing information on your page can be handed over in one nice package.
In one study I did, the impact on pure traffic numbers was enormous. We are talking 1000% entry traffic compared to before the changes.
It’s a trap
If you paid attention, the rise of the “Google cards” will not have passed you by.
Now, why is that bad?
Because it gives users a lot of information without them having to go any further than Google.
Google also deliberately hides the links (nice small font) even to authority sites, such as wikipedia.
Here is one example
Notice the yellow box?
Yeah, that is the only outside link – to Wikipedia.
Notice the “Follow” button?
Yep, you’ll be following the Ford motor company on Google+
If the Marks and Spencer case shows anything, then that this is another avenue to be used, misused, and abused.
In the ugliest case, this will go the way of the meta tag, rendering an useful technology useless.
Or is it all good?
Now, young grasshopper, not all is lost yet.
As for now, the schema technology is not used a lot (for whatever reason), but it is easy enough to pick up to reap the benefits.
Go over to the official schema site to get the information.
But what will google do with this?
No one knows. I think it is good to keep a watch on things, but don’t overdo the paranoia.
You might even be able to ignore it. In the case study I mentioned before, one very interesting thing was that not Google, but Bing and Yahoo were the biggest additional traffic factors.
Pages that had been ignored by those two sites (or ranked way above position 100) appeared on the radar and stayed.
So – don’t go the Mark and Spencer way, but do learn and use schema markup. At least for now, there are benefits to it – and they might last.