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Bleeding-Edge Schema Strategies for SEO

It's bloody out there in SEO land! Check out these schema-chops that give my clients an unfair advantage over the competition.
Bleeding Edge Schema Strategies for SEO - featured Image

Schema markup is a powerful tool for SEOs looking to give their websites an edge in the search results. Schema can improve visibility, click-through rates, and organic traffic by providing structured data that search engines can quickly understand and use to classify a website’s information better and enhance listings. 

However, simply implementing basic schema is no longer enough to stand out. To really maximize the benefits, SEOs need to leverage advanced schema markup techniques that go beyond the bare minimum.

You’ve probably already read all the basic articles and watched the basic schema videos. You’ve flipped on the publish schema switches in all the popular plugins. 

Featured snippets? Go somewhere else. We’ve got the GOODS on schema here. 

Let us rock, shall we?

Building a Better Website with Schema

Occasionally, we have jobs where the business does not want to add certain elements to its website content that are simply SEO “must-haves.” These key terms, misspellings, ambiguations and disambiguations could help bring more awareness to Google and, thus, potential customers to the website. 

Schema to the rescue. 

Simply add this somewhat janky information within the site’s schema to build the complete website full of “client-approved” as well as “client-ignored” information that provides search engines with all the important information about your brand, services, and locations in a structured way.

For a “local” business, always include geo-relevant schema for each city they service, mentioning local landmarks, events, or personal connections to strengthen entity associations and local rankings. 

For example, on a local plumber’s website, we might include schema mentioning their sponsorship of a city festival and proximity to a well-known park, helping to establish their entity associations with the local area:

Bleeding-Edge Schema Strategies for SEO 1
Associating local entities with your business can impart geo-relevance

You can also associate schema markup to images on your site to provide additional context and potentially rank for image searches.

This ain’t alt tags:

Bleeding-Edge Schema Strategies for SEO 2
Associating images with entities to inform the Knowledge Graph

Leveraging Schema for Keyword Optimization

Suppose there’s a commonly misspelled term or different ways of describing the same thing in the client’s niche. And let’s say your client does not want to include those misspellings or synonyms on their pages so as not to confuse their customers. 

With schema, you can simply include such misspellings and synonyms in the “disambiguatingDescription” schema property to capture additional search traffic without appearing spammy (or stupid) on the page.

You can use structured data to optimize for specific keyword modifiers like “best,” “top,” or “near me” that indicate high purchase intent. How? 

Both Organization and LocalBusiness (a subtype of Organization) allow for the description property (free text) as well as the use of the keywords property (believe it or not). 

Stuff away, y’all. 

But you know, within reason.

You can also target long-tail query segments by including extremely specific, niche keywords and phrases in your schema properties like “disambiguatingDescription” and my personal favorite, “knowsAbout.”

Tasty Treats for Google’s Knowledge Graph

Google needs TONS of supporting evidence to establish a trustworthy Knowledge Graph around an entity. 

You can help inform Google’s Knowledge Graph by building fleshed-out profiles on trusted platforms like Wikipedia, Crunchbase, and Goodreads. Then, to strengthen your knowledge graph associations, you can reference these entity records via sameAs, memberOf and employeeOf in your site’s schema.

Some less scrutable SEO folks take advantage of Google’s thirst for corroboration: hijacking competitors’ Knowledge Graph panels by optimizing their schema and off-site entities to confuse Google about which brand should be associated with a given query or topic. 

Some may even create fake entity profiles, videos, and content on sites like YouTube to manipulate Knowledge Graph results and create an artificial “entity stack” that ranks quickly.

This is naughty, and I mention it here for educational purposes only.

Get It Right Google

The disambiguatingDescription is a handy property for when you need to differentiate entities that Google may be confusing. 

For example, there is a cycling class in the UK called “Boom Cycle”, and they’ve done a good job of getting their brand out there. 

So much so in fact, that whenever early GPT models needed to spell “Boomcycle”, they’d almost always default to “Boom Cycle”. 

Here’s an example of a disambiguatingDescription that I use on my website:

Bleeding-Edge Schema Strategies for SEO 3
Disambiguating like a Biguating Dog.

Advanced Schema Implementation Tactics

Let’s face it: schema is a PITA. There has to be a better way than writing schema code in Notepad++. 

Of course there is, but it’s kind of funny how long it’s been taking plugin companies and SaaS providers to get their schema-$h17 together.

For example, it should be eminently doable for RankMath or Yoast to add dynamically generated schema at scale using rules and templates to mark up large sites with consistent, comprehensive data efficiently. Instead, these pluggers have contented themselves with helping their users “get featured snippets” (2014 called, and it wants its schema strategy back).

Ideally you’d simply point a tool at a URL and, given some “core business data” and perhaps some additional meta data, it should be able to select the appropriate schema type, and then add all the goodies like sameAs and knowsAbout until the cows come home.

The ability to write what’s needed for ranking within schema should never be overlooked. 

You can populate schema properties with compelling, keyword-rich content to provide additional context to search engines, treating some text-friendly properties like an extra meta description tag.

Lastly, you should endeavor to combine multiple schema types on a single page to provide the most comprehensive structured data possible (e.g., Article, Video, and FAQ schema on a blog post).

Bleeding-Edge Schema Strategies for SEO 4
Don't Let Your Competition Leave You in the Dust 🌪️

Supercharge Your Digital Marketing & SEO with Boomcycle 

Enhancing Entity Associations with Schema

An Organization or LocalBusiness is not the only “entity” here. 

You should always plan to build out dedicated pages for key entities like employees, products, and departments, each with their own schema type (e.g., Person, Product, Organization), and link to these pages from within your main site hierarchy.

In addition, you can strengthen your entity associations by frequently publishing new content (e.g., press releases, blog posts, videos) that reference your primary entities and include optimized schema markup.

Regularly verify your schema to identify and fix errors. 

Some believe that Google will simply ignore an entire block of JSON-LD schema when presented with a single error. However, it’s likely that if the error is isolated to a specific property or section of the JSON-LD, Google will simply ignore that part and still process the rest of the valid schema.

However, if the error is fundamental and prevents Google from understanding the overall structure or context of the schema, it may ignore the entire block. This can happen if there are syntax errors, missing required properties, or incorrect data types.

Be sure to check for any deprecated bits of schema properties or schema types. For example, recently, schema.org deprecated my beloved ProfessionalService entity. 

The Good Stuff on Schema

Using these tips, you can create a well-structured, outside-the-box article about leveraging schema for SEO. We’ve had a few laughs, and covered oddball tactics such as building a “second website,” informing the Knowledge Graph, implementing schema at scale, enhancing entity associations, and maintaining schema over time.

As Google and other search engines evolve, the importance of schema markup for SEO will only continue to grow. We’re moving towards a semantic web where context is king, and schema is the language of context.

Investing in advanced schema best practices is one of the highest-ROI things you can do to improve your organic performance. But success requires going beyond plugins and generators to truly customize your markup. Think like a knowledge graph engineer, and structure your data in a way that strengthens your entity associations.

Use each of these tactics and tips to take your schema game to the next level. 

With a solid strategy, creative applications and proper execution, you can make schema one of your most powerful SEO assets. 

Don’t wait to be outranked – start mapping out your schema today.

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