Schema markup, structured data, microdata…you’ve heard these terms floating around out on the internet/SEO universe, but what do they mean? And more importantly, is it important for your dental practice’s website?
We’re taking this somewhat complicated SEO topic and breaking it down in an easy-to-understand way so that you can implement it into your dental practice’s website.
What is Schema Markup?
First things first, what is schema? Schema is a form of optimization for websites. It’s quite possibly one of the most effective forms of optimization, however, it’s also one of the least applied SEO practices. When schema is utilized correctly, it can have a substantial positive impact on your website’s search engine ranking.
So, what is it? Without getting too technical, it’s a code that’s applied to your website that helps search engines break down all the components of a web page—essentially explaining what each part of the page is.
It’s a semantic vocabulary of code that was created through the collaborative efforts of all the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex). This mutual language allows website owners to insert schema code into their website so that it will be recognized and understood across all of the major search platforms.
Schema and Context
Search engines “crawl” your site and index your content based on reading the code. This is all well and dandy except, the search engine doesn’t have any context for what it’s reading and therefore can only present results for search queries based on its limited understanding of your site.
When you add the correct microdata, or schema, to your page’s code, the search engine can then gain a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of what your page is all about. The more optimized you are for the exact thing that you want search engines to understand, the higher it will rank, and the more people will see it.
Schema can be implemented into the snippets that searchers will see in their search results. When a website is correctly utilizing schema, searchers can see in the results what the website is all about in just a few lines. They’ll see information like where your business is located, how much your services cost, and more. The more detailed your snippet, the more likely you’ll catch the searcher’s eye and they’ll click on your site.
Think of it as a virtual business card. Search engines love when they have more information to display to help their users make an informed decision. Remember, search engines reward websites with the best user experience. When your practice’s website is optimized for SEO and improving the user’s experience, you’ll be rewarded with higher search engine rankings.
Is Schema Considered a “Black Hat SEO” Practice?
At Core Dental Solutions, we’re dedicated to SEO best practices. We’d never recommend a practice that could potentially result in a penalty. So, while schema may seem like a too-good-to-be-true ranking trick, it’s not!
In fact, it’s an SEO best practice that, when used correctly, can provide immense value to your site as well as the searcher. As long as you only use truthful and accurate information within your schema, you’ll have a good chance of increasing your SEO and achieving higher search engine results.
Filling out schema properties will not only ensure that search engines are extremely clear about what your business is, what it does, and where it’s located, but it also helps searchers get quick access to your most pertinent information.
Why You Need Schema on Your Practice’s Website
Local businesses stand to benefit the most from schema. Local schema helps search engines understand that your practice is a local business rather than an international brand. Search engines, like Google, are building vast knowledge graphs that they then use to power a variety of different search technologies.
There are so many new search technologies now that go far beyond the computer with the widespread use of voice search and search on mobile devices. Google My Business and Google Knowledge panels provide business information to voice search (Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, etc.) and mobile search platforms. If your dental practice’s website isn’t properly marked up with schema, you could be missing out on showing up for these types of searches. For a deeper dive into voice search, check out our blog post about voice search here.
The trends in voice search and personal assistants are only going to continue to expand and become more prevalent. Therefore, it’s important that you develop your website with the proper technical code, or schema, to set your website up for not only success now, but in the future, too.
And while schema isn’t the only piece of the ranking puzzle, it can make a pretty significant impact on your site and therefore should not be skipped.
Structured Data Testing for Dental Practices
If you’re unsure if your website schema is properly set up, or even set up at all, you can use the Google Structured Data Testing Tool to find out. Here are the most important properties that a dental practice should have:
- @type: Dentist
- Telephone: Must be your NAP (name, address, phone) data on your Google My Business profile
- areaServed: The primary location you want your practice to show up for
- Openinghours: Your hours of operation
- hasMap: Link to the Google Map address of your practice
- Founder name: The main dentist of your practice
- Address fields: Make sure it matches your NAP data
Ready for Complete Dental Marketing Solutions Without the Hassle?
If topics like schema, SEO, and voice search optimization have you feeling lost and overwhelmed, you’re not alone. The internet and its complexities can boggle even the most brilliant of minds.
As a dedicated dental marketing company with years of experience, our business is committed to helping dental practices optimize their website and gain a steady flow of new patients each month through online techniques, without having to learn all the technical jargon—we’ll handle all of that for you.
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