Some Schema.org types are beneficial for most of the businesses out there. If you have a website you want to help search engines index its content in the most simple and effective way and to do that you can start from…well, the most important page: your homepage. Technical SEO experts like Cindy Krum describes schema markup as your new sitemap. And it is true when crawling a website (whether you are Google or any other automated crawler you might think of), getting the right information about a website is a goldmine.
How Do I Add A Schema To My Homepage?
Let’s get started with our homepage. We want to let Google know from our homepage the following:
- The organization behind the website (Publisher)
- The logo of this organization
- The URL of the organization
- The contact information of the organization
- The list of URLs of the organization across the web (LinkedIn, Crunchbase, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media channel that is actively maintained)
- The name of the website
- The tagline of the website
- The URL of the website
- How to use the internal search engine of the website
- The Sitelinks (the main links of the website)
We can do all of this by implementing the WebSite structured data type on the homepage of our website. A few more indications from Google on this front:
- Add this markup only to the homepage, not to any other pages
- very important and unfortunately on a lot of websites, you still find this markup on every single page. It should not happen: it is unnecessary.
- Always add one SearchAction for the website, and optionally another if supporting app search (if you have a mobile app – this will help users searching from a mobile device to continue their journey on the mobile app).
Let’s have a quick look at a couple of examples:
- The WebSite markup on this blog?
- An example of the Corporate Markup for adding the contacts of the organization.
To check if your schema.org markup is correct you can use these tools to test the structured data of your home page — as well as any other page.
What Type Of Structured Data Do I Need For The Homepage?
What are the most recurring patterns and the most useful ones for your business?
As I have been contributing to this year Structured Data chapter of the Web Almanac I had the opportunity to explore how structured data is currently being used on over 8.2 million homepages 🤯.
Specifically, looking at the structured data added to homepages via JSON-LD, it is interesting to see the most frequent relationships between the different entity types.
Here are the most common connections between types, based on how frequently they occur within all structure/relationship values.
As we could expect among the most common relationships we find the relationship website, potentialAction, and SearchAction schema (accounting for 6.15% of the structures). Collectively, this relationship enables the use of a Sitelinks Search Box in Google’s search results.
If you want to learn more about how to optimize your on-site search for SEO by building a Knowledge Graph, read our article.
In this context, two other meaningful relationships are website, potential action, and ReadAction as well as website, publisher, and Organization.
It is worth mentioning that, if your business is more specific, for example if you represent a music event or work for car dealer, you could opt for a more specific relationships, such as:
- MusicEvent > performer > PerformingGroup
- AutoDealer > department > AutoRepair
Depending on the nature of your business, you can apply fine-grained markups by looking at the classes in the schema vocabulary. As a general rule of thumb, the more we get specific and semantically relevant, the more we help the search engine understand our business.
Structured Data For Homepage And Knowledge Panel
Adding structured data to your site’s homepage is also key to encouraging the appearance of the Google Knowledge Panel.
Google Knowledge Panel is an excellent source of visibility for brands, and its activation is automatic. One of the things you can do to encourage its appearance is to make sure that the homepage has the same business description used on the other channels. This reinforces Google’s recognition and ability to disambiguate against businesses with the same name.
If you want to learn more about how to set up WordLift to trigger a Knowledge Panel, we recommend watching this video.
New Site Name Google Updates
On October 14, Barry Schwartz announced on his regular show Search Engine Roundtable that Google is officially rolling out the new site name.
When Google lists a page in the SERP, it displays the name of the website the page came from. This is the site name.
The generation of website names on the Google search results page is fully automatic and takes into account both the content of a website and references to it that appear on the web. The goal of the website name is to best represent and describe the source of each result.
Google uses several sources to automatically determine the name of the website, and one of them is the structured data. Although it is not possible to manually change the names of individual websites, it is still possible to improve the quality of the names displayed for a website through the structured data for the homepage.
We would like to focus in particular on the alternativeName property, as Google has now explicitly acknowledged that it has a direct impact on the results in the SERP.
According to Google, the alternativeName property can be used to provide an alternative version of the website name (for example, an acronym or shorter name).
In the content guidelines, Google says:
Use a concise, commonly-recognized name for your site (for example, “Google” instead of “Google, Inc”). While there’s no limit to how long a site name can be, on some devices long site names may be truncated. If you have an alternate name that’s commonly recognized, you can use the alternateName property to specify that name (for example, an acronym).
As you can see from the example, the alternativeName is an attribute we have always used for the structured data on the home page of our website.
In addition, Google says:
Use your site name consistently across your homepage. Whatever you use as the site name in structured data should be consistent with what’s on your homepage, <title> elements, and other prominent sources where Google may derive the name of your site.
How do I add a schema to my homepage?
To add schema.org markup, you can either embed the code to your homepage or use a plug-in. Microdata, RDFa and JSON-LD are the three formats to add information to your web content by implementing schema.org vocabulary. If you want to automatically add Schema markup to your homepage and other pages on your website without needing technical skills and extra work, you can use tools like WordLift.
You can discover what type of structured data you need for the homepage by reading the article above. You will also find a code snippet that you can use for adding the markup in JSON-LD.
How do you check structured data?
To review if your schema.org markup is correct you can use different tools.
- Schema Markup Validator
- Rich Results Testing Tool
- SEO Site Checkup
- Yandex Structured Data Validator
- RDF Translator
- JSON-LD Playground
- Big Markup Validator
- Structured Data Linter
- RAW Density
Learn more about how to test the structured data of your web pages, read our article.
How do I make Google aware of the short name of my website or an acronym?
To provide Google with a shortened version of your website name or acronym, you can use the alternateName property. WordLift automatically adds this property to your website and uses the tagline of your website by default. You can customize it by going to Settings and entering your preferred short name or acronym under Website Alternate Name. To find out more, see the configuration screen in our documentation.
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