Table of contents:
- What are the most common schema markups for publishers?
- What are the least common, underutilized schema markups for publishers?
- What are some potentially useful schema markups that I can watch out for in the future?
The news and blogging industry is not an easy profession. Anyone who has had the opportunity to participate in these article-driven businesses will tell you that it is a very dynamic, competitive and time-sensitive industry – you do not have much time to get your bearings. News articles and events come and go, and readers’ attention spans are short. That’s why it’s important to optimize your content as soon as it’s fresh and interesting to your audience. Especially for those who want to report live or are serious about being in the newsroom.
Google’s VP Scott Huffman will say that “discoverability is not a solved problem.” That’s why we analyzed more than 100 web platforms of news, blogs and magazines such as BBC, BILD, Blick, NYTimes, TNW, SmashingMagazine, CNN, DW, AL Jazeera, Google News and the personal websites of renowned SEOs and identified the most common, but also the most useful (but less known) schema markups for publishers.
We, as schema markup experts, pioneers in using artificial intelligence to grow online audiences and first-to-market content organization, feel the need to share our findings with the wider SEO industry, because we fight for:
- Open and linked-data knowledge that everyone can benefit from;
- Helping to establish quality competition which will directly increase the quality of the content that we provide online;
- Work together with WWW, Schema.org and general schema markup enthusiasts towards making the Internet better, one day at the time;
- So much more.
What Are The Most Common Schema Markups For Article-Oriented Websites?
Assuming you have regular workflows for producing and publishing content, you may have dealt with the Article, NewsArticle, and BreadcrumbList schema markups. What are the differences between them and what exactly are they used for? Let us take a look at them together.
- Article is a general type of schema markup, mostly used for magazines’ creative work. As stated on Schema.org, “newspapers and magazines have articles of many different types and this is intended to cover them all”. When it is hard to determine the schema category for your content piece, it is always a great idea to start with Article schema markup;
- NewsArticle is a schema markup used to report on news or in other words articles that are produced by an established news organization. The NewsArticle schema represents a type of creative work and it formally inherits the Article schema while being more specific than the Article schema itself. NewsArticle schema markup works best when it is accompanied with the following attributes:
- backstory – a brief explanation of why and how an article was created;
- articleSection – the news category for the given article;
- speakable – usually to highlight the most important parts of the article or indicate parts which are the most likely to be useful for general speech purposes (text-to-speech);
- abstract – a short summary about the article and particularly useful when combined with entity referencing and entity tagging by using the mentions attribute;
- accountablePerson – the person who is responsible for producing the creative work;
- award – recognitions for the given article;
- contributor – referencing additional co-authors and helpers for the piece to be properly produced;
- conditionsOfAccess – explains the rules for accessing the content, e.g. “Available by appointment from the Reading Room” or “Accessible only from logged-in accounts “.
- BreadcrumbList – it represents a chain of interconnected webpages, indicating the hierarchy for accessing each one of them. Useful for big websites or category-based websites which need to explain their navigation to users and search engines.
Combining accountablePerson, award and contributor attributes helps in building Expertise-Authority-Trust (EAT) for your creative work which is particularly useful after Google’s Helpful Content Update. It is always great when we can provide more context to search engines about the author and his/hers expertise to write the content. Basically, E-A-T is best developed when we can positively answer questions like:
- When searchers explore content to solve their needs, will they put their trust into your business and expertise provided?
- Does the content itself demonstrates first-hand expertise and showcases good structure and clear purpose?
- Will the users satisfy their searching needs after absorbing your creative work?
While E-A-T itself is not a direct ranking factor, it is still a framework that encompasses many clues that Google picks up on to evaluate and further elevate quality content. Therefore, it’s a good idea to develop a solid knowledge graph and link between your authors’ expertise and your niche topics.
Here are some results that we observed when implementing some of the previous schema markups for publishers to our clients’ websites:
As you can see from the bar chart, annotated articles outperformed non-annotated articles by about 17%. This is a huge improvement, especially for large publishers, but also useful for small authors optimizing their audience.
What Are The Least Common, Underutilized Schema Markups For Publishers?
The news & article webspace is definitely not using the full power of available, non-pending schema markups, including FAQ page, How to, VideoObject, Person,
LiveBlogPosting, Thing for entities (entity linking), TVEpisode, TVSeries, CollectionPage, Series, CreativeWork (Whitepapers, Books), Event, PodcastEpisode. We are going to cover only some of them.
Person is more descriptive than accountablePerson or the contributor attribute, because it provides more context-fields to describe the author like:
- alumniOf – any connection with formal and informal education institutions that can demonstrate author’s competencies is useful to be provided;
- award – a list of concrete achievements that this person managed to secure during its lifetime, think “Best investigative story” for reporters, mentions in relevant associations and so on;
- jobTitle – explains the exact job title that the content piece’s author holds, like Editor in Chief or a more regular reporter. Use this to differentiate;
- knowsAbout – used for expertise building, covering the topics in which the person is expert in;
- sameAs attribute – this one is relatively known for local businesses but rarely appropriately utilized for Person’s schema markup. Use it to connect to relevant social media profiles for the author and anything that can help in disambiguating its entity across the web.
All of these extension, context-based ideas are not possible or easy to achieve with simple contributors or accountablePersons attributes alone.
LiveBlogPosting is useful when you need to perform an ongoing textual coverage for events that are ongoing and require continuous updates. Think hostage situations, earthquakes, ongoing wars or political elections – most of them are types of events that happen in a defined time interval and are a hot topic for some days and weeks (excluding war situations which are absolutely more complex than that).
Therefore, a typical Article or Blog schema will not be sufficient in these cases. It is also important to note that Google might feature top stories with a live badge when adding this schema, so it is definitely worth it to give it a try.
TVEpisode and TVSeries
TVEpisode and TVSeries are interesting schema markups and particularly useful when websites are performing some sort of TV broadcast and related online content delivery. You can also think of reportages for TV shows like the Bachelor (example: Blick.ch regularly reports on these ones) – it is not a reportage, analysis or typical news article, so it should be appropriately differentiated.
Series is absolutely different compared to TV series (these two should not be mixed up) and it is usually used to connect a group of related items which do not have to belong in the same category or be of the same type. They are useful where there is not an established strict order in which the items should be shown but still require a certain structure to be interconnected together. In practice, you can observe the Kevin Indig’s blog utilizes this schema markup very cleverly:
- He writes long-form articles that belong to different topics but still fall under the global SEO topic, ranging from SEO team structures and up to rocking SEO in the machine learning world;
- Since there is not an established, clear hierarchical structure between the articles, he uses the Series schema markup to connect all these blog-posts together in a series;
- The Series schema helps with content comprehension but also content referral and building a powerful article recommendation engine.
It is simple but still way to underutilized according to our study.
What Are Some Potentially Useful Schema Markups That I Can Watch Out For In The Future?
In some contexts fact checking is important to be done and adding content-based schemas helps in these initiatives: first we need to gather the data in a structured way and then act on it appropriately. There are important initiatives around in the media space that are working in this direction like the Fact Checker tools by Google to help spot misinformation.
At the same time, Schema.org and linked-data knowledge enthusiasts regularly invest time in developing additional schema markups that describe various web concepts on the Internet more accurately. Here are some of the schema markups that are under development and once they are approved, can bring new added value to your business:
NewsMediaOrganization, ReportageNewsArticle, AnalysisNewsArticle, OpinionNewsArticle, ReviewNewsArticle, BackgroundNewsArticle, AdvertiserContentArticle, SatiricalArticle, BroadcastEvent are absolutely some interesting schema markups to watch after. However, they are still in the pending phase and still wait to be implemented.
What schema markups are you using for your article-based business? Are you utilizing their power enough? Let’s talk about it together, Book a Demo with one of our SEO expert.
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