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13 Content Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

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13 Content Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Content marketing is hot today.

Look at the meteoric rise in interest over the past 20 years, according to Google Trends:

1-google-trends

Many small businesses have successfully grown using content marketing. Beardbrand, Luxy Hair, Lodge Cast Iron—the examples are endless. 

If you’re a small-business owner, you’re probably wondering if you should be using content marketing for your business too. 

In this post, I’ll run through some reasons why you should do content marketing, plus 13 ideas you can apply to your small business. 

Why should you do content marketing for your small business?

Here are three reasons why you should consider content marketing for your business.

1. Get more traffic

No matter what you sell, there are only so many people who are willing and able to buy at any given moment. 

So if you’re only targeting people who are directly searching for your product, your traffic will be limited. 

Take, for example, our own toolset. We have five main tools:

2-ahrefs-tools

Altogether, these pages account for ~10,000 monthly visits, which is only around 1% of our total search traffic.

3-ahrefs-tools-traffic

If we had simply relied on those five pages, our business wouldn’t have grown. 

Instead, we’ve created hundreds of pieces of content that now rank on Google for more than 140,000 keywords and generate more than 930,000 search visits per month. 

4-ahrefs-organic-traffic

This is how we’ve grown our company to eight figures in annual recurring revenue (ARR).

2. Improve brand awareness

As we’ve established, most people don’t look for products and services directly. Instead, they look for solutions to problems or answers to questions. 

So, when you create content around these problems or questions, you can use this opportunity to introduce your brand to your potential customers. A prospect knowing your brand means you’re at least one step closer to turning them into customers.

Here’s an example. Billy Blogger started a blog and is frustrated at how his blog traffic isn’t increasing. So he searches for “how to increase my blog traffic” on Google and discovers our article.

From there, he learns that one method to get more traffic is to write about topics with search traffic potential. He also discovers that he can use our free tools to do that. 

With just one article, we’ve turned Billy Blogger from someone who didn’t know we existed to someone who now knows our brand. Repeat that at scale, and you can see how content marketing works to improve brand awareness. 

3. Reduce your marketing costs

Content marketing can be cheaper over the long term. 

Take again, for example, the Ahrefs blog, which receives around 260,000 search visits per month. If we had to acquire all of that traffic from Google Ads, we would have to pay an estimated $355,000 per month or $4.2 million per year. 

5-ahrefs-blog-traffic

Considering that our content marketing team isn’t paid $4 million in annual salaries, we can say that content marketing is cheaper over the long term. 

Recommended reading:Why Is Content Marketing Important? 5 Reasons

13 content marketing ideas for small businesses

Convinced that you should be doing content marketing? Here are some ideas you can consider implementing.

1. Answer questions people are searching for

We’ve established this earlier: Potential customers don’t search for your products directly, but for questions they want answered. 

So your goal is to figure out what these questions are and create content that matches them. 

How do you find these questions?

The easiest way is to enter a relevant keyword into our free keyword generator tool and switch the tab to Questions.

6-keyword-ideas

If you’d like to see more questions, then you can use a professional keyword tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

  1. Enter a relevant keyword into Keywords Explorer
  2. Go to the Matching terms report
  3. Switch the tab to Questions
7-questions

As you can see, there are over 260,000 potential questions you can create content for. If you want to narrow the list further, set the Keyword Difficulty (KD) filter to a maximum of 10. 

8-low-kd-questions

Eyeball the report and pick out those most relevant to your business. 

2. Create a statistics page

Journalists and bloggers are always looking for data to back up their claims. This is why businesses and websites publish data studies and original research—their goal is to get mentions and links from these authoritative websites. 

But as a small business, it can be difficult for you to publish original research. There is one way around it, and that is to curate data. 

That’s what we did when we published our post on SEO statistics. To date, it has accumulated a total of 2,700 backlinks from 1,300 unique websites:

9-seo-statistics-stats

It also ranks #1 for the keyword “SEO statistics”:

10-seo-statistics-serps

Learn how we created this page and built links to it in this video series:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTF6OBwidhc&list=PLvJ_dXFSpd2u_ABxIRO6RVK3ucKyzn96Y&ab_channel=Ahrefs

3. Write for other sites in your industry

There are important topics or questions you want to rank high on Google for. But some of these can be very competitive. As a small business, it can be difficult for you to compete, especially when it seems like other sites have endless budgets. 

But there’s one way around it: take advantage of these sites’ authority to rank. 

How? Most big sites are constantly looking for great content to publish. So use that opportunity to create a guest post for them and rank that page for the keyword you’re targeting. 

Here’s an example. A few years back, I wrote a guest post for SmartBlogger. Even though it’s been some time, that post still ranks #5 for the keyword “niche website” and generates around 250 monthly search visits:

11-niche-website-traffic

Since that post promotes our tools, we’re basically introducing our brand to more new people. 

12-smart-blogger-guest-post

Here’s how to find sites that you can potentially “guest post” for:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Content Explorer
  2. Search for your topic

For example, if we search for “keto diet,” you’ll see around 3 million pages you can target. 

13-keto-diet-content-explorer

But that’s too many pages to look through, so let’s set a few more filters to narrow down the results:

  • Website traffic: 500+
  • Words: 500+
  • Language: English
  • One page per domain – Checked
  • Exclude homepages – Checked
  • Exclude subdomains – Checked
  • Live & Broken – Only live
  • Filter explicit results – On
14-content-explorer

This reduces the number of pages to ~21,000. Since you’re looking for authoritative sites to “piggyback” on, you can also set a Domain Rating (DR) filter for sites with a DR of >60.

15-content-exploerr-results

Evidently, 4,000 pages is a much more manageable list. Go through the list and pick out those sites that are likely to accept your guest post pitch.

Then find the website owner’s or editor’s email, reach out, and pitch your topics to them. (Remember, it should be those you want to rank for!)

Recommended reading: Guest Blogging for SEO: How to Build High-Quality Links at Scale

4. Rewrite or update outdated content on other websites

Riffing on the same idea: What if, instead of pitching an entirely new guest post, you pitch to rewrite or update an older piece of content on other websites? 

Not only can you rewrite the article to naturally include your product (with permission from the editors, of course), you can “piggyback” on these sites to rank for the keywords you want. 

Our chief marketing officer, Tim Soulo, suggested this some time back:

Here’s how you can find authoritative sites that have outdated content you can offer to update:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Content Explorer
  2. Search for a relevant topic
  3. Check Exclude homepages
  4. Check Exclude subdomains
  5. Toggle Filter explicit results
  6. Set the Language filter to English (or the language you write in)
  7. Set the Published filter to an outdated period (e.g., 2010 — 2015)
  8. Set the DR filter to something high, like 50
16-content-explorer

Look through the list and see if there are any articles you can offer to rewrite. Find the website owner’s or editor’s email, reach out, and pitch to them.

5. Update your content

As you’re updating or rewriting content for other websites, don’t forget to do that for your own too. 

Some of your content may not rank the first time, and that’s perfectly fine. Simply rewrite and try again. 

The easiest way to figure out which of your content needs rewriting is to use our free WordPress SEO plugin.

Then follow the guide below to learn the best way to republish your content.

Recommended reading: Republishing Content: How to Update Old Blog Posts for SEO

6. Partner with influencers to create content around your brand

Check out this video: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSaZRXaLxBE&ab_channel=Wah%21Banana

It may look like a comedy sketch, but it’s actually a clever skit designed to promote a video projector. 

Content marketing doesn’t always mean creating your own content. You can also partner with others, such as influencers, to create content for your brand too. 

From YouTube to Instagram, TikTok to Twitter, there are many ways you can partner up with influencers to create content. For example, a restaurant that invites influencers for a tasting session can get itself featured in a review.

17-sponsored-post

If mega influencers are out of your reach, don’t worry. You can always work with nano or micro influencers to reach more people at lower costs. 

Recommended reading: Influencer Marketing: Definition, Examples, and Tactics

7. Promote your content

You can’t create content and expect people to magically find them. It doesn’t work that way. Instead, you have to put it in front of your target audience. You have to promote it. 

Here’s what we do every time we publish a new piece of content: 

  1. Share it on all our social channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  2. Include it in our weekly Ahrefs’ Digest newsletter
  3. Get each individual author to share and/or create a Twitter thread about it 
  4. Run ads (Facebook, Quora, etc)

You’ll have to do at least this much to get your content out there—or if you’re a small site, even more. I recommend following this checklist, which includes content promotion tactics to help you get the word out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoVYweKH4ck&feature=emb_title&ab_channel=Ahrefs

8. Create a comparison page

Like it or not, your customers will compare. After all, they’ll always want the biggest bang for their buck. 

So what you can do is to create a “versus” page where you compare the pros and cons between your business and a competitor’s.

How do you know who your customers are comparing you with? Here’s how to find out:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter your brand name
  3. Go to the Matching terms report
  4. Under the Terms menu, choose “vs” (or some other term that signifies comparison)
18-vs-keywords

For example, if we’re ConvertKit, we can see that people are comparing us with other email marketing services like MailChimp, Flodesk, ActiveCampaign, and more. 

From here, you can choose to create one page each for every comparison. That means you’ll have a page for “convertkit vs mailchimp,” another for “flodesk vs convertkit,” and so on. 

While that’s the most common way to do it, it’s not the only way. At Ahrefs, we decided to go counter-intuitive and create one page for all our comparisons.

19-ahrefs-vs-page

So far, it’s been working for us, and we’re ranking for most of the comparison-related queries:

20-vs-page-keywords

One page or many—the choice is up to you. 

9. Interview industry experts

No matter how familiar you are with your industry, it’s almost impossible to know and understand every inch of your niche. 

Here’s an example: We wanted to tackle the topic “Google penalties” on our blog. But we are fortunate enough to have never encountered a Google manual action. So even though we have SEO experts on our team, that makes us “unqualified” to talk about the topic. 

So we reached out and interviewed experts: 

21-google-penalties-experts

We have done this a number of times—for our posts on SEO consultants, SEO job descriptions, and more. You should do the same too.

Not only does this help you cover topics that you may not know much about, but you’ll also be in a better position to improve your website’s expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E‑A-T)—which are important for ranking higher on Google. 

Recommended reading: What Is EAT? Why It’s Important for SEO

10. Target seasonal events

Events like Valentine’s Day, Black Friday, Singles’ Day, and Christmas are when people are more than happy to splurge. Creating content around these events can generate awareness for your business—and potentially capture these trigger-happy customers who will spend on your products. 

Here’s how to find seasonal topics to create content around:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter a few relevant keywords
  3. Go to the Matching terms report
  4. In the Include box, enter a few holiday keywords (e.g., Black Friday, Father’s Day) and choose Any word.
22-seasonal-keywords

From here, eyeball the list for relevant topics you can target, then create content that ranks for them.

Recommended viewing: Holiday SEO Tips to Maximize Organic Traffic

11. See what people are discussing on Reddit

Known as the “front page of the internet,” Reddit is a huge community with 430 million users. The beauty of Reddit is that it is neatly split into multiple sub-communities—known as subreddits—that span a variety of interests. 

That means that a community about your niche is likely on Reddit. If you can find out what people in your community are discussing, you can create content around those topics too. 

For example, let’s assume you run a site about the keto diet. If you browse through the subreddit r/keto, you’ll find a couple of cool topics you can write about. 

23-reddit-keto
24-reddit-keto

Here’s something even better: take these topics and enter them into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer to see if they have search traffic potential. 

25-vegetarian-keto-recipes-traffic-potential

Then create content that ranks for them. 

12. Create a glossary

If your industry has a lot of specific and difficult terminologies, you can consider creating a glossary that defines and demystifies them. 

For example, the SEO industry has a lot of terms that people outside the industry may not fully grasp. That’s why we recently published a glossary of SEO terms that people should know. 

26-seo-glossary

Since we published that post, its traffic has been gradually increasing:

27-seo-glossary-traffic

Ideally, your glossary should internally link to your own posts about those topics—just like what Wikipedia does. So if you don’t have those posts, it’s time to start creating. 

As you can see, the best part about creating a glossary is that it basically lists out all the topics you need to cover. With a glossary, your content calendar is practically set for the next year and beyond. 

13. Use Google Trends to find “out of the box” keyword ideas

Google Trends is a great way to discover topics that are trending in your industry. You can cover these topics before other sites do. To do that, simply search for a relevant keyword and scroll to the Related queries section.

For example, if we own a gym, we can search for “weight loss”:

28-google-trends

Scrolling through the list gives us a couple of good ideas we can target, such as “mike pompeo weight loss” and “alec baldwin weight loss.” 

We can take the idea further. If you notice, most of the trending terms are related to X celebrity/famous person. 

Extrapolating this further, we can assume that beyond the current group of famous people seen on Google Trends, searchers are also looking for other famous people’s weight loss regimes. 

So here’s what we’ll do:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer
  2. Search for the same term (e.g., “weight loss”)
  3. Set a Word count filter to four words (the length of a person’s name in the Western world + weight loss. If you’re targeting other countries, such as South Korea, you may want to extend it to five words).
29-keywords-explorer

Lo and behold. You’ll see around 150,000 keywords, most of them about a particular celebrity’s weight loss regime. They’re not of crazy difficulty either. These are all great topics to target. 

Final thoughts

The ideas above are a great way to kickstart your content marketing. But if you want to execute content marketing successfully as a marketing channel, you’ll need to have a strategy. 

So before you execute any of the above tactics, I recommend following the guide here to create your own content strategy. 

Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter.




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SEO

What Is Schema Markup & Why Is It Important For SEO?

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What Is Schema Markup & Why Is It Important For SEO?

Schema.org is a collection of vocabulary (or schemas) used to apply structured data markup to web pages and content. Correctly applying schema can improve SEO outcomes through rich snippets.

Structured data markup is translated by platforms such as Google and Microsoft to provide enhanced rich results (or rich snippets) in search engine results pages or emails. For example, you can markup your ecommerce product pages with variants schema to help Google understand product variations.

Schema.org is an independent project that has helped establish structured data consistency across the internet. It began collaborating with search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex back in 2011.

The Schema vocabulary can be applied to pages through encodings such as RDFa, Microdata, and JSON-LD. JSON-LD schema is preferred by Google as it is the easiest to apply and maintain.

Schema is not a ranking factor.

However, your webpage becomes eligible for rich snippets in SERPs only when you use schema markup. This can enhance your search visibility and increase CTR on your webpage from search results.

Schema can also be used to build a knowledge graph of entities and topics. Using semantic markup in this way aligns your website with how AI algorithms categorize entities, assisting search engines in understanding your website and content.

This means that search engines should have additional information to help them figure out what the webpage is about.

You can even link your entities directly to sites like Wikipedia or Google’s knowledge graph to build explicit connections. Using Schema this way can have positive SEO results, according to Martha van Berkel, CEO of Schema App:

By helping search engines understand content, you are assisting them in saving resources (especially important when you have a large website with millions of pages) and increasing the chances for your content to be interpreted properly and ranked well. While this may not be a ranking factor directly, Schema helps your SEO efforts by giving search engines the best chance of interpreting your content correctly, giving users the best chance of discovering it.

Listed above are some of the most popular uses of schema, which are supported by Google and other search engines.

You may have an object type that has a schema.org definition but is not supported by search engines.

In such cases, it is advised to implement them, as search engines may start supporting them in the future, and you may benefit from them as you already have that implementation.

Google recommends JSON-LD as the preferred format for structured data. Microdata is still supported, but JSON-LD schema is recommended.

In certain circumstances, it isn’t possible to implement JSON-LD schema due to website technical infrastructure limitations such as old content management systems). In these cases, the only option is to markup HTML via Microdata or RDFa.

You can now mix JSON-LD and Microdata formats by matching the @id attribute of JSON-LD schema with the itemid attribute of Microdata schema. This approach helps reduce the HTML size of your pages.

For example, in a FAQ section with extensive text, you can use Microdata for the content and JSON-LD for the structured data without duplicating the text, thus avoiding an increase in page size. We will dive deeper into this below in the article when discussing each type in detail.

JSON-LD encodes data using JSON, making it easy to integrate structured data into web pages. JSON-LD allows connecting different schema types using a graph with @ids, improving data integration and reducing redundancy.

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say that you own a store that sells high-quality routers. If you were to look at the source code of your homepage, you would likely see something like this:

Once you dive into the code, you’ll want to find the portion of your webpage that discusses what your business offers. In this example, that data can be found between the two

tags.

The following JSON-LD formatted text will markup the information within that HTML fragment on your webpage, which you may want to include in your webpage’s

section.



This snippet of code defines your business as a store via the attribute"@type": "Store".

Then, it details its location, contact information, hours of operation from Monday to Saturday, and different operational hours for Sunday.

By structuring your webpage data this way, you provide critical information directly to search engines, which can improve how they index and display your site in search results. Just like adding tags in the initial HTML, inserting this JSON-LD script tells search engines specific aspects of your business.

Let’s review another example of WebPage schema connected with Organization and Author schemas via @id. JSON-LD is the format Google recommends and other search engines because it’s extremely flexible, and this is a great example.



In the example:

  • Website links to the organization as the publisher with @id.
  • The organization is described with detailed properties.
  • WebPage links to the WebSite with isPartOf.
  • NewsArticle links to the WebPage with isPartOf, and back to the WebPage with mainEntityOfPage, and includes the author property via @id.

You can see how graph nodes are linked to each other using the"@id"attribute. This way, we inform Google that it is a webpage published by the publisher described in the schema.

The use of hashes (#) for IDs is optional. You should only ensure that different schema types don’t have the same ID by accident. Adding custom hashes (#) can be helpful, as it provides an extra layer of insurance that they will not be repeated.

You may wonder why we use"@id"to connect graph nodes. Can’t we just drop organization, author, and webpage schemas separately on the same page, and it is intuitive that those are connected?

The issue is that Google and other search engines cannot reliably interpret these connections unless explicitly linked using @id.

Adding to the graph additional schema types is as easy as constructing Lego bricks. Say we want to add an image to the schema:

{
   "@type": "ImageObject",
   "@id": "https://www.example.com/#post-image",
   "url": "https://www.example.com/example.png",
   "contentUrl": "https://www.example.com/example.png",
   "width": 2160,
   "height": 1215,
   "thumbnail": [
     {
        "@type": "ImageObject",
        "url": "https://example.com/4x3/photo.jpg",
        "width": 1620,
        "height": 1215
      },
      {
        "@type": "ImageObject",
        "url": "https://example.com/16x9/photo.jpg",
        "width": 1440,
        "height": 810
      },
      {
        "@type": "ImageObject",
        "url": "https://example.com/1x1/photo.jpg",
        "width": 1000,
        "height": 1000
      }
    ]
}

As you already know from the NewsArticle schema, you need to add it to the above schema graph as a parent node and link via @id.

As you do that, it will have this structure:



Quite easy, isn’t it? Now that you understand the main principle, you can build your own schema based on the content you have on your website.

And since we live in the age of AI, you may also want to use ChatGPT or other chatbots to help you build any schema you want.

2. Microdata Schema Format

Microdata is a set of tags that aims to make annotating HTML elements with machine-readable tags much easier.

However, the one downside to using Microdata is that you have to mark every individual item within the body of your webpage. As you can imagine, this can quickly get messy.

Take a look at this sample HTML code, which corresponds to the above JSON schema with NewsArticle:

Our Company

Example Company, also known as Example Co., is a leading innovator in the tech industry.

Founded in 2000, we have grown to a team of 200 dedicated employees.

Our slogan is: "Innovation at its best".

Contact us at +1-800-555-1212 for customer service.

Our Founder

Our founder, Jane Smith, is a pioneer in the tech industry.

Connect with Jane on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Us

This is the About Us page for Example Company.

Example News Headline

This is an example news article.

This is the full content of the example news article. It provides detailed information about the news event or topic covered in the article.

Author: John Doe. Connect with John on Twitter and LinkedIn.

If we convert the above JSON-LD schema into Microdata format, it will look like this:

Our Company

Example Company, also known as Example Co., is a leading innovator in the tech industry.

Founded in 2000-01-01, we have grown to a team of 200 dedicated employees.

Our slogan is: Innovation at its best.

Contact us at +1-800-555-1212 for Customer Service.

Example Company Logo

Connect with us on: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Our Founder

Our founder, Jane Smith, is a pioneer in the tech industry.

Connect with Jane on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Us

This is the About Us page for Example Company.

Example News Headline

This is an example news article.

This is the full content of the example news article. It provides detailed information about the news event or topic covered in the article.

Author:

Example image

This example shows how complicated it becomes compared to JSON-LD since the markup is spread over HTML. Let’s understand what is in the markup.

You can see

tags like:


By adding this tag, we’re stating that the HTML code contained between the

blocks identifies a specific item.

Next, we have to identify what that item is by using the ‘itemtype’ attribute to identify the type of item (Person).


An item type comes in the form of a URL (such as https://schema.org/Person). Let’s say, for example, you have a product you may use http://schema.org/Product.

To make things easier, you can browse a list of item types here and view extensions to identify the specific entity you’re looking for. Keep in mind that this list is not all-encompassing but only includes ones that are supported by Google, so there is a possibility that you won’t find the item type for your specific niche.

It may look complicated, but Schema.org provides examples of how to use the different item types so you can see what the code is supposed to do.

Don’t worry; you won’t be left out in the cold trying to figure this out on your own!

If you’re still feeling a little intimidated by the code, Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper makes it super easy to tag your webpages.

To use this amazing tool, just select your item type, paste in the URL of the target page or the content you want to target, and then highlight the different elements so that you can tag them.

3. RDFa Schema Format

RDFa is an acronym for Resource Description Framework in Attributes. Essentially, RDFa is an extension to HTML5 designed to aid users in marking up structured data.

RDFa isn’t much different from Microdata. RDFa tags incorporate the preexisting HTML code in the body of your webpage. For familiarity, we’ll look at the same code above.

The HTML for the same JSON-LD news article will look like:

vocab="https://schema.org/" typeof="WebSite" resource="https://www.example.com/#website">

Our Company

Example Company, also known as Example Co., is a leading innovator in the tech industry.

Founded in 2000-01-01, we have grown to a team of 200 dedicated employees.

Our slogan is: Innovation at its best.

Contact us at +1-800-555-1212 for Customer Service.

https://www.example.com Example Company Logo

Connect with us on: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Our Founder

Our founder, Jane Smith, is a pioneer in the tech industry.

Connect with Jane on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Us

This is the About Us page for Example Company.

https://www.example.com/about

Example News Headline

This is an example news article.

This is the full content of the example news article. It provides detailed information about the news event or topic covered in the article.

Author: John Doe Profile Twitter LinkedIn

Example image

Unlike Microdata, which uses a URL to identify types, RDFa uses one or more words to classify types.

vocab=”http://schema.org/” typeof=”WebPage”>

If you wish to identify a property further, use the ‘typeof’ attribute.

Let’s compare JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa side by side. The @type attribute of JSON-LD is equivalent to the itemtype attribute of Microdata format and the typeof attribute in RDFa. Furthermore, the propertyName of JSON-LD attribute would be the equivalent of the itemprop and property attributes.

Attribute Name JSON-LD Microdata RDFa
Type @type itemtype typeof
ID @id itemid resource
Property propertyName itemprop property
Name name itemprop=”name” property=”name”
Description description itemprop=”description” property=”description”

For further explanation, you can visit Schema.org to check lists and view examples. You can find which kinds of elements are defined as properties and which are defined as types.

To help, every page on Schema.org provides examples of how to apply tags properly. Of course, you can also fall back on Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

4. Mixing Different Formats Of Structured Data With JSON-LD

If you use JSON-LD schema but certain parts of pages aren’t compatible with it, you can mix schema formats by linking them via @id.

For example, if you have live blogging on the website and a JSON-LD schema, including all live blogging items in the JSON schema would mean having the same content twice on the page, which may increase HTML size and affect First Contentful Paint and Largest Contentful Paint page speed metrics.

You can solve this either by generating JSON-LD dynamically with JavaScript when the page loads or by marking up HTML tags of live blogging via the Microdata format, then linking to your JSON-LD schema in the head section via “@id“.

Here is an example of how to do it.

Say we have this HTML with Microdata markup with itemid="https://www.example.com/live-blog-page/#live-blog"

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We can link to it from the sample JSON-LD example we had like this:



If you copy and paste HTML and JSON examples underneath in the schema validator tool, you will see that they are validating properly.

The schema validator does validate the above example.The schema validator does validate the above example.

The SEO Impact Of Structured Data

This article explored the different schema encoding types and all the nuances regarding structured data implementation.

Schema is much easier to apply than it seems, and it’s a best practice you must incorporate into your webpages. While you won’t receive a direct boost in your SEO rankings for implementing Schema, it can:

  • Make your pages eligible to appear in rich results.
  • Ensure your pages get seen by the right users more often.
  • Avoid confusion and ambiguity.

The work may seem tedious. However, given time and effort, properly implementing Schema markup is good for your website and can lead to better user journeys through the accuracy of information you’re supplying to search engines.


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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
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Chuck Price

Founder at Measurable SEO

Looking for a Content Marketing Solution to Increase Traffic and Revenue? I’m the founder of Measurable SEO and former COO ...

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Gen Z Ditches Google, Turns To Reddit For Product Searches

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In this photo illustration, the Reddit logo is displayed on a smartphone screen.

A new report from Reddit, in collaboration with GWI and AmbassCo, sheds light on the evolving search behaviors of Generation Z consumers.

The study surveyed over 3,000 internet users across the UK, US, and Germany, highlighting significant changes in how young people discover and research products online.

Here’s an overview of key findings and the implications for marketers.

Decline In Traditional Search

The study found that Gen Z uses search engines to find new brands and products less often.

That’s because they shop online differently. They’re less interested in looking for expert reviews or spending much time searching for products.

There are also frustrations with mobile-friendliness and complex interfaces on traditional search platforms.

Because of this, traditional SEO strategies might not work well for reaching younger customers.

Takeaway

Companies trying to reach Gen Z might need to try new methods instead of just focusing on being visible on Google and other search engines.

Rise Of Social Media Discovery

Screenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Gen Z is increasingly using social media to find new brands and products.

The study shows that Gen Z has used social media for product discovery 36% more frequently since 2018.

This change is affecting how young people shop online. Instead of searching for products, they expect brands to appear in their social media feeds.

1719123963 547 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Because of this, companies trying to reach young customers need to pay more attention to how they present themselves on social media.

Takeaway

To succeed at marketing to Gen Z, businesses will likely need to focus on two main things:

  1. Ensure that your content appears more often in social media feeds.
  2. Create posts people want to share and interact with.

Trust Issues With Influencer Marketing

Even though more people are finding products through social media, the report shows that Gen Z is less likely to trust what social media influencers recommend.

These young shoppers often don’t believe in posts that influencers are paid to make or products they promote.

Instead, they prefer to get information from sources that feel more real and are driven by regular people in online communities.

Takeaway

Because of this lack of trust, companies must focus on being genuine and building trust when they try to get their websites to appear in search results or create ads.

Some good ways to connect with these young consumers might be to use content created by regular users, encourage honest product reviews, and create authentic conversations within online communities.

Challenges With Current Search Experiences

The research shows that many people are unhappy with how search engines work right now.

More than 60% of those surveyed want search results to be more trustworthy. Almost half of users don’t like looking through many search result pages.

Gen Z is particularly bothered by inaccurate information and unreliable reviews.

1719123963 785 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Takeaway

Given the frustration with search quality, marketers should prioritize creating accurate, trustworthy content.

This can help build brand credibility, leading to more direct visits.

Reddit: A Trusted Alternative

The report suggests that Gen Z trusts Reddit when looking up products—it’s their third most trusted source, after friends and family and review websites.

1719123963 403 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Young users like Reddit because it’s community-based and provides specific answers to users’ questions, making it feel more real.

It’s worth noting that this report comes from Reddit itself, which probably influenced why it’s suggesting its own platform.

Takeaway

Companies should focus more on being part of smaller, specific online groups frequented by Gen Z.

That could include Reddit or any other forum.

Why SEJ Cares

As young people change how they look for information online, this study gives businesses important clues about connecting with future customers.

Here’s what to remember:

  • Traditional search engine use is declining among Gen Z.
  • Social media is increasingly vital for product discovery.
  • There’s growing skepticism towards influencer marketing.
  • Current search experiences often fail to meet user expectations.
  • Community-based platforms like Reddit are gaining trust.

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Google Clarifies Organization Merchant Returns Structured Data

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Google updates organization structured data for merchant returns

Google quietly updated their organization structured data documentation in order to clarify two points about merchant returns in response to feedback about an ambiguity in the previous version.

Organization Structured Data and Merchant Returns

Google recently expanded their Organization structured data so that it could now accommodate a merchant return policy. The change added support for adding a sitewide merchant return policy.

The original reason for adding this support:

“Adding support for Organization-level return policies

What: Added documentation on how to specify a general return policy for an Organization as a whole.

Why: This makes it easier to define and maintain general return policies for an entire site.”

However that change left unanswered about what will happen if a site has a sitewide return policy but also has a different policy for individual products.

The clarification applies for the specific scenario of when a site uses both a sitewide return policy in their structured data and another one for specific products.

What Takes Precedence?

What happens if a merchant uses both a sitewide and product return structured data? Google’s new documentation states that Google will ignore the sitewide product return policy in favor of a more granular product-level policy in the structured data.

The clarification states:

“If you choose to provide both organization-level and product-level return policy markup, Google defaults to the product-level return policy markup.”

Change Reflected Elsewhere

Google also updated the documentation to reflect the scenario of the use of two levels of merchant return policies in another section that discusses whether structured data or merchant feed data takes precedence. There is no change to the policy, merchant center data still takes precedence.

This is the old documentation:

“If you choose to use both markup and settings in Merchant Center, Google will only use the information provided in Merchant Center for any products submitted in your Merchant Center product feeds, including automated feeds.”

This is the same section but updated with additional wording:

“If you choose to use both markup (whether at the organization-level or product-level, or both) and settings in Merchant Center, Google will only use the information provided in Merchant Center for any products submitted in your Merchant Center product feeds, including automated feeds.”

Read the newly updated Organization structured data documentation:

Organization (Organization) structured data – MerchantReturnPolicy

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