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How To Get More Followers On Instagram: 22 Tips To Try

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How To Get More Followers On Instagram: 22 Tips To Try

Are you looking to get more followers on Instagram, but don’t know where to start?

There are many ways to increase your followers on Instagram – some people buy them or boost posts, but these tactics only work temporarily, and can backfire over time.

Instagram has become the go-to social media network for sharing photos and videos with more than 2 billion active users today.

As a result, Instagram marketing and having a high follower count can boost exposure and visibility for businesses looking to reach their target audience.

Here are 22 strategies to get more followers on Instagram without breaking the bank. From increasing likes to posting high-quality images, all of these tips are tried and tested:

1. Have A Plan & Create A Content Calendar Full Of Great Ideas

We usually focus on ideas, delivery, and optimization when we create great content.

It should be no different when we share photos and videos on a business or brand’s Instagram account.

It’s important to take time to brainstorm engaging content ideas that align with seasons, holidays, your business’ upcoming events, and (most importantly) your overall traffic and sales goals.

Although, you can still be flexible and post spontaneously as ideas come to you.

But having a library of ideas and a (tentative) schedule will keep you ahead of the game instead of scrambling for something to post.

And depending on your business, you could post several times a day or several times a week.

So, make an Instagram content plan and stick to it.

2. Only Post Well-Composed Images & Videos

Businesses should only use high-quality photos and videos when posting to Instagram.

By high-quality (I mean crystal-clear) unpixellated shots. Instagram, above all else, is a visual platform.

Businesses can’t post blurry photos or images that have part of the image cut off.

Of course, it doesn’t need to be to a National Geographic standard. It just needs to be in focus.

Low-quality content won’t get engagement and might even cost you some followers.

3. Experiment With Different Filters & Dimensions

Just because you’re a business doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with filters and use different dimensions.

In fact, you should use filters on your content.

The more creative and original your photos are, the more likely people will share and follow your account.

You could also download photo editing apps to touch up your photos.

When it comes to dimensions, don’t feel relegated to the square – use the landscape and portrait options.

4. Use Instagram Analytics To Feed Your Persona Research

With an Instagram business account (which is free), you’ll have access to analytics that shows when your audience is most active.

Use that data to optimize your posting schedule.

Instagram also gives you insights into your audience’s age, gender, and location breakdown, which can be a starting point for your customer persona research.

5. Tag People In Your Photos Who Interact With Your Brand

Another way to be discovered by people who aren’t following you is to tag relevant accounts so that you show up in their tagged feed.

If you own a fitness studio, you could take a group shot after a Body Pump class and tag every person in the photo. Then it’ll populate all their tagged feeds.

Their followers will see the post and discover your studio.

But this strategy also applies to other brand and business accounts.

If you can share the spotlight and tag others, do so. It’ll circle back to bring you more Instagram followers and leads.

6. Optimize Your Instagram Bio With Branded Hashtags & CTAs

Your Insta bio should be used to feature branded hashtags, a link, and a call-to-action, which is crucial when looking for new Instagram users.

This section lets users discover who you or your brand are and whether they will follow you.

But don’t sound desperate or come across as spammy.

You want to let users know who you are and why they should follow you.

Make sure this section is updated when needed.

7. Ask Questions In Your Posts & Include CTAs

At the end of each post, include a clear call-to-action or a question to boost engagement.

CTAs include things like:

  • Learn more – link in bio!
  • Double tap if you want to see more videos like this!
  • Follow us so you’ll never miss an update.

You can also post questions. This will help keep your audience engaged, show that you care what your audience wants to see, and give your ideas for what to post in the future.

8. Add A Link To Instagram To Your Website & Email

Make sure existing clients and customers find your Instagram by adding an icon to your social links or embedding Instagram content on your site.

You can also link to your brand’s Instagram account from your email signature.

And use a plugin to feed your latest Instagram posts directly to your website.

This can be a great way to promote your new account to people who regularly visit your site, building your following of clients.

9. Cross-Post Your Instagram Content to Facebook & Twitter

Cross-posting Instagram content to Facebook and Twitter can drive users back to your Instagram profile.

Users who didn’t know you’re on Instagram and following you on other platforms will also discover that you’re on Instagram since the post will note it was shared from Instagram.

You can adjust your settings for every post to cross-post automatically, or you can do it manually for select posts.

10. Run Contests & Campaigns To Increase Brand Reach

Once you’ve started growing a follower base, you can hold contests and campaigns that can attract more users to your page.

For example, you can drive traffic to your website or sell your product by running an inspiring Instagram contest.

You can either ask users to like, comment, use a specific hashtag, or ask your followers to tag a friend.

When you ask users to tag a friend, it exposes your brand and page to more Instagram users online.

It is an effective way to increase your brand awareness and reach and a key hack to get more Instagram followers.

11. Look At What Your Competitors Are Doing

Another best practice for how to get followers on Instagram is to look at what your competitors are doing and learn from it.

Researching their accounts might reveal hashtags you didn’t think of, influencers you have yet to reach out to, or other strategies that can inform your own.

Also, note which of their posts are performing the best – that can serve as another clue as to what can work on your account.

12. Interact Across Instagram (Follow, Like & Comment On Other Posts)

Strategically engage with users who will potentially like your profile.

Practically, that means interacting with potential customers and brand allies by liking, following, and thoughtfully commenting on their posts.

Start with your hashtags: Click on your frequently used, relevant hashtags to discover others posting similar content.

Another good practice is interacting with those who are already following you. You should follow them back and like their content.

The more you engage, the more you’ll show up in others’ feeds and get noticed.

Plus, it shows you’re an authentic, real account who believes in reciprocity!

13. Don’t Use Too Much Text In Your Photos

In general, you want to save the words for your captions. People go to Instagram for visual content.

So, posting a lot of text in an image is outside the norm.

A short, positive quote or statement is excellent but only attempts to fit a partial product description or long message in the image.

If you’re looking for ways to add text to photos, Canva is a free tool that comes in handy.

14. Never Include Logos & Watermarks On Your Images

Stamping your logo onto your Instagram post disrupts your content and users’ experience.

People don’t expect to see logos or watermarks on Instagram posts. While it’s not advised to put a logo on your content, you can include branding.

For example, if you’re a B2B company posting a behind-the-scenes shot of your employees, have them wear shirts with your logo.

Or, if you’re a fashion retailer, you could occasionally include a strategically placed bag in a photo with your store’s name.

Keep it subtle, or you’ll risk being unfollowed.

15. Use The Right Hashtags To Capture New Audiences

Using hashtags on Instagram will get you in front of new audiences searching for the type of content you’re posting, whether they’re following you or not.

If you have a local business, make sure to include local hashtags, as well.

Take the time to research hashtags and find the best ones for your particular content.

It’s easy to identify which hashtags get the most traction.

When you start typing # and your word, Instagram shows how many posts have been done around that word.

Hashtagify.me is also an excellent tool for finding hashtags that are getting much traction.

You can type in your primary hashtag, which will show you its reach, related hashtags and their reach, all the hashtags related to those, and so on.

How Many Hashtags Should I Add To An Instagram Post?

It’s common to stick to five to seven to avoid looking spammy. But you can add up to 30 hashtags.

Where Should I Add The Hashtags On An Instagram Post?

You can add them directly to the post or in a separate comment immediately after posting – it’s an aesthetic choice.

Some users prefer to add single periods separated by line breaks after their caption and then add hashtags.

Whatever you choose to do is fine, but keep it consistent across posts, so you have a streamlined, professional look.

16. Use Geotags To Reach Local Audiences

Another way to get found in by users who aren’t already following you is to geotag your content – but not necessarily with your store location.

Try using your city or a nearby (relevant) landmark that gets many searches.

When people are searching for that nearby location, they can now come across your content.

If your content is doing exceptionally well, it can even be featured at the top of the search.

17. Only Add Links To Your Bio

Any link you include in an Instagram post will not turn into a clickable link – instead, it will just serve as an annoying and lousy experience as your audience tries (and fails) to open it.

Rather than including an unclickable link, direct people to click the link in your bio.

They can easily click that and head to your site to check out all you have to offer.

Be sure to put your link in the “link” section when you edit your bio, and mention that in your post.

And, because space is limited, use a link shortener like Bit.ly to save room.

You can optimize the link further by customizing it, so it’s not a random string of characters but a meaningful word or two.

18. Tag Products In Images & Videos To Drive Conversions

Take advantage of Instagram’s tagging feature if you’re selling a product.

Businesses can tag photos or videos with product links.

To use this feature, you must have a business page on Facebook complete with a product catalog.

It’s a great user experience for users, and it’s a huge win for businesses looking to drive conversions seamlessly.

19. Create A Branded Hashtag For Your Events

Create a branded hashtag for your next event.

It will give your brand exposure and curate a unique stream of all the content from your event and allow others to connect and engage with your brand and other people at the event.

Leading up to the event, you can use your branded hashtag to promote the event, and after the fact, you can use it to post follow-up content.

20. Repost When You Get Tagged To Showcase Positive Reviews

Whenever a user tags your business or brand, get extra traction from it by reposting it directly to your feed.

Showcasing positive reviews and mentions is a great use of Instagram for business.

Make sure to reach out to the user and thank them for their post and ask if you can have permission to repost it (Instagram’s terms of use note that you should obtain written permission to repost a user’s content).

Most likely, the user will agree.

You can repost manually or use an app like Repost for Instagram.

Either way, remember to credit the original poster in the caption and tag them in the photo.

21. Use Instagram Ads To Get In Front Of Your Audience

Consider devoting ad spend to promoting your Instagram profile.

You can create effective carousel ads through Facebook’s Power Editor and promote your content.

If you’re running a specific contest or marketing campaign, you can use Facebook advertising to push the content in front of more audiences.

With the ability to target your customers based on their interests and behaviors in Power Editor, you can ensure that your posts will be viewed by Instagram users who will be interested in your business.

While some of these strategies may work better than others, find the ones that work well with your business or yourself.

22. Get Your Account Verified 

Getting verified on Instagram (or any other social media platform) never hurts your engagement.

The little blue tick gives your brand credibility, trust, and authenticity.

While only some will qualify for Instagram verification, it’s something to strive for.

Getting verified is one more way to stand out from your competition and deliver a trust signal that your business is real.

To be considered, your account must be:

  • Authentic (you must prove you are, in fact, the brand or business you claim to be).
  • Unique (only one account per brand can exist).
  • Public.
  • Complete (with a bio, profile photo, and at least one post).
  • Notable (Instagram must deem your brand “well-known” and “highly searched for”).

Final Takeaways

If you want more followers on Instagram right now, take advantage of these tips.

Make sure you utilize Instagram analytics, research your hashtags, post high-quality images, and create engaging copy and CTA.

If you use these tips as a guide, you’ll set yourself up for success in meeting your Instagram goals.

More Resources:


Featured Image: SPF/Shutterstock

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The 6 Biggest SEO Challenges You’ll Face in 2024

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The 6 Biggest SEO Challenges You'll Face in 2024

Seen any stressed-out SEOs recently? If so, that’s because they’ve got their work cut out this year.

Between navigating Google’s never-ending algorithm updates, fighting off competitors, and getting buy-in for projects, there are many significant SEO challenges to consider.

So, which ones should you focus on? Here are the six biggest ones I think you should pay close attention to.

Make no mistake—Google’s algorithm updates can make or break your site.

Core updates, spam updates, helpful content updates—you name it, they can all impact your site’s performance.

As we can see below, the frequency of Google updates has increased in recent years, meaning that the likelihood of being impacted by a Google update has also increased.

How to deal with it:

Recovering from a Google update isn’t easy—and sometimes, websites that get hit by updates may never fully recover.

For the reasons outlined above, most businesses try to stay on the right side of Google and avoid incurring Google’s wrath.

SEOs do this by following Google’s Search Essentials, SEO best practices and avoiding risky black hat SEO tactics. But sadly, even if you think you’ve done this, there is no guarantee that you won’t get hit.

If you suspect a website has been impacted by a Google update, the fastest way to check is to plug the domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

Ahrefs Site Explorer screenshotAhrefs Site Explorer screenshot

Here’s an example of a website likely affected by Google’s August 2023 Core Update. The traffic drop started on the update’s start date.

Website impacted by Google's August 2023 Core UpdateWebsite impacted by Google's August 2023 Core Update
Hover over the G circles on the X axis to get information about each update.

From this screen, you can see if a drop in traffic correlates with a Google update. If there is a strong correlation, then that update may have hit the site. To remedy it, you will need to understand the update and take action accordingly.

Follow SEO best practices

It’s important your website follows SEO best practices so you can understand why it has been affected and determine what you need to do to fix things.

For example, you might have missed significant technical SEO issues impacting your website’s traffic. To rule this out, it’s worth using Site Audit to run a technical crawl of your website.

Site Audit screenshot, via Ahrefs Site AuditSite Audit screenshot, via Ahrefs Site Audit

Monitor the latest SEO news

In addition to following best practices, it’s a good idea to monitor the latest SEO news. You can do this through various social media channels like X or LinkedIn, but I find the two websites below to be some of the most reliable sources of SEO news.

Even if you escape Google’s updates unscathed, you’ve still got to deal with your competitors vying to steal your top-ranking keywords from right under your nose.

This may sound grim, but it’s a mistake to underestimate them. Most of the time, they’ll be trying to improve their website’s SEO just as much as you are.

And these days, your competitors will:

How to deal with it:

If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, you need to do these two things:

Spy on your competitors and monitor their strategy

Ok, so you don’t have to be James Bond, but by using a tool like Ahrefs Site Explorer and our Google Looker Studio Integration (GLS), you can extract valuable information and keep tabs on your competitors, giving you a competitive advantage in the SERPs.

Using a tool like Site Explorer, you can use the Organic Competitors report to understand the competitor landscape:

Organic competitors screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerOrganic competitors screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can check out their Organic traffic performance across the years:

Year on Year comparison of organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerYear on Year comparison of organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can use Calendar to see which days changes in Positions, Pages, Referring domains Backlinks occurred:

Screenshot of Ahrefs' Calendar, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerScreenshot of Ahrefs' Calendar, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can see their Top pages’ organic traffic and Organic keywords:

Top pages report, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerTop pages report, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

And much, much more.

If you want to monitor your most important competitors more closely, you can even create a dashboard using Ahrefs’ GLS integration.

Google Looker Studio integration screenshot,Google Looker Studio integration screenshot,

Acquire links and create content that your competitors can’t recreate easily

Once you’ve done enough spying, it’s time to take action.

Links and content are the bread and butter for many SEOs. But a lot of the time the links that are acquired and the content that is created just aren’t that great.

So, to stand the best chance of maintaining your rankings, you need to work on getting high-quality backlinks and producing high-quality content that your competitors can’t easily recreate.

It’s easy to say this, but what does it mean in practice?

The best way to create this type of content is to create deep content.

At Ahrefs, we do this by running surveys, getting quotes from industry experts, running data studies, creating unique illustrations or diagrams, and generally fine-tuning our content until it is the best it can be.

As if competing against your competitors wasn’t enough, you must also compete against Google for clicks.

As Google not-so-subtly transitions from a search engine to an answer engine, it’s becoming more common for it to supply the answer to search queries—rather than the search results themselves.

The result is that even the once top-performing organic search websites have a lower click-through rate (CTR) because they’re further down the page—or not on the first page.

Whether you like it or not, Google is reducing traffic to your website through two mechanisms:

  • AI overviews – Where Google generates an answer based on sources on the internet
  • Zero-click searches – Where Google shows the answer in the search results

With AI overviews, we can see that the traditional organic search results are not visible.

And with zero-click searches, Google supplies the answer directly in the SERP, so the user doesn’t have to click anything unless they want to know more.

Zero Click searches example, via Google.comZero Click searches example, via Google.com

These features have one thing in common: They are pushing the organic results further down the page.

With AI Overviews, even when links are included, Kevin Indig’s AI overviews traffic impact study suggests that AI overviews will reduce organic clicks.

In this example below, shared by Aleyda, we can see that even when you rank organically in the number one position, it doesn’t mean much if there are Ads and an AI overview with the UX with no links in the AI overview answer; it just perpetuates the zero-clicks model through the AI overview format.

How to deal with it:

You can’t control how Google changes the SERPs, but you can do two things:

Make your website the best it can be

If you focus on the latter, your website will naturally become more authoritative over time. This isn’t a guarantee that your website will be included in the AI overview, but it’s better than doing nothing.

Prevent Google from showing your website in an AI Overview

If you want to be excluded from Google’s AI Overviews, Google says you can add no snippet to prevent your content from appearing in AI Overviews.

nosnippet code explanation screemshot, via Google's documentationnosnippet code explanation screemshot, via Google's documentation

One of the reasons marketers gravitated towards Google in the early days was that it was relatively easy to set up a website and get traffic.

Recently, there have been a few high-profile examples of smaller websites that have been impacted by Google:

Apart from the algorithmic changes, I think there are two reasons for this:

  • Large authoritative websites with bigger budgets and SEO teams are more likely to rank well in today’s Google
  • User-generated content sites like Reddit and Quora have been given huge traffic boosts from Google, which has displaced smaller sites from the SERPs that used to rank for these types of keyword queries

Here’s Reddit’s traffic increase over the last year:

Reddit's organic traffic increase, via Ahrefs Site ExplorerReddit's organic traffic increase, via Ahrefs Site Explorer

And here’s Quora’s traffic increase:

Quora's organic traffic increase, via Ahrefs Site ExplorerQuora's organic traffic increase, via Ahrefs Site Explorer

How to deal with it:

There are three key ways I would deal with this issue in 2024:

Focus on targeting the right keywords using keyword research

Knowing which keywords to target is really important for smaller websites. Sadly, you can’t just write about a big term like “SEO” and expect to rank for it in Google.

Use a tool like Keywords Explorer to do a SERP analysis for each keyword you want to target. Use the effort-to-reward ratio to ensure you are picking the right keyword battles:

Effort to reward ratio illustrationEffort to reward ratio illustration

If you’re concerned about Reddit, Quora, or other UGC sites stealing your clicks, you can also use Keywords Explorer to target SERPs where these websites aren’t present.

To do this:

  • Enter your keyword in the search bar and head to the matching terms report
  • Click on the SERP features drop-down box
  • Select Not on SERP and select Discussions and forums
Example of removing big UGC sites from keyword searches using filters in Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerExample of removing big UGC sites from keyword searches using filters in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

This method can help you find SERPs where these types of sites are not present.

Build more links to become more authoritative

Another approach you could take is to double down on the SEO basics and start building more high-quality backlinks.

Write deep content

Most SEOs are not churning out 500-word blog posts and hoping for the best; equally, the content they’re creating is often not deep or the best it can possibly be.

This is often due to time restraints, budget and inclination. But to be competitive in the AI era, deep content is exactly what you should be creating.

As your website grows, the challenge of maintaining the performance of your content portfolio gets increasingly more difficult.

And what may have been an “absolute banger” of an article in 2020 might not be such a great article now—so you’ll need to update it to keep the clicks rolling in.

So how can you ensure that your content is the best it can be?

How to deal with it:

Here’s the process I use:

Steal this content updating framework

And here’s a practical example of this in action:

Use Page Inspect with Overview to identify pages that need updating

Here’s an example of an older article Michal Pecánek wrote that I recently updated. Using Page Inspect, we can pinpoint the exact date of the update was on May 10, 2024, with no other major in the last year.

Ahrefs Page Inspect screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerAhrefs Page Inspect screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

According to Ahrefs, this update almost doubled the page’s organic traffic, underlining the value of updating old content. Before the update, the content had reached its lowest performance ever.

Example of a content update and the impact on organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerExample of a content update and the impact on organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

So, what changed to casually double the traffic? Clicking on Page Inspect gives us our answer.

Page Inspect detail screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerPage Inspect detail screenshot, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

I was focused on achieving three aims with this update:

  • Keeping Michal’s original framework for the post intact
  • Making the content as concise and readable as it can be
  • Refreshing the template (the main draw of the post) and explaining how to use the updated version in a beginner-friendly way to match the search intent

Getting buy-in for SEO projects has never been easy compared to other channels. Unfortunately, this meme perfectly describes my early days of agency life.

SEO meme, SEO vs PPC budgetsSEO meme, SEO vs PPC budgets

SEO is not an easy sell—either internally or externally to clients.

With companies hiring fewer SEO roles this year, the appetite for risk seems lower than in previous years.

SEO can also be slow to take impact, meaning getting buy-in for projects is harder than other channels.

How long does SEO take illustrationHow long does SEO take illustration

How to deal with it:

My colleague Despina Gavoyannis has written a fantastic article about how to get SEO buy-in, here is a summary of her top tips:

  • Find key influencers and decision-makers within the organization, starting with cross-functional teams before approaching executives. (And don’t forget the people who’ll actually implement your changes—developers.)
  • Adapt your language and communicate the benefits of SEO initiatives in terms that resonate with different stakeholders’ priorities.
  • Highlight the opportunity costs of not investing in SEO by showing the potential traffic and revenue being missed out on using metrics like Ahrefs’ traffic value.
  • Collaborate cross-functionally by showing how SEO can support other teams’ goals, e.g. helping the editorial team create content that ranks for commercial queries.

And perhaps most important of all: build better business cases and SEO opportunity forecasts.

If you just want to show the short-term trend for a keyword, you can use Keywords Explorer:

Forecasting feature for keywords, via Ahrefs' Keywords ExplorerForecasting feature for keywords, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer
The forecasted trend is shown in orange as a dotted line.

If you want to show the Traffic potential of a particular keyword, you can use our Traffic potential metric in SERP overview to gauge this:

Traffic potential example, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerTraffic potential example, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

And if you want to go the whole hog, you can create an SEO forecast. You can use a third-party tool to create a forecast, but I recommend you use Patrick Stox’s SEO forecasting guide.

Final thoughts

Of all the SEO challenges mentioned above, the one keeping SEOs awake at night is AI.

It’s swept through our industry like a hurricane, presenting SEOs with many new challenges. The SERPs are changing, competitors are using AI tools, and the bar for creating basic content has been lowered, all thanks to AI.

If you want to stay competitive, you need to arm yourself with the best SEO tools and search data on the market—and for me, that always starts with Ahrefs.

Got questions? Ping me on X.



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Why Now’s The Time To Adopt Schema Markup

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Why Now's The Time To Adopt Schema Markup

There is no better time for organizations to prioritize Schema Markup.

Why is that so, you might ask?

First of all, Schema Markup (aka structured data) is not new.

Google has been awarding sites that implement structured data with rich results. If you haven’t taken advantage of rich results in search, it’s time to gain a higher click-through rate from these visual features in search.

Secondly, now that search is primarily driven by AI, helping search engines understand your content is more important than ever.

Schema Markup allows your organization to clearly articulate what your content means and how it relates to other things on your website.

The final reason to adopt Schema Markup is that, when done correctly, you can build a content knowledge graph, which is a critical enabler in the age of generative AI. Let’s dig in.

Schema Markup For Rich Results

Schema.org has been around since 2011. Back then, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex worked together to create the standardized Schema.org vocabulary to enable website owners to translate their content to be understood by search engines.

Since then, Google has incentivized websites to implement Schema Markup by awarding rich results to websites with certain types of markup and eligible content.

Websites that achieve these rich results tend to see higher click-through rates from the search engine results page.

In fact, Schema Markup is one of the most well-documented SEO tactics that Google tells you to do. With so many things in SEO that are backward-engineered, this one is straightforward and highly recommended.

You might have delayed implementing Schema Markup due to the lack of applicable rich results for your website. That might have been true at one point, but I’ve been doing Schema Markup since 2013, and the number of rich results available is growing.

Even though Google deprecated how-to rich results and changed the eligibility of FAQ rich results in August 2023, it introduced six new rich results in the months following – the most new rich results introduced in a year!

These rich results include vehicle listing, course info, profile page, discussion forum, organization, vacation rental, and product variants.

There are now 35 rich results that you can use to stand out in search, and they apply to a wide range of industries such as healthcare, finance, and tech.

Here are some widely applicable rich results you should consider utilizing:

  • Breadcrumb.
  • Product.
  • Reviews.
  • JobPosting.
  • Video.
  • Profile Page.
  • Organization.

With so many opportunities to take control of how you appear in search, it’s surprising that more websites haven’t adopted it.

A statistic from Web Data Commons’ October 2023 Extractions Report showed that only 50% of pages had structured data.

Of the pages with JSON-LD markup, these were the top types of entities found.

  • http://schema.org/ListItem (2,341,592,788 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/ImageObject (1,429,942,067 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/Organization (907,701,098 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/BreadcrumbList (817,464,472 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/WebSite (712,198,821 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/WebPage (691,208,528 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/Offer (623,956,111 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/SearchAction (614,892,152 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/Person (582,460,344 Entities)
  • http://schema.org/EntryPoint (502,883,892 Entities)

(Source: October 2023 Web Data Commons Report)

Most of the types on the list are related to the rich results mentioned above.

For example, ListItem and BreadcrumbList are required for the Breadcrumb Rich Result, SearchAction is required for Sitelink Search Box, and Offer is required for the Product Rich Result.

This tells us that most websites are using Schema Markup for rich results.

Even though these Schema.org types can help your site achieve rich results and stand out in search, they don’t necessarily tell search engines what each page is about in detail and help your site be more semantic.

Help AI Search Engines Understand Your Content

Have you ever seen your competitor’s sites using specific Schema.org Types that are not found in Google’s structured data documentation (i.e. MedicalClinic, IndividualPhysician, Service, etc)?

The Schema.org vocabulary has over 800 types and properties to help websites explain what the page is about. However, Google’s structured data features only require a small subset of these properties for websites to be eligible for a rich result.

Many websites that solely implement Schema Markup to get rich results tend to be less descriptive with their Schema Markup.

AI search engines now look at the meaning and intent behind your content to provide users with more relevant search results.

Therefore, organizations that want to stay ahead should use more specific Schema.org types and leverage appropriate properties to help search engines better understand and contextualize their content. You can be descriptive with your content while still achieving rich results.

For example, each type (e.g. Article, Person, etc.) in the Schema.org vocabulary has 40 or more properties to describe the entity.

The properties are there to help you fully describe what the page is about and how it relates to other things on your website and the web. In essence, it’s asking you to describe the entity or topic of the page semantically.

The word ‘semantic’ is about understanding the meaning of language.

Note that the word “understanding” is part of the definition. Funny enough, in October 2023, John Mueller at Google released a Search Update video. In this six-minute video, he leads with an update on Schema Markup.

For the first time, Mueller described Schema Markup as “a code you can add to your web pages, which search engines can use to better understand the content. ”

While Mueller has historically spoken a lot about Schema Markup, he typically talked about it in the context of rich result eligibility. So, why the change?

This shift in thinking about Schema Markup for enhanced search engine understanding makes sense. With AI’s growing role and influence in search, we need to make it easy for search engines to consume and understand the content.

Take Control Of AI By Shaping Your Data With Schema Markup

Now, if being understood and standing out in search is not a good enough reason to get started, then doing it to help your enterprise take control of your content and prepare it for artificial intelligence is.

In February 2024, Gartner published a report on “30 Emerging Technologies That Will Guide Your Business Decisions,”  highlighting generative AI and knowledge graphs as critical emerging technologies companies should invest in within the next 0-1 years.

Knowledge graphs are collections of relationships between entities defined using a standardized vocabulary that enables new knowledge to be gained by way of inferencing.

Good news! When you implement Schema Markup to define and connect the entities on your site, you are creating a content knowledge graph for your organization.

Thus, your organization gains a critical enabler for generative AI adoption while reaping its SEO benefits.

Learn more about building content knowledge graphs in my article, Extending Your Schema Markup From Rich Results to Knowledge Graphs.

We can also look at other experts in the knowledge graph field to understand the urgency of implementing Schema Markup.

In his LinkedIn post, Tony Seale, Knowledge Graph Architect at UBS in the UK, said,

“AI does not need to happen to you; organizations can shape AI by shaping their data.

It is a choice: We can allow all data to be absorbed into huge ‘data gravity wells’ or we can create a network of networks, each of us connecting and consolidating our data.”

The “networks of networks” Seale refers to is the concept of knowledge graphs – the same knowledge graph that can be built from your web data using semantic Schema Markup.”

The AI revolution has only just begun, and there is no better time than now to shape your data, starting with your web content through the implementation of Schema Markup.

Use Schema Markup As The Catalyst For AI

In today’s digital landscape, organizations must invest in new technology to keep pace with the evolution of AI and search.

Whether your goal is to stand out on the SERP or ensure your content is understood as intended by Google and other search engines, the time to implement Schema Markup is now.

With Schema Markup, SEO pros can become heroes, enabling generative AI adoption through content knowledge graphs while delivering tangible benefits, such as increased click-through rates and improved search visibility.

More resources: 


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Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results

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Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results

Google removed the Covid-era structured data associated with the Home Activities rich results that allowed online events to be surfaced in search since August 2020, publishing a mention of the removal in the search documentation changelog.

Home Activities Rich Results

The structured data for the Home Activities rich results allowed providers of online livestreams, pre-recorded events and online events to be findable in Google Search.

The original documentation has been completely removed from the Google Search Central webpages and now redirects to a changelog notation that explains that the Home Activity rich results is no longer available for display.

The original purpose was to allow people to discover things to do from home while in quarantine, particularly online classes and events. Google’s rich results surfaced details of how to watch, description of the activities and registration information.

Providers of online events were required to use Event or Video structured data. Publishers and businesses who have this kind of structured data should be aware that this kind of rich result is no longer surfaced but it’s not necessary to remove the structured data if it’s a burden, it’s not going to hurt anything to publish structured data that isn’t used for rich results.

The changelog for Google’s official documentation explains:

“Removing home activity documentation
What: Removed documentation on home activity structured data.

Why: The home activity feature no longer appears in Google Search results.”

Read more about Google’s Home Activities rich results:

Google Announces Home Activities Rich Results

Read the Wayback Machine’s archive of Google’s original announcement from 2020:

Home activities

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