How to Boost Your Search Engine Ranking Using Schema Markup

Writing code

When it comes to enhancing your business’s online exposure and boosting its credibility with potential customers, schema markups are something you can use to promote your business. Schema markup is one of the latest SEO features that can guide search engines to effectively showcase your business and relative information about it in search engine page results. Though it is still one of the least-used SEO tricks of the trade, owing to its relative newness, schema markup is proving extremely beneficial to the businesses that employ it. Once you understand the ins and outs of this SEO feature, you’ll be persuaded to include it on your business website too.

What Exactly Is Schema Markup?

Put simply, schema markup is code. It’s a type of code that boosts your website’s SEO and allows your site to be more visible to potential customers or clients. The beauty of schema is that its code explains to search engines what your data actually means and not simply what it says. That small difference can lead to big results when it comes to search engine page rankings. When you employ schema markup, a search engine can better “understand” what important individual elements on your page are and can promote them accordingly.

In addition, when searchers are scrolling through their search results, your website will appear far more attractive, which can spell increased traffic to your site. The goal for schema markups are to make your business rank better, look better to viewers, and do better in search engine page results. Also, remember that you can use schema markup to highlight a myriad of content types such as products, articles, local business information, software applications, events, and more.

How Can Schema Markups Affect Search Engine Rankings?

Since schema markups are used to point out relevant features of your website like an image or location, they’ll appear in search results as an attractive package of information. By providing relevant information to search engines and information you want to stand out, you can more effectively promote your brand and business. The goal is to stand out well in search pages in order to encourage searchers to click on your business link and explore your website. With schema markups, traffic is likely to increase and with increased traffic, you’re apt to see an increase in business too.

How to Add Schema Markups on Your Website

Because businesses that use Schema seem to be a step ahead of their competition, there’s every reason to get these features for your website and begin to experiment with them. You can implement schema markups on your website by visiting Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. The tool will help you add schema to your website via its easy-to-use worksheet. For instance, you’ll need to select a data type like local businesses or articles. Then you can paste in the URL for the page you want to markup. If you’re using HTML, you can easily paste that in too.

After pasting in your URL, the tool will then allow you to begin the tagging process. The tool pulls up your webpage on one side of its screen and a list of data items on the other. You simply highlight the elements that you want to apply schema markup to. After you complete the tagging process, you’ll want to click on the button: create HTML. The tool will then provide you with an HTML view of your page with the microdata you just created included. Finally, you can add the schema markup to your webpage by pasting in the highlighted snippets of schema markup into the appropriate spaces of your code.

There are other options for adding schema markup to your website, but the Google tool makes it quite simple. Regardless of how you get schema markup to your business website, you’ll definitely want to make plans to do it soon. As more businesses begin to understand the great functionality of this feature, schema markups will become a matter of course for savvy webmasters. The sooner your business employs them, the sooner it can stand out from the pack in those search results—and that can spell terrific benefits for your business, benefits that you definitely don’t want to ignore.


Why Your Business Website Needs Google Analytics

Web analytics concept with data icons

You invested in a great website and spent time working with designers and web developers to truly capture your brand, but nothing has changed. Your traffic is stagnant, leads aren’t converting and sales aren’t increasing. Why?

In good times and bad, monitoring your website is a valuable way to determine performance, source traffic and receive feedback that can help you make wise business decisions. Whether you’re doing great or struggling to keep up and need to know why —the right analytics can make a huge difference.

The most popular free tracking opportunity for businesses of all sizes and industries is Google Analytics. It provides the opportunity to track many of the important metrics related to operating a successful website. With capabilities like determining traffic sources, calculating key performance indicators and providing insight into average duration and views per page, it’s easier than ever to monitor your site’s performance on the web.

Here’s why your business website needs Google Analytics:

Identify Traffic Sources


Having traffic is a great start, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Where your traffic is coming from also makes a difference. Google Analytics can help you track your traffic sources, offering insight into what marketing is working and what marketing isn’t. It also tells you what most of your viewers are doing to get to your page.

This information can be extremely valuable in identifying weak spots in marketing and advertising that can be bolstered, successful areas that can be perpetuated and even the keywords most important to your operations.

Stay Up to Date on Google’s Changes

As all website owners know, Google is anything but consistent. With frequent algorithm changes that may or may not be announced in advance, or even announced at all, keeping up with Google is often an uphill battle.

Google Analytics makes things easier by helping you to identify what was working before that isn’t now, or what new requirements your site isn’t meeting. For example, if your formerly adequate mobile traffic plummeted overnight, it’s highly likely that Google made a change that’s negatively driving your performance. By understanding your positioning, it will be easy to make the changes necessary to maintain your position in the search engine results page.

Explore Mobile vs Desktop


As Google’s Mobilegeddon update proved —mobile use matters. While desktop ranking was left alone, Google made changes to how mobile sites are ranked. This change boosted companies with mobile-specific or responsive web design and penalized those without.

Instead of assuming all is well, get the scoop with Google Analytics. You’ll be able to see where traffic is coming from across all devices. The information is beneficial to noting strengths and weaknesses across laptops, desktops and phones. Platform breakdown can also help identify areas of improvement, especially when users appear to favor different functionalities from desktop to mobile.

Learn What Your Readers Value

You know your site viewers are invested in what you have to offer, but what information means the most? Without knowing what pages, blog posts and product descriptions are hitting home, it’s hard to know what to prioritize when it comes to site design and product creation.

By analyzing metrics, like page visit duration, you can ascertain which posts and pages are successful and which ones fall short. This data can also help you to identify what visitors landed on your site and left right away and how many stayed to read, absorb and invest in what your company has to offer.

Keeping an eye on performance behind the scenes can be extremely valuable. By understanding more than what you see at the surface you can fine tune what works and tweak what doesn’t. With Google Analytics on your side, you can ensure your site will always stay at the top —no matter how the tides may shift.

Why Superb Photos Are Essential to E-Commerce Success

Written by Lance Trebesch, BBB Board Member and CEO

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the September Torch Talk. We’ve all heard the saying “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” As far as e-commerce goes, while copy is essential, in truth it’s nothing without pictures. Quality images are what will ultimately boost conversion rates.  

Credit card - online shopping and payments

Before you head off to populate your site with pictures and wait for orders to roll in, there’s a catch. Low quality photos won’t do, and the images you use need to be unique to your business, engaging and relevant to the information being conveyed.

Here’s why – the world we live in today is, by and large, driven by visuals.

The quick scrolling we do on social media feeds is the same approach taken upon landing on a website. Visitors make a split-second decision whether your site is trustworthy, has what they are looking for, or is even remotely interesting. The images on your landing page, blog, and product pages need to catch attention, which means, upon further inspection, the pictures must make sense.

For example, if you sell all-natural dog treats and toys, but your site’s landing page has a lovely photograph of a forest, new visitors to your site will be at a loss. What does a forest have to do with dog treats and toys? Where are the dogs? The treats? The toys? Yes, it is all-natural, but the image provides no context. Before you know it, that potential customer has added to your bounce rate, which is not good for SEO. This is because the higher a bounce rate for a page, the less important that page becomes to search engines. So, not only did that picture of the forest cost you a sale, but over time it could affect future sales. A scary thought, and proof, incidentally, that if a tree falls in a forest it does indeed make a sound.

Products listed on your site also should be represented with great imagery. To borrow from my previous example, if you use the same, low-resolution dog toy image over and over, today’s consumer won’t stick around. What makes it special? Why should they buy this toy over another? Consumers want to be able to zoom and see alternate views and other contextual shots of the item. In short, they want to get a real ‘feel’ for the item you’re selling. Providing this visual information has the secondary effect of giving your site credibility, which in turn contributes to converting a casual visitor into a sale.

Essentially, shopping online should be as ‘real’ as possible. When browsing your e-commerce site, customers should get an immediate sense of what your business is about and what it is selling. Use pictures to build a relationship and connect with customers – sometimes the most powerful tools at our disposal happen to be the simplest.

Lance Trebesch





Simple Ways to Grow Your Email List

Email List 1 (3.28.16)

Email lists have been the bread and butter of online business presence for about as long as the internet has been readily accessible. In the past, it was fun and exciting to receive a new email accompanied by the phrase “You’ve got mail!” Users would rush to their inbox to see what new and exciting gift was waiting for them.

Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Email is so common today that getting a real letter in the mail is often more exciting. Because of this development of time, businesses are faced with the problem of not only gaining but maintaining a solid and reliable list of email subscribers who will actually look forward to seeing a business name in their inbox. While it is certainly harder than ever to get someone to open your email, fear not: all it takes is a little creativity and a good set of typing fingers.

Start with Quality Emails and Diversify

There is nothing worse than a full email inbox, littered with the same three business names over and over, running the same promotion and offering nothing of substance. Everyone has that one mistake, the one subscription they filled out and regretted as soon as the third notification popped up. “Why did I do this?” “How do I cancel?”

Don’t be that business.

The goal is for subscribers to want to read your emails. Simply getting a foot in the door, or email in the inbox as it were, isn’t enough. Provide your subscribers with quality, relevant content that keeps them coming back for more and anticipating your weekly email blast.

Email List 2 (3.28.16)

Emails should contain more than just excellent subject matter if the goal is growing an email list. They should also encourage sharing amongst friends, and can benefit from links to landing pages encouraging people to subscribe. Try adding these links to the signatures of regular business emails for an extra boost. Email lists can also benefit from diversity and narrow field marketing, such as separate lists for different types of content.

Social Media

Social media continues to prove itself to be a useful tool to the marketing strategies of all businesses, big or small. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and YouTube are all excellent sources for getting a business name out there and recognized, and are great devices for building a sustainable email list. Try adding a call to action “Sign Up” or “Subscribe” button to any of these websites your business may be represented on, or consider running promotions that require an email submission.

Email List 3 (3.28.16)

The Business Website

Though it may seem obvious, many businesses make it quite difficult to find the required information to sign up for updates and newsletters. Make sure this information is visible and readily accessible, even if it means adding a subscribe button to every single page of the site.

Blogs are also a great way to build email subscriptions. By posting an informative, helpful blog post every now and then on a website, consumers are assured that the business is active and concerned with the needs of its clients. They’ll want to sign up and will look forward to more information whenever you post it.

Partnerships and Promotions

Powerful email lists require more than an online presence. It is necessary to spread the word in the real world as well. This can be done a number of ways, none of which are as easy as simply asking consumers to sign up (though that can still be beneficial). Try partnering up with a sister business (real estate and insurance, food truck with a bar, etc.) and hosting an event together to share customers. This is a great way to find customers who are already interested in a service similar to your own. Use these events to gather emails, create online promotions, or hand out business cards with QR codes on them that link directly to a subscription page online.

Maintain the List

Once your list has been bulked up, it’s important to maintain it. Reset each quarter or year by allowing current subscribers to opt into a new list and delete the old addresses. This may seem counter intuitive, but quality returns are far more important than sheer quantity. Keep the list updated, keep adding new subscribers, and always provide quality content that customers can look forward to.