Over a third of Google search results incorporate Rich Snippets supported by Schema

Over a third of Google search results incorporate Rich Snippets supported by Schema finds new Searchmetrics study; But only 0.3% of websites are making use of the Google approved Schema tool.

New York, New York and Salt Lake City, Utah, April 22 , 2014: While search engines increasingly insert additional text, images and links known as rich snippets under individual search results to give searchers a sense of what is on a page or website before they click on it, a new study reveals that few sites are making use of the Google approved Schema.org tools which help webmasters and online marketers present this extra information to the search engines¹.

This is despite the fact that over a third (36.6%) of Google search results incorporate this type of Schema rich snippet (or integration) such as reviews and product ratings, which can potentially attract greater attention and traffic when displayed in search results pages.

The findings come from a study by Searchmetrics which analyzed the Google USA search results for tens of thousands of keywords and over half a million web domains to study the impact of the Schema.org markup language, derived from a collaboration by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!, and the rich snippets and web sites it helps support.

“If you’ve seen search results pages with integrations for the average review or pricing information relating to product or restaurant related searches, then you know the type of rich snippet the Schema markups can help support,“ explained Marcus Tober, CTO and founder of Searchmetrics. “Although it should be understood that while a site might markup this additional information on its web pages using Schema tools, it is entirely up to the search engines to decide if they will actually use it to create snippets.“

The key findings of the Searchmetrics study are:

Over a third of keywords in Google search results include Schema snippets

Over a third (36.6%) of search results analyzed by Searchmetrics included at least one snippet with information derived from Schema.org within search results pages.

The most common Schema snippets are related to “Movies” and “Offers”

When Searchmetrics analyzed the most frequently appearing snippets (or integrations), which are derived from information presented by websites using Schema, “Movie” integrations came out on top (accounting for 27% of integrations). This included integrations from popular movie sites such as IMDb for example.

Second (accounting for 21% of the total) were “Offers” which accompany search results related to online retail and ecommerce sites – a very important integration to drive traffic and conversions for transactional searches. Joint third were “TV series“ and “Product“ snippets (more information about these Schema rich snippet categories can be found at http://schema.org/docs/gs.html#schemaorg_types)

Pages using schema.org markups have higher Google rankings

When Searchmetrics analyzed the top 50 search results for its keyword set, taking into account all sites both with and without Schema integrations, it found the average ranking of domains without Schema markups is 25.  And sites using Schema ranked on average four positions better than those without, at 21.

However Marcus Tober is very keen to stress that this finding does not mean that using Schema directly leads to higher rankings:

“It may not be the case that pages are actually preferred by Google just because they provide Schema integrations. Perhaps the higher rankings can be explained by the fact that webmasters that use Schema.org are one step ahead of the competition due to other factors that affect their rankings in a positive way. For example their sites may be better optimized and devote more resources to creating content and to SEO.“

Only 0.3% of Web Sites Use Schema

Despite the potential benefits of using Schema, currently only 0.3% of the over 50 million domains analyzed in Searchmetrics’ study use it on their web pages. And in general Searchmetrics found that larger sites are more likely to markup information on their sites using Schema or alternative tools or methods.

Tober concluded: “Schema gives online marketers a potential way of increasing traffic to their sites, but our study shows that few of them are currently making use of it to markup information about their pages that could be used to support rich snippets in search results.  This could be due to a gap in technical knowledge about how to use Schema or just a time lag. But I expect more sites to start using Schema as they begin to notice how often search engines are using it to display rich snippets.“
To download the full Searchmetrics study click here.

¹ Schema.org tools help webmasters and online marketers present extra information about web page content to the search engines by placing specific markup language in the source code of the pages.

About the study

The Searchmetrics analysis of Schema.org collected data from across the Web:
1. It analyzed the first 50 search results for tens of thousands of keywords for integrations (Rich Snippets) that result from using schema.org and/or other structured data.
2. It analyzed over half a million domains to determine whether schema.org data can be found on their pages.
The analysis was conducted in March 2014 for Google USA.

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