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DOMAIN / INDUSTRY: Search Engine Optimization [SEO]

THEME: A fast-growing SEO Agency sharing a contemporary SEO strategy to get content ranked for Position 0 [above the first result on Google… Info cards].

OBJECTIVES: The content was meant to be shared with brands looking for an SEO Agency. Towards the end of the content, brands were asked to sign up for an email list where a 6-email Drip Campaign was created to convert the brand into a hot lead.

…. and yeah! Your Competitors are not aware of it or at least not using it!

Quite often we miss realizing the opportunities that things we consume present. That’s what I realized a couple of weeks back after this discussion with our Account Manager, Dustin.

Dustin:

Whenever I search for any Hollywood movie, I quite like the way it shows me the image thumbnails of people associated with that movie – actors, directors and all. And it happens for almost all the Hollywood movies. Also quite often I noticed that they show me similar movies to the ones I’m searching for. I looked it up and they call it Knowledge Graph.

Me:

Yeah! They say, nearly 25% of search queries trigger knowledge graph results on Google. And those info cards that you’re referring to are called as Google Rich Snippets.

Dustin:

Not bad. Makes me visit one less of a website. Presents me the information right on the search results page. I’m thinking how much of an impact this will have on the traffic of the websites whose snippet/info is shown right on the Google Search page.

Me:

Yep. Somewhat. But that’s interesting. Did you come across any studies in this domain? I want to read them. That will be quite an insight.

Dustin:

Let me look it up in a while. But do you think it can have a positive impact too? I mean why just think of it as something that leads to the drop in the traffic to those websites. For example, if the website’s content appears in the Google’s Rich Snippet boxes, do you think it’s possible that one, it may lead to higher rankings in SERPs for other keywords. And second, it actually makes people click your link to get more information (it obviously depends on the context of the query too). Huh???

Me:

Hmmm. See, I think if I look at it from this perspective, knowledge graph queries definitely helps when:

  • The website ranks on the first page and it definitely is now a tough battle to rank on the top or at least in the top 3 results.
  • Due to the knowledge graph, I mean via those information cards that we see at the top of search results, the website’s content snippet actually appears first. A job was done well – you actually got the first ranking for your keyword.
  • The upside is higher vis-a-vis the downside when you’re not in Top 3.

A long pause.

Dustin:

Yep. May be.

Me:

Ok. Let’s do an experiment and see if we can rank any of our websites for knowledge graph. By the way, what movie were you searching for?

Dustin:

The Big Short. Do watch it. Have heard some awesome reviews.

And that’s how it all started. Over the next couple of weeks, we learned every possible thing about knowledge graph, rank brain, schemas (ones that act as a feed for knowledge graph), how semantic search affects schemas, triggers for it. And yeah, watched The Big Short too.

Towards the end of it (I meant our research on Knowledge graph and Rich Snippets), we literally felt like we could like write a mini-course on Knowledge graph and schema. And that’s what this article is all about. I want to detail out the steps in which you too can get your site’s content ranked in Rich Snippet boxes (will talk about the exceptions later in this note).

But first let me talk about the impact schemas had on one of our sites: An increase in close to around 30% traffic over the past month or so. Now, it’s very difficult to say whether it was adding schemas alone that increased this % of traffic. But neither can we negate it since we didn’t do any major change in our content strategy to have that big an impact on our traffic numbers.

Fortunately, while we were learning and experimenting with schemas, we remember having come across one article (I think it was either Hubspot or CoSchedule) where they talked about schema impacting their traffic to the tune of 40-50%.

Not bad considering the fact that to get the schema aspect right, you don’t have to spend weeks – at least to start noticing some considerable increase in traffic.

In fact, I have come across some references where they say that schema leads to increase in Domain Authority (Trust Rank) and thereby increasing your rankings for other keywords too.

So, let me dive right into and list out the steps to get your content ranked for schema:

1. Does Your Website Have Schema Markup Baked In?

Non-Wordpress Users: Use this super-easy tool from the folks at Raven Tools to create schema markup for your key pages. Don’t fret out and start calculating how many hours of work will this require.

Here’s one quick tip – start with your top 2-3 content pages.

WordPress Users: There are several plugins available in the WordPress Repository that help schema markups. In fact, over the last 2-3 years, several of the respected WordPress Theme companies have started to include schema markup right inside their theme frameworks. We use Genesis for all our sites. Do check them out.

2. What Type Of Content Can Get Ranked For Schema?

Schema / Knowledge graph type of content is typically triggered for questions/queries that have either of “5 Wives & 1 Husband” format (aha, don’t blame me for this acronym. One of my early mentors taught me that). Anyways, here they are:

  • How
    • How is
    • How much
    • How to
  • Who
    • Who is
  • What
    • What is
  • Why
    • Why do
  • Where:
    • Where is
  • When

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Too much right. Agreed. I too feel the same. Let me make it easy for you. During our experiments, we found that the chances to trigger info cards are quite higher for queries with “How”. Not bad huh! Considering the fact that “how-to” has been one of the most evergreen subjects on the internet and nearly any website can at least have some content (or to say the least, craft some tactical question) going after “How-to”

So, the crux here is to start with “how to”.

3. Use Semrush To Find If You Can Actually Rank For The How-to Query

How? Get for yourself a SEMRush a/c and do the following:

  1. Enter your domain name.
  2. Choose the country (SEMRush supports around 29 countries. Thank God google.co.in is in the list).
  3. Once you see the list of results, deploy the following filters:
    1. Keyword containing how to
    2. Search positions equal to 10 or lesser.

Awesome. So, now you have the data wherein you have the list of “how to” keywords for which you already have a SERP position of 10 or lesser. By the way, if you do not have a SEMRush a/c, let me know. If possible, I will try and help you with the results.

Manually enter those keywords into Google and see what content ranks for it, who ranks for it, etc. I understand it might be cumbersome if you have a lot of keywords but I suggest start with just 4-5 (feel free to fire up Google Keyword Planner to find those top 4-5 basis their search volumes).

Now, it’s time to edit the content that’s already ranking for those how-to keywords and you want to display your content as info cards.

Before that, just one more thing. What if you get 1 or zero keywords doing the exercise mentioned above. No problem. Here is one alternative:

Enter the URL of your competitors and repeat the above-mentioned exercise. The only difference here would be to first look for several other outreaches and backlinking ways to get your webpage rank of Google Page 1.

What changes to make in the content:

  • Have the targeted keyword in H1 and H2. If possible, add the same to H3 too. For instance, “How to sync data between Shopify and QuickBooks in less than 5 minutes?”
  • Right at the start of the article, you should try and answer the question. For instance, “You can sync data between Shopify and QuickBooks by using services like Zapier or IFTTT. If it’s just for one-time, you can use the export feature of Shopify too. Here is an infographic visually detailing the whole process”.
  • In some of the Google Searches, we have seen that after making the above-mentioned changes, Google does not pick this answer but takes the initial phrases from the process steps. For instance, “Step 1 – Do this”, “Step 2 – Do that”. We have had written these steps in H2 / H3. Google… Smartypants!
  • For several queries, Google shows the whole of the paragraphs as info cards and in some these steps – that depends on the query.

You can also use the Google Structured Markup Tool to check how Google sees your content once you are done with this exercise:

https://developers.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/

Now, there are several other things also that can be done to further increase the probability of your page’s content being shown as info cards – language meta tags, hreflang tags, how you categorized your content (article, website, product, etc.). But will leave those pointers for some other day.

Do let me know if you have any queries in regards to this. Happy to help!

Pro Tip: You can use Google Webmaster Tools (aka Search Console) if you are on lower budgets and don’t wanna spend on SEMRush (though I’d recommend SEMRush. It’s a damn good tool).

Sounds good! Let me offer something more to you! Click here to access Position 0 strategy with screenshots along with four other handy SEO strategies you can deploy over a weekend.

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Have a gala weekend!