Tuesday, March 6, 2012

SEO Benefits For Real Estate Companies Using Schema.org


Can Schema.org Help My Real Estate Website?

Have you invested a lot of time and money into your real estate related website or blog so that visitors will be impressed with what you have created?  Well, so have many other websites.  In fact, if you google search "real estate", there are over 2.3 billion search results provided by Google.  So how can you separate your website or blog from the rest of the pack?  How can Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other major search engines find out more information about your website?  One answer is by using the benefits of schema.org


What is Schema.org?

The technical answer provided by Schema.org is that it...
provides a collection of schemas, i.e., html tags, that webmasters can use to markup their pages in ways recognized by major search providers. Search engines including Bing, Google, Yahoo! and Yandex rely on this markup to improve the display of search results, making it easier for people to find the right web pages.
In layman's terms, Schema.org provides a "Cheat Sheet" of your real estate website to all of the major search engines, but hides the info from a casual visitor to your website.
When Google, Bing, and Yahoo search and index tons of websites, they need to figure out what type of website you have... and do it quickly.  This can be difficult.  For example, without providing any additional help, Google may interpret the above photo as just a left hand with a blue background.  But if you had a hidden "Cheat Sheet" stating it was the handwritten notes of Sarah Palin when she mocked President Obama for his use of a teleprompter, Google would realize it was not just an ordinary hand.

Every Property Is Unique
Whether your involvement in real estate is as an Owner, Real Estate Broker, Leasing Agent, Tenant Rep, or Property Manager, by using the rich snippets provided by schema.org, you can secretly notify Google and other search engines about the following types of additional information...

  • Company Description
  • Company Location
  • Building Description
  • Building Location
  • Building Type (i.e, Retail, Office, Apartment, Industrial Warehouse)
  • Maps
  • Photos
  • Contact information
  • Geo Coordinates

Does Google Know If Your Website Is Far From Ordinary?
Here are Google's official comments regarding the use of schema.org to provide rich snippets ("Cheat Sheets") about your website:
Google doesn’t use markup for ranking purposes at this time—but rich snippets can make your web pages appear more prominently in search results, so you may see an increase in traffic.
If you want your website to appear more prominently in search results, using schema.org helps!

Using Schema.org for Real Estate Websites

What type of real estate related website do you have?  Are you a multi-national full-service real estate company involved with commercial real estate; or do you focus your line of work within a specific location, type of real estate, or type of professional service?  Now is your chance to utilize the rich snippets provided by schema.org to let Google and other search engines know what separates your business from all others.

Here are some schema.org examples that pertain to the real estate profession:

schema.org/ProfessionalService

<div itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/ProfessionalService">
<span itemprop="name">[put company name]</span> <span itemprop="description">[put Company description]
<meta itemprop="foundingDate" content="put year">
<meta itemprop="image" content="[put URL of logo]">

schema.org/RealEstateAgent

<div itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/RealEstateAgent">
<span itemprop="name">[put Agency name]</span>
<span itemprop="description">[put Agency description]
<meta itemprop="foundingDate" content="put year">
<meta itemprop="image" content="[put URL of logo]">

schema.org/ShoppingCenter

<div itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/ShoppingCenter">
<span itemprop="name">[put name of building]</span>
<span itemprop="description">[put description of building] <meta itemprop="image" content="[put URL of buidling]">

schema.org/Postal Address

<div itemprop="address" itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">
<meta itemprop="streetAddress" content="[put address]"></meta>
<meta itemprop="addressLocality" content="[put City]"></meta> <meta itemprop="addressRegion" content="[put State]"></meta> <meta itemprop="postalCode" content="[put Zipcode]"></meta>
<meta itemprop="telephone" content="[put Phone]" /></meta>
<meta itemprop="faxNumber" content="[put Fax]" /></meta> <meta itemprop="email" content="[put email]" /></meta>

schema.org/GeoCoordinates

<div itemprop="geo" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/GeoCoordinates"> <meta itemprop="latitude" content="[put latitude]" /></meta> <meta itemprop="longitude" content="[put longitude]" /></meta>

schema.org/Place

<div itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/Place"> <meta itemprop="streetAddress" content="[put address]"></meta>
<meta itemprop="addressLocality" content="[put City]"></meta>
<meta itemprop="addressRegion" content="[put State]"></meta>
<meta itemprop="postalCode" content="[put Zipcode]"></meta>
<meta itemprop="telephone" content="[put Phone]" /></meta>
<meta itemprop="faxNumber" content="[put Fax]" /></meta>
<meta itemprop="email" content="[put email]" /></meta>

Time to Check Your Work

After applying some of the above rich snippet coding provided by schema.org, the following link by Google provides a webpage to let you know what information Google is able to pull off your webpage by reading your schema.org coding.

Here are the Google rich snippets test results for our homepage:

Sharpe Properties - Florida Commercial Real Estate
Sharpe Properties - Florida Commercial Real Estate

Florida Commercial Property Real Estate | Sharpe Properties

www.sharpeproperties.com Cached
The excerpt from the page will show up here. The reason we can't show text from your webpage is because the text depends on the query the user types.
Note that there is no guarantee that a Rich Snippet will be shown for this page on actual search results. For more details, see the FAQ.
Extracted Author/Publisher for this page
publisher linked Google+ page = https://plus.google.com/107108795242999451282
Verified: Publisher markup is verified for this pageLearn more
Extracted rich snippet data from the page
Item
Type: http://schema.org/realestateagent
description = Commercial Real Estate Company providing property management services; leasing retail, industrial warehouse, and office properties for rent in Miami Dade and Broward County
name = Sharpe Properties
foundingdate = 1960
image = http://www.sharpeproperties.com/images/misc/sharpe-properties-logo.jpg
address = Item( 1 )
geo = Item( 2 ) 
Item 1
Type: http://schema.org/postaladdress
streetaddress = 1060 East 33rd Street
addresslocality = Hialeah
addressregion = FL
postalcode = 33013
telephone = 305.693.3500
faxnumber = 305.693.3497
email = info@sharpeproperties.com 
Item 2
Type: http://schema.org/geocoordinates
latitude = 25.852704146393933
longitude = -80.26135236024857 
View rich snippets data as visible by a Custom Search Engine.

Here are the Google rich snippets test results for a shopping center location managed by Sharpe Properties:

Sharpe Properties - Florida Commercial Real Estate
Sharpe Properties - Florida Commercial Real Estate

Florida Retail and Industrial Commercial Real Estate Propert...

www.sharpeproperties.com/millerheights Cached
The excerpt from the page will show up here. The reason we can't show text from your webpage is because the text depends on the query the user types.
Note that there is no guarantee that a Rich Snippet will be shown for this page on actual search results. For more details, see the FAQ.
Extracted Author/Publisher for this page
publisher linked Google+ page = https://plus.google.com/107108795242999451282
Verified: Publisher markup is verified for this pageLearn more
Extracted rich snippet data from the page
Item
Type: http://schema.org/shoppingcenter
description = The Miller Heights Shopping Center is a commercial property located in Miami, Florida, with a tenant mix of both small and national chain tenants operating stores and businesses for retail...
name = Miller Heights Shopping Center
image = http://www.sharpeproperties.com/uploads/propimages/original/Miller-Heights-sign.jpg
telephone = 305-693-3500
address = Item( 1 )
branchof = Item( 2 )
maps = Item( 3 )
geo = Item( 4 ) 
Item 1
Type: http://schema.org/postaladdress
streetaddress = 9373-9459 SW 56th Street
addresslocality = Miami
addressregion = FL
postalcode = 33165 
Item 2
Type: http://schema.org/organization
name = Sharpe Properties 
Item 3
Type: http://schema.org/maps
map = http://g.co/maps/xvxjm 
Item 4
Type: http://schema.org/geocoordinates
latitude = 25.716293
longitude = -80.348568 
View rich snippets data as visible by a Custom Search Engine.

Benefits of Using Schema.org

By providing the above real estate agent themed schema.org rich snippets, Google Bing, and other search engines are able to improve the quality and information of their search results, maps, Google Places, Bing business portal, etc.

For example, Google's search results for "Sharpe Properties" provides the following information, which now contains more than just the link to the website.

Florida Commercial Property Real Estate | Sharpe Properties

Alexa Traffic Rank for http://www.sharpeproperties.com/: 569939www.sharpeproperties.com/
Commercial Real Estate Company providing property management services; leasing retail, industrial warehouse, and office properties for rent in Miami Dade ...
 10 Google reviews - Write a review
1060 East 33rd Street  Hialeah, FL 33013
(305) 693-3500
1,636 people +1'd this

Commercial Property Real ...

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Commercial Property Real ...

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This Sharpe Properties Website is made available by Sharpe ...

Commercial Property Real ...

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