Conquer Your Crawl: Feed the Googlebot With Structured Data

Set up success on search with a detailed web schema

Since search took over Facebook as the top referral of web traffic a few years ago, the growth of Google hasn't let up. It's estimated organic and paid search accounts for 68% of all trackable website traffic, and, perhaps even more noteworthy, 53% of that traffic is fueled by organic search.

The revival of search has brought with it a maturation of what makes for a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. The algorithm is now savvy about robotically written articles designed to win a specific set of keywords. As Google's search engine has gotten smarter, its web crawler software, casually called the "Googlebot," has also evolved in terms of how it indexes data.


But what if you could tell Googlebot the story of your website so it doesn't have to make any assumptions? This is possible through the use of structured data, or as Google describes it, a set of "clues" provided to its crawler about what defines your content. Using schema, or a vocabulary you share with Google about every page on your site, you can tell Googlebot the story of your content in human language. Let's make sure it's a good one.

The Importance of Crawl Budget

To better understand the importance of structured data, it's important to revisit the importance of Google's crawl budget. Your crawl budget is the number of pages on your website that Googlebot crawls in a certain time frame.

According to Search Engine Land, page speed and crawl budget are the most important ranking indicators for search in 2020. For the purposes of this overview, we're going to focus on crawl budget only.

It's important to note that crawl budget and load time go hand in hand because the faster your site speed is, the quicker Googlebot can crawl your content. To learn how we power some of the fastest-loading pages on the open web, click here.

Your website's crawl budget is exactly that: budgeted. You only have a limited amount of time to prove your site's relevancy to Googlebot. In fact, our friend Googlebot is so particular that it will actually be less inclined to crawl your website again if it experiences pages it deems to be low quality. And if your site isn't getting indexed, it isn't ranking on search at all. This is why high-quality structured data is so critical.

Quality content is still your biggest weapon. E-A-T is a human-centered approach to creating content that performs well on search. Click here for more information.

There are a lot of factors that can contribute to a low-quality ranking, including 404s, duplicate content, too many redirects, and, of course, poor site structure. Google's Structured Data Testing Tool is the best way to address most of these issues. By making sure every page on your site is organized with the correct schema markup, you will likely uncover examples of technical errors that need addressing at the same time.

Secure Your Ranking With Structured Data

In Google's own words, structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page's content. For example, on a recipe page, what are the ingredients, the cooking time and temperature, the calories, and so on. The search engine even has its own support and integration guidelines around it. Click here to read these rules. By following Google's structured data guidelines, you're giving the search engine explicit clues about the meaning of your pages.

Google Search liaison John Mueller recently said that structured data is not a direct ranking factor in search. However, it is used by Google to show more relevant search results, which in turn brings more users to your pages. This is the enduring nuisance of modern SEO — there isn't one path to Google's page one, but a checklist of technical and content-driven points to tick off helps secure the right strategy.

Valid structured data will also make your content eligible for graphical search results, also known as rich results. This will show your page's relevance and value to potential readers before they even click on your page:

Examples of rich results on Google Search.

Structured data can and should be added to every product page, image, and/or media element on your site.

An example of how structured data can create rich results on Google Images. This example shows the importance of structured data on individual product pages. From Google.

Weave Structured Data Into Your Strategy

As you can see from the examples covered above, combing through every page on your website to make sure your schema is pristine can be a big task on top of all the other work it takes to keep your content lifecycle going.

On the RebelCMS, our out-of-the-box integration populates all of the standard schema data for you. This means every RebelMouse site automatically populates key structured data so that Google can better understand your site. This, in turn, optimizes your page to win in the search results. This works not only on desktop and mobile, but the data also gets populated for Google's AMP format.

Here's a screenshot of a live example of just how organized a RebelMouse article page is right from the start.

You can also populate structured data from our Layout & Design tool for article pages, videos, images, and lead media:

Click here to learn more about our out-of-the-box structured data integration. And click the following links to learn more about our structured data for videos and lead media.

Secure your ranking on Google with an effortless structured data strategy. Request a proposal today to get started.

Why RebelMouse Is the Best Content Marketing Platform

RebelMouse is a unique platform and company. The company was founded on the vision that media companies would need an always-modern solution to thrive in the new connected internet, and that brands would have to behave like new media companies and use the same platforms.

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Why Premium Creative Agencies and CTOs Choose to Develop on RebelMouse vs. WordPress and Drupal

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We started RebelMouse seven years ago knowing that there was a fundamental design flaw in the world of traditional CMSs: Every instance, on every platform, had to be updated independently. It's similar to an era when users had to manage their own Microsoft Exchange Server for email. The costs of managing, maintaining, and iterating on a CMS to keep it awesome and world class is typically a $10 million-a-year endeavor. But even then, these cost-prohibitive CMSs are still behind the times.

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Native Multivariate Testing at Scale With RebelMouse

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There are many popular tools that allow you to perform experiments and A/B tests on your users — primarily Google Chrome Experiments and Optimizely. But all of these solutions are JavaScript additions to your web page that sidestep the problem of old, outdated, and clumsy CMSs. These solutions work by calling on a third-party JavaScript library that rewrites a page after it's rendered. This approach adds extra page weight and creates strange user experiences due to having to wait for everything to load and be rewritten on the fly.

At RebelMouse, we've solved this in a very elegant way. At the core level of our platform, we can natively render different layouts and track the exact differences in performance when comparing a test to your other layouts.

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Create Modular + Reusable Design Patterns on RebelMouse

Content saturation is an industry-wide problem, and the e-commerce space is no exception given that it's filled with big brands, small Etsy stores, and everyone in between all fighting for similar audiences. The best way to fight this symptom is to understand your audience and provide them with what they want.

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Instagram-style E-commerce Features on RebelMouse

Revolutionizing E-commerce on RebelMouse

Whether you're a brand with a blog or a media company with a site, driving purchasing behavior and building an audience that uses your content to find things they love to buy is vital. We're very proud to have built out the same functionality that everyone is now used to on Instagram, with layovers on images that lead to products with attribution.

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Building Premium Communities and User Journeys on RebelMouse

RebelMouse is much more than just a replacement for a traditional CMS. Our platform is a tremendous community-building experience. Today's social ecosystem has given us a seemingly limitless number of premium creators who understand how to create gorgeous and relevant content that drives the growth of their own audiences. These creators and influencers are either experts in certain topics, or heavily engaged in targeted content that drives their interests. They're not only consuming the content they're passionate about, but they're contributing to the conversation, too. The new role of the editor is not just to cover the most important topics and people around their expertise, but also to invite those preferred influencers into their community and get them to participate in creating premium content.

Read our deck here...

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Dynamic Voting: Grow Traffic and Engagement Organically

Help your audience find its voice.

Creating quality content is no longer on marketers alone. We live in a universe of creators who are willing to not only consume content that resonates, but play a role in the creation, promotion, and conversations surrounding it.

Since the start of RebelMouse, we've been on a journey to create dynamic media that is easier for content creators to curate and amplify on social. It's why we've built an online engagement platform centered around the power of communities that thrive naturally in the digital ecosystem.

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How to Monetize Your Website in Today’s Publishing Environment

In order to define distributive publishing, we have to ask the following question: If you have quality content, but nobody sees it, does it even exist? The answer is no, because your content needs to be supported in a way that lets it move seamlessly across all channels, especially site, search, and social. But let's take this question a step further: If you can't monetize your content to generate the support it needs, how do you create quality content in the first place?

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RebelMouse Outperforms Every Other CMS. Here’s the Data to Prove It.

Our Core Web Vitals drastically outpace every competitor, and we have the receipts

In an effort to build user retention and increase conversions, publishers are making a common mistake. They're adding more features to their websites, including ad placements, but losing sight of the main revenue driver: user experience.

The key to unlocking user retention lies completely in site performance. Currently, publishers are trying to build optimized websites that translate easily across devices and platforms, but fail to deliver an experience that checks all their boxes and prioritizes their readers. It takes less than a second of delayed load time to turn away a user. This is why Google has made page speed a top ranking factor on search, and shepherded the entire open web's newfound prioritization on site performance.

Game Changer: Google's Core Web Vitals Announcement

Google cemented its seriousness about page experience with the announcement of its Core Web Vitals measurements in Google Search Console. Core Web Vitals are three specific metrics that Google uses to determine a site's overall usability. While these data points will evolve over time, the 2020 version of vitals consists of three specific metrics:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): A website's LCP is the time it takes to load the main content on a page. Google wants LCP to happen within 2.5 seconds of when a page first starts loading.

First Input Delay (FID): This metric quantifies a user's experience when trying to interact with unresponsive pages. This usually occurs between First Meaningful Paint (FMP) and Time to Interactive (TTI) (more on what these two mean below). You want your FID score to be low to prove the usability of your site. According to Google, pages should haven an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.

Cumulative Layout Shift Score (CLS): CLS determines how often your users experience unexpected layout shifts or changes on a page. To ensure visual stability, you want your CLS score to be low. Google wants pages to maintain a CLS score of less than 0.1.

From Google.

Google says Core Web Vitals scores will be considered across every page, and will be a ranking factor in its Top Stories feature. While relevant quality content will always be the most important, the page experience ranking is now a make-or-break metric for your site's survival.

"A good page experience doesn't override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search."

—From Google's page experience announcement, May 2020

Core Web Vitals will determine every site's performance score. You can see your site's Core Web Vitals specifically via Google Search Console, but your website's overall page performance is measured using Google's PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse tools.

At RebelMouse, we guarantee a performance score of 90 or higher via PageSpeed Insights. To do this, we've built out a platform infrastructure that exceeds industry standards on Google's key metrics, particularly its Core Web Vitals, outperforming most industry leaders.

You can read more about how we've mastered Google's KPIs here. But the truth is in the data. Below is table that provides a snapshot into how RebelMouse-powered sites score:

And here's what the scores look like for some of the biggest sites on the open web:

As you can see, there's a lot of data Google takes into account even outside of Core Web Vitals. Here's a quick summary of the other important metrics that Google trusts to measure page performance:

First Contentful Paint (FCP): This metric measures the time from click to the time when a user's browser renders the first bit of content from the Document Object Model (DOM), which is your site's HTML structure. According to Google, this is an important milestone for your readers because it provides signals that your page is loading.

First Meaningful Paint (FMP): This is the amount of time it takes the most important content, what Google calls "hero elements," to load on site. Hero elements are different for every site, but should be intuitive based on your content. This metric helps determine your site's usability.

Time to Interactive (TTI): This is the most important metric to keep an eye on. This is when the site is fully rendered and ready for user action. This is a critical point when slow load time can occur, usually because JavaScript or other complex content hasn't fully rendered. So, in short, think of TTI as how long it takes for your site to load in its entirety.

Total Blocking Time (TBT): TBT measures a page's load responsiveness to quantify how long a page is non-interactive prior to becoming interactive. You want your site to have a low TBT to maintain its usability.

Speed Index (SI): SI is the measurement of how quickly the contents of a page are populated. You want your speed index score to be as low as possible.

Creating quality content is only half the battle in 2020, and publishers are already burdened with the around-the-clock task of creating content that resonates. This is why quality content must be supported by modern technology that can keep up with the speed of the web. RebelMouse provides publishers with a CMS that supports the new content lifecycle with an editorial suite designed for reach on site, search, and social.

Click here to read more about our modern approach to web performance. If you want to make performance a priority, request a proposal today. We can easily transform your site into one of the fastest on the web, giving you increased user retention and better conversion rates than ever before.

A Modern Story of Web Performance From RebelMouse Founder + CEO Andrea Breanna

If I had more time, this website would have loaded faster

In the first months of 2020, we've focused at RebelMouse on page speed and performance. We worked very hard and found ways to take 90% of the sites we power to 90+ performance scores via Google's PageSpeed Insights tool — even with sites that are loaded with ads, embeds, third-party analytics, and other typical slow-loading elements. You can read more about our victories here.

A few months after we started this process, COVID-19 hit the world very hard. Suddenly, every media company was faced with a huge problem: Advertising fell off a cliff in what seemed like seconds. The only way to survive this unprecedented downturn is to grow traffic and control costs at the same time. So we started to shave our code and made our websites faster. We dropped costs just as dramatically as we were increasing scores.

Here are some surprises we found when doing this: If you want truly exceptional performance, none of the JavaScript and CSS frameworks that developers love so much make the cut. We thought the React version of RebelMouse was going to be the huge page speed breakthrough, until we realized the only way to achieve this goal was to write the code carefully and refactor it endlessly until it was as short as possible. As any author will tell you, like editing a book or a blog post, the revision process is never really done. By stepping away from frameworks, and methodically shaving vanilla code, our customers continue to see major improvements in performance.

As we announced this to our site network and rolled it out publicly, many of our clients asked me personally, "How did you do it?" The answer is easy to understand regardless of how technical you may be. It's perfectly summarized in this wonderful quote attributed to Mark Twain:

"If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter."
—Blaise Pascal, 1657 (and later, more famously Mark Twain)

The universe is sometimes very beautiful, and especially when you keep it simple. If you would like to start publishing on a site optimized for both speed and sustainability, request a proposal and let's start working together.

Google Launches Journalism Emergency Relief Fund for COVID-19 Publishers

Through the Google News Initiative, relief fund aids news outlets covering the virus

Small and medium-sized news organizations producing original content about the COVID-19 pandemic for their local communities could be eligible for money from Google.

The search engine announced a global Journalism Emergency Relief Fund through the Google News Initiative to support journalism during the crisis. Funds will range from the low thousands to tens of thousands depending on the size of the newsroom, according to Google.

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