How to Use SmartCrawl’s Schema Types Builder: Advanced Features

How to Use SmartCrawl’s Schema Types Builder: Advanced Features

This article introduces you to advanced features of SmartCrawl that will help make configuring supported complex schema types on your WordPress site easier.

SmartCrawl Schema Types Builder
Say hello to SmartCrawl’s Schema Types Builder’s advanced features.

Schema markup is code that helps search engines understand your content better and return more informative results for users in search results.

SmartCrawl, our free WordPress SEO plugin, offers full support for default schema types.

In this article, we’ll cover the following advanced features of SmartCrawl’s Schema Types Builder that will make it easier to work with the more complex schema types supported by the plugin:

Let’s jump right in…

Use Nested Properties in Schema Types

Schema properties can be simple or complex.

An example of a simple property is the Article Headline, which only requires a simple string value.

SmartCrawl: Schema Type Property - Article Headline
An Article Headline is an example of a simple schema property type.

On the other hand, complex properties consist of sub-properties, where each sub-property can have further sub-properties.

An example of a complex property type would be Article Publisher.

Schema type - Publisher
Schema type – Publisher.

Whereas a Headline accepts a simple string value, the Publisher property requires a complex entity of Organization type as its value.

The Organization type consists of multiple sub-properties, some of which are themselves complex types also consisting of sub-properties.

In SmartCrawl’s Schema Types Builder, this is represented as a tidy nested structure that helps you wrap your head around complex types and manage them with ease.

Article schema type with nested Publisher and Contact Point sub-properties.
Article schema type with nested Publisher and Contact Point sub-properties.

Add a Collection Using Repeaters

As you work with schema, you will often come across situations wherein it is valid to provide a collection of items for a property instead of a single item.

For such situations, SmartCrawl provides repeaters in its schema builder. Simply press the + button to add new items. There is no limit to the number of items you can include using repeaters.

For example you can click the + button repeatedly to add multiple reviews under the review property of Product schema type.

Schema property: Reviews - repeater
Use repeaters to add multiple items to schema types, like product reviews.

When you test the page in Google’s Rich Results Test tool you will see that all your reviews are individually recognized.

Another common use of repeaters is the Images property in the Article schema type.

Schema: Images property
Use the repeater feature to add multiple Images in the Schema Type Builder.

Make a Schema Your Own with Type Switching

One of the things that make schema confusing for many people is that one property can accept two or more entirely different entities as value.

For example, according to Google’s documentation, the Product offers property accepts either a collection of Offer objects or a single AggregateOffer representing all available offers as a single object.

Schema - Offers
Some schema sub-properties like Product offers accept multiple property choices.

SmartCrawl’s schema builder simplifies this complexity with a simple user interface that allows you to switch between available property types at the push of a button.

Product Offers - Property Type Switching feature.
Type switching lets you easily switch to the type that’s right for your needs.

Clicking the Change button opens up a dialog with all the available types that you can switch your property type to.

Change property type
Simply select one of the available types and click the “Change” button…that’s all there is to it!

The builder is also flexible enough to allow you to switch the type of a property located inside a repeater:

Change the type of this property.
Switch property types inside repeaters.

Make Schema Types Richer with Loops

While repeaters are definitely useful, sometimes there’s just too much data to add and it’s not possible to manually add each item into the schema builder. Not only that, but you have to continually make sure that data entered manually into the builder is in sync with the rest of your website.

Using the above Product example, repeaters allow you to add all your reviews to a product schema type, but what happens if you delete a review from your website?

With a repeater your only option would be to open the schema builder and delete the review there as well. As you can imagine, this is less than ideal.

Luckily, there is a much better way to achieve the same thing using a loop.

In programming, loops are a powerful tool that allow you to go through each item in a collection in turn and perform operations on it.

If this sounds scary, don’t worry. With SmartCrawl, you won’t need to hire a WordPress developer to do loops for you. Instead, we automatically include loops to make your schema types richer.

For example, you can add the optional Comments loop while working with the Article schema type.

To do this, simply click on the + Add Property button…

+ Add Property
Click the button to add a property.

In the Add Properties popup screen, select Comments and click + Add.

Schema: Add Property - Comments
Select Comments and click the button to add this property to your Article schema type.

This will insert a Comments block that will repeat for each post comment.

Schema property - Comments
A Comments block.

The above Comments block looks similar to all others but it’s different because instead of representing a single comment, it represents the list of all available post comments. Any changes you make in this block will be applied to each comment on the post.

If you test the post in Google’s Rich Results Test you will see each post comment individually represented.

Google Rich Results Test - Comments
Google Rich Results Test individually represents each comment in your post.

Easily Select Property Specific Values

For some properties, only certain values provided by Google or Schema.org are considered valid.

For example, take the Employment Type property available in Job Posting schema type. According to Google, you must use one of the following values, otherwise your schema will be considered invalid:

Job Posting Schema - Employment type
Certain properties require values, otherwise, the schema will be invalidated.

SmartCrawl includes the valid options for such properties into the Schema Type Builder, saving you the time and hassle of having to copy text back and forth.

Schema - Employment Type dropdown options.
SmartCrawl saves you time with built-in valid options added to properties that require values to be selected, like Employment Type.

Add Useful (But Not Critical) Optional Properties

If you sift through the documentation on Schema.org, you will notice the hundreds of first-level properties available for each schema type.

Screenshot of Schema.org documentation screen.
Schema types can have many first level properties. (Source: Schema.org)

What’s more, there is no indication which properties are important and which ones are not. It’s enough to make your head spin!

To keep things simple, SmartCrawl only displays the properties that are required by Google in its documentation. Other properties that might be useful but are not critical are hidden away as optional properties. To add them, just click the “Add Property” button.

For example, here are the optional properties for the Article schema type:

Schema: Add Properties - Article type
You can find optional (but not required) properties for each schema type in the Add Properties screen.

Keeping less important properties tucked away lets you focus on what’s important instead of being overwhelmed.

Check How Google Sees Your Schema with Validation

SmartCrawl lets you delete any property that you think is not suitable for your website.

Delete schema type property
Click on the trash icon to delete a schema type property.

However, if you delete a property required by Google, your schema might become invalid and prevent your markup from qualifying for Google’s rich results.

Fortunately, SmartCrawl’s schema builder will warn you if this happens and show you exactly where the problem is.

For example, suppose you delete the Author Name from your Article schema type.

First, you will get a warning message:

Delete property confirmation
If you try to delete a property that is required by Google, you will be asked to confirm this.

If you choose to go ahead anyway and delete the property type, you will then see a notice like this:

Property removed notice.
SmartCrawl displays notices like this when required properties are removed from your schema type.

Expanding the schema type will reveal that the problem exists in the Author property…

Missing schema property alert
Missing schema property alert.

Expanding the Author property and clicking the Add Property button within will then show you exactly which property(ies) you need to add for your schema to qualify for inclusion in Google’s rich results.

Add Properties - missing property
Include missing properties to make sure your content is eligible to display in Google’s rich results.

SmartCrawl – The Schema Redeemer

SmartCrawl’s Schema Type Builder includes a number of useful features that will help you save time when working with more complex schema types.

See our documentation for more details on using the plugin’s Schema Type Builder and check out these schema posts for how-to tutorials on using schemas with SmartCrawl:

Also, feel free to contact our 24/7 support team and visit our member’s forum if you need additional help or have questions…happy scheming!

Have you tried SmartCrawl's Schema Types Builder yet? Share your comments below.
Hassan Akhtar
Hassan Akhtar Hassan Akhtar is the lead dev for SmartCrawl. In his free time he enjoys writing about his development adventures at WPGurus.net.
Martin Aranovitch
Martin Aranovitch Martin is a WordPress trainer and educator who believes that all problems in life can be solved using WordPress plugins. He is the author of "The Complete Step-By-Step WordPress User Manual" and runs a WordPress user training website at WPTrainingManual.com.