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.
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:
- Use Nested Properties in Schema Types
- Add a Collection Using Repeaters
- Make a Schema Your Own with Type Switching
- Make Schema Types Richer with Loops
- Easily Select Property Specific Values
- Add Useful (But Not Critical) Optional Properties
- Check How Google Sees Your Schema with Validation
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Clicking the Change button opens up a dialog with all the available types that you can switch your property type to.
The builder is also flexible enough to allow you to switch the type of a property located inside a repeater:
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…
In the Add Properties popup screen, select Comments and click + Add.
This will insert a Comments block that will repeat for each post comment.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
If you choose to go ahead anyway and delete the property type, you will then see a notice like this:
Expanding the schema type will reveal that the problem exists in the Author property…
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.
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!