Einstein Law Blog News & Product Updates from Einstein Law

Legalese v. Google-ese: What You Need to Know About "Schema"

Schema code and the Google traffic cop

Lawyers are often chastised for the overuse of legalese. However, a lawyer who lacks fluency in legal jargon will have an incredibly hard time finding success in the field. 

"Google-ese" is much the same. Internet professionals using terms such as "schema" and "metadata" leave outsiders scratching their heads in confusion. This post will explain what "schema" is and how it works for legal professionals.

Fluency in "Google-ese" is critical for keeping your website out of traffic court. Here's why:

Google-ese and the Importance of Schema

Google can be described as the most significant and benevolent traffic cop on the Internet, directing its users to quality locations and away from less-than-savory locations. The search engine giant is constantly enhancing its ability to distinguish and deliver quality content. A fundamental component of this process is accurate communication of "schema" data from the site to the search engine.

Imagine driving in a foreign country in which you do not speak the language nor know the traffic laws. How helpful would you find the road signs? Is it possible that you would unintentionally violate local traffic laws? Of course! Now picture your interaction with the traffic cop after you violate a law. You would face penalties despite being unaware of the local laws ... what a mess!

Enter Schema.org

Fortunately, the major Internet traffic cops Google, Bing, and Yahoo want to align their "language" with that of the multitude of websites on the Internet in order to produce the highest quality search results. Accordingly, these major search engines support Schema.org, a collaborative organization built in an effort to standardize the vocabulary used by web designers.

Schema is defined as an "underlying organizational pattern or structure; conceptual framework."

How Schema Works for Your Practice

Schema (which you now know as an important element of Google-ese) is code that we build into our clients' websites that allows search engines to recognize and potentially display additional information on their practices within search results. The proper application of schema markup ensures that our clients' websites send clear signals to Google. These signals are used to determine whether a website is trustworthy, so you don't want to risk poor translation. 

Why is this important? Web pages with schema markup:

  1. Tend to rank higher in Google search results
  2. Have the potential to produce more compelling search results than competitors who are not using schema markup

Schema and the Rich Snippet

Now for a case study. Google's term for listings in its search results page is "snippet." Snippets are the various suggestions delivered based on your search, like the example below when searching for personal injury attorney. 

The basic Google snippet displays the name of the website, its URL, and a brief description.

Now let's see the difference between a basic snippet and a rich snippet. When schema markup is used correctly, your site has a better chance of producing rich snippets in search engine results. While you cannot completely control which aspects are displayed by Google, it is imperative to provide this information so you do not miss an opportunity to outshine the competition. 

This rich snippet includes links to several key pages on the firm's website, allowing consumers to quickly access key information on your site that will help answer their need:

Without Schema

With Schema

And now for an exciting opportunity. Unlike Google Ads, rich snippets cost nothing more than the time and expertise that goes into optimizing your website. Notice how the Snyder & Sarno snippet expands when a prospective client clicks on the entry. Directions to the office, office hours, reviews, photos, and additional information jump onto the screen and eclipse the paid ads on the right bar. This website is clearly speaking the language of the Internet's biggest traffic cop. 

Caution: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

As with legalese, it is dangerous to assume the definition of terms and the ramifications of using them if you are not fluent in the language. Remember that the traffic cop will penalize you regardless of your prior knowledge of the traffic laws.

Incorrect application of schema on your website can negatively impact your efforts. It is vitally important to work with a professional who is well-versed in Google-ese to maximize the communication between your website and the Internet traffic cops. 

Want to know more? Check out Schema: Understanding the Opportunity for more details.