What is Automotive Schema Markup?
Automotive schema markup refers to the different types of schematic markup that are applied to a car dealers website.
Generally in the automotive industry, schematic markup is done at the website vendor level. Most major website vendors do not use all available schema types on their automotive websites.
Schematic markup at it's core is code snippets added to website to structure the data in such a way that search engines and robots can easily understand what each data point means. You can think of schema markup as a universal way to tell Google and Bing what your data represents. Each set of data can be represented by different kinds of schema.
AutoDealer schema is a new kind of schema that is a subset of Organization schema as well as Places schema. This schema type lets search engines, maps, and local business directories know exactly what you business does. AutoDealer schema has more than 50 different data points including business logo, geo-coordinates, and contact information. For more information about the schema type and it's different fields, you can visit the schema.org website here.
Other types of schema markup for car dealer websites
AutoDealer isn't the only schema markup that can be used on a website. To the contrary, you can add many more schema types to make your organic search results much more robust. WebSite, WebPage, Car, Star Rating, and Event schema are just a few different kinds of schema that can be added to automotive website code.
In the example below, you can see an example of a search result with different types of schema are being used:
Which automotive website vendors use schema?
As of May 2018, we didn't see any major car dealer website vendors using AutoDealer schema. Some vendors use hCard microdata, which has now be depreciated. That means Google no longer recognizes that data as valid. We tested Dealer.com, CDK, Remora, Dealer Insight, and DealerEProcess.
How can I check to see what schema is on my website?
You can check to see which kinds of schema are being used on your website by visiting Google's Structured Data Testing Tool. Keep in mind that different pages on your website might have different kinds of schema on them. For example, your homepage might have AutoDealer and LocalBusiness schema, while your VDP's might have Car and Star Rating schema. Make sure you test the URL of one of your VDPs to test this.
Does my dealership need schema markup?
Long story short, yes. You need to let Google know that you sell vehicles and also what each data point means on your website. Inventory management tools like vAuto normalize VIN data. Once the feed goes on to your website, Google needs to be able to identify different features of each item through the use of schema.
Below is an example of an organic search result before and after using various kinds of schema:
What is Position Zero?
Position zero refers to a featured snippet. A featured snippet is an except of data that Google thinks will help to answer your question. You have probably seen a featured snippet when searching on Google. They normally appear above both paid and organic results and are contained in a box. Featured snippets are used to provide immediate answers to many different topics.
Doing a search for "best ford lease deals", we find a featured snippet at position zero:
How do you get to Position Zero?
Google uses schema markup to formulate featured snippets. In order to for your dealership to show up for a featured snippet, you need well-executed schematic markup applied to your specified web page. Featured snippets can be many different types of data or answers, each one structured precisely so Google knows exactly how to interpret what it reads on your dealer website.
What are the benefits of schema for car dealers?
Organic traffic is the number one driver of website leads and phone calls for most dealerships in the United States. Using schema is a relatively new concept for most automotive digital marketing outfits. This is mainly because in the past, updating schema on a dealers website involved going through the vendor to place the code. If you have ever dealt with a car dealer website vendor, you'll know they are never eager to change their core code.
If you markup your existing data so that Google can easily interpret it's structure, you will be rewarded with higher organic rankings.
How can I get schema markup on my automotive website?
Schema markup can be manually applied to your website code, or programmatically using JSON-LD. Keep in mind that schema markup is not a light undertaking and must be done correctly.
One of the core features of all of our SEO packages is schema. We use 7 different types of schema on a dealerships website. We use a new method of placing schema that doesn't require website vendors to change their code. Our solution goes in systematically and defines your website data so Google can read it more easily.
Get a free consultation today, and we will let you know exactly where you rank organically.