Schema App CEO Tips

What does it take to get to the top of search results and stay visible?

Martha van Berkel, co-founder and CEO of Schema App, gave a definitive answer in a SEJ podcast episode with Loren Baker: “You need to translate your content into the language of search engines.”

And that language is Adding this to your site makes it easier for search engines to understand your content.

But it can be intimidating to learn a new language, let alone do schema markup.

That’s why Martha and her husband, Mark van Berkel, started the Schema app: a tool that takes the complexity out of structured data to help organizations of all sizes strategically structure their content.

In this Q&A-style interview, Martha expands on the benefits of schema markup for businesses, the idea behind the Schema app, and her experience of effective leadership.

Getting started in SEO

What led you to a career in SEO?

Martha van Berkel: “After graduating from engineering and math, I started my career at Cisco in California.

As I progressed in my career there, I went from providing technical support and project management to starting a new organization and product management and then leading the product management team for the Cisco support website globally.

I was introduced to SEO when we discovered that customers were using Google to navigate our site and find key support documents and resources.

Internally, we were surprised that no one was using our search on the site!

As an entrepreneur, our first product was to help small and medium-sized businesses manage their online presence.

In the process of creating the product and providing services, I had to learn all the basics of SEO.

It was in 2015 that we decided our passion was in the area of ​​semantic search marketing and structured data, and then we dove right back in to become experts on how to do structured data and then how to do it at scale.

I love how the Schema App job of making structured data at scale works, incorporating a lot of my technical learning and change management experience from my early days at Cisco.”

The journey with the Schema application

The Schema application has grown a lot. How has the process been for your team?

MvB: “I am very proud of the Schema App team. We have come a long way since 2015 when we first released the Schema App and started our journey to make advanced and scalable schema markup.

We now have a team across Canada and we work together to enable our end-to-end scalable enterprise schema markup solution with expert support and measurable results.

The trip has been interesting. In December 2019, he was convinced that 2020 would be the year that schema markup made it into the top five SEO strategies to tackle. We have seen continued growth since then.

Our purpose is to build meaningful connections, in data and also with our clients and as a company. We used to live this purpose together in our office and now we have evolved into a flexible first culture where we build meaningful connections wherever we work.”

What is your favorite feature within the Schema app and why?

MvB: “I love our Highlighter! Why? Because it elegantly allows you to do complex, nested markup, at scale, without code.

And when the page content changes, it dynamically optimizes the new content! Fagot! Schematic markup to scale, without writing code.

As someone who wrote JSON-LD, produced it page by page, and faced the challenges of doing something at scale in an organization like Cisco, I think Highlighter is the perfect combination of sophistication and scalability.”

How do you see the Schema app evolving in the future to keep up with the recent changes in the SEO industry (algorithm changes, voice search, big resignation)? How will this empower entrepreneurs?

MvB: “Agility and ROI are two of the key values ​​we offer our enterprise customers: agility to change/update/respond when there is change.

We’ve built our solution and expert support so we can work with customers to prepare for and respond to these changes.

For example, we often look at mixed types of rich results so that there is diversity in case one becomes volatile.

We can also update the rich result settings if we find that one is performing better than the others.

With respect to the great resignation and as we enter a year of recession, I will focus on showing the ROI of structured data to our clients. We have integrated Schema Performance Analytics into our tools to show the results to our clients.

Within the Schema application, my focus as CEO is to create an environment where my team can thrive so they are motivated to come to work, constantly learning and seeing the value they bring to our customers.

This means we will continue to invest in our first flexible policy, semantic technology capabilities, and culture of building meaningful connections.

Companies that can create organizations where people thrive will not only reap the rewards of a highly motivated team, they will also be more productive and it will show in their interactions with their customers.

It is an exciting time to be leading a team and being able to create a workplace that is friendly and respectful and delivers amazing results.”

Scaling scheme for companies

What do you think is the most underrated business SEO tactic today?

MvB: “I am surprised by the number of companies that have adopted structured data. Why? Because it is an area of ​​SEO where you have an element of control, where you can manage how your results are displayed and how you guide your customers to your website from the SERP.

Having grown up in the company, I also understand why it’s difficult: lack of IT resources, too many priorities stifling the SEO team, or the sheer effort to do it at scale across the site/business units/stakeholders, etc. .

It is these difficult challenges (which I lived and breathed at Cisco) that make me love my work at Schema App. We built it to solve these problems and focus on delivering SEO results that ultimately bring them joy.”

How have machine learning and AI changed organic search, and how should companies adapt their approach moving forward?

MvB: “It was interesting to hear on the ‘Search off the Record: Structured Data’ podcast how Google uses machine learning to understand queries and then leverages structured data to improve or validate their findings.

Therefore, they are using machine learning to improve the results and therefore the search experience. This is great for organic search as queries will become more specific and thematic, requiring the company to take a more surgical approach to their content strategy, creating highly targeted content for a specific audience.

At Schema App, we see an opportunity for machine learning to make the experience of adopting structured data easier (and more automated). If we can use ML to suggest types and/or key properties, we can speed up adoption.

There is also an exciting opportunity to use machine learning and AI in the area of ​​insights into what content drives results.

Why does the company care? Well, if we can get insights into what content is working for whom, then executing that specific content strategy will be easier and more fruitful.

I’m also interested in how semantics will play a role not only in organic search, but also how marketing will leverage data to make decisions.

When you structure data correctly, you build a semantic graph with meaningful connections. The semantic graph shows how entities and information are connected and their related properties.

These charts can be reused to give context to other data, as long as there is shared ownership.

We’ve been exploring how you can reuse your graphic that we produce using Schema App to bring information from the web theme to customization, content platforms, and more.

The Schema application is based on semantic technology, so when we do the schema markup, we generate these powerful graphs.”

final thoughts

What advice do you have for female SEO professionals aspiring for a leadership position in the male-dominated tech industry?

MvB: “For female SEOs, I encourage you to do two things: find out what you’re amazing at and find a mentor.

First, find out what you’re really good at. This requires hard work and self-reflection. Explore where you find the flow or type of work you gravitate toward.

Once you do, lean into it and explore a leadership role that takes advantage of this amazing skill or talent.

For example, one of my superpowers is getting people excited about a new concept or idea.

So when I had the opportunity to present and build an organization at Cisco, I loved it, Y It gave me the exposure I needed to get into my next leadership role.

Second, find a mentor. This mentor should be someone who sees your potential and is also willing to mentor you as you grow.

No athlete would dream of reaching the highest levels of sport without a coach, so why would you do anything different in business?

Ideally, this mentor is also an influential person in your organization or industry. They can then train you, get to know you as they mentor you, and then open doors for you as you grow.

For both to work, you have to do the hard work of self-reflection and then have a growth mindset to learn from every good and bad experience.”

More resources:

Featured Image: Courtesy of Martha van Berkel/Schema App

Leave a Comment