What is Structured Data and Why Does it Matter for SEO

Structured Data Featured Image

What is Structured Data and Why Does it Matter for SEO?

In our On Page SEO post, we discussed different techniques on optimizing your website to rank on Google SERP, one of that is Structured Data. As promised I am going to create a new post regarding this as this requires a lot of information for you to better understand it.

Like just I said on our On Page post, structured data is data that has been organized into a formatted repository, typically a database so that its elements can be made addressable for more efficient processing and analysis. A data structure is a kind of repository that organizes information for that purpose. Structured data helps Google understand your content better. It is an element that can be added to your website that your visitor cannot be seen. It’s a code that Google is using to understand what your site or content is all about. Is an important signal if you want your site to be visible within search features.

As a basic definition, there are 3 parts to a website: text, markup, and structured data.

  • The text is the content
  • Markup shows the browser how the text should look
  • Structured data tells bots such as Google what the data is. Structured data can not only make your website look better but it can help search engines categorize your website as well. A lot of times the benefits of structured data aren’t very obvious, but as your understanding of SEO evolves it becomes more evident that it should be an integral part of any SEO plan.

In general, search engines want to read and crawl data that is organized (i.e. “structured”) so that they can more efficiently crawl your website. Normal HTML markup can’t be easily read by crawlers. For instance, they can tell that text is big and blue, but they can’t tell that that text is a recipe or a review. With structured data, Google and other crawlers are more easily able to crawl your website and figure out the topical relevancy of your website. It is becoming a very hot topic for SEO’s all over the world, in all industries and almost mandatory for some industries.

How does structured data support SEO?

Google, Bing, and other search engines encourage webmasters to use structured data and incentivize that usage by providing benefits to websites with structured data correctly implemented.

Some of these benefits include search result enhancements and content-specific features, such as:

  • Rich search results: Includes styling, images, and other visual enhancements
  • Rich cards: A variation on rich search results, similar to rich snippets and designed for mobile users
  • Enriched search results: Includes interactive or immersive features
  • Knowledge Graph: Information about an entity such as a brand
  • Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs in your search result
  • Carousels: A collection of multiple rich results in a carousel style
  • Rich results for AMP: To have your AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) appear in carousels and with rich results, you’ll need to include structured data

Sample of Structured Data Knowledge Graph

Google Knowledge Graph Image

Rich snippets and rich cards

The most commonly used markup allows you to provide additional context for:

  • Articles
  • Recipes
  • Products
  • Star Ratings and Product Reviews
  • Videos
  • and so much more

Using this markup allows your site to show up in the SERPs as a rich snippet or rich card:

Structured Data Sample Image

In total there are 1000’s of types of structured data schemas that you can use, visit this Schema website for the complete list.

3 SYNTAX OF STRUCTURED DATA

  • RDFa

    RDFa stands for Resource Descriptive Framework in Attributes. It is a form of code that can be added to any HTML, XHTML, and XML-based document.

RDFa’s attributes include:

  • about – to specify the resource the metadata is about
  • rel and rev – to specify a relationship and reverse relationship with another resource
  • srchref, and resource – to specify a partner resource
  • content – to override the content of the element when using the property attributes
  • datatype – to specify the datatype of text specified for use with the property attribute
  • typeof – to specify the RDF type of the subject or the partner resource
  • Microdata

Microdata implementation is similar to RDFa, and its attributes include the following:

  • itemscope – to create the item and indicate that the rest of the element contains information about it
  • itemtype – to describe the item and properties with a valid URL of a vocabulary (for example, “https://schema.org”)
  • itemprop – to indicate that the containing tag has the value of a specified item property (ex, itemprop=”name”)
  • itemid – to indicate a unique identifier of the item
  • itemref – to reference properties of an element that are not contained in the itemscope. This provides a list of element ids with more properties elsewhere in the document
  • JASON/LD

JSON-LD stands for Javascript Object Notation for Linked Objects. This style of annotation can implement schema by pasting directly in the <head> or <body> tag of a web document. The notation uses “@context” and “@type” attributes to specify the vocabulary (schema.org).

Example of Jason/LD

<script type=”application/ld+json”>
{“@context”:”http://schema.org/”,
“@type”: “Book”,
“name”: “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”,
“author”: “Rowling, JK”,
“offers”:{“itemOffered”: “#record”}}
</script>

How to add Schema to Your Website

If your site is running on WordPress, you can just download and install the structured data plugin. One that I recommend is Schema Pro. If your site is not running WordPress, you just go to the structured data generator tool, just select the business type of your site or the site you are working on, supply necessary details, copy the code, head to your page/post where you want to put your structured data.

Additionally, you can add Structured data to your website using the Google Tag Manager.

Schema Markup Checker

After you’ve added schema to your HTML, you can test the markups with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Just drag and drop your webpage or line of code to test for any errors or warnings.

Now you should have a clear understanding of Structured data, understanding Structured data takes a lot of practice so go ahead and practice using the link given above.

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