17 Oct What is Structured Data?
One of the fundamentals of SEO is making sure your website is properly structured in its basic code so that it’s easy for search engines to parse its content and to understand it. Structured data is just one aspect of your website code, but it’s important to get it right to ensure your pages are properly optimised.
The concept is actually very simple. You don’t necessarily need to learn any coding skills to use structured data, but it’s important to understand exactly what this concept is, and why it’s so important for SEO.
Structured Data Basics for SEO
Structured data describes a management system used for organising data. In website development, this data is used to provide information to search engines about the type of content on each page. This information helps search engines to understand your web pages better so that they know when each page is relevant to a particular keyword search.
Google structured data is also used to display additional information in the SERPS. When you carry out Google search, you may see datasets like recipes and company information listed separately to the main search results. This organisation is based upon the structured data in the code of each web page listed.
Rich snippets are another example of how structured data works. This is when data is displayed in the form of additional information, such as images and star ratings, rather than just the standard page description derived from unstructured data. These rich results are attention-grabbing and tend to have a higher click-through rate than normal snippets, so they can be a huge SEO boost.
Types of Structured Data
Just like there are many different programming languages, there are a number of types of structured data.
Microdata and JSON-LD are two common types of structured data. JSON-LD is the type recommended by Google, and so it makes sense to stick to this version.
Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex collaborated to produce a set of standardised HTML tags that website owners and developers can add to their page code, which may be displayed in the SERPS. This is called Schema.org markup.
Open Graph is another kind of structured data and is used by Facebook to find relevant information on a web page, such as image and description. You can deploy Open Graph and Schema markup together in your code.
How to Add Structured Data to Your Site
You can use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to generate the code you need to add structured data to your web pages.
This simple tool prompts you to choose the data type that best describes the content of your page (articles, events, products, book reviews etc.), as well as the URL of your web page.
You can then choose the specific items you want to tag, select the type of information you want to include as, and the tool will generate the HTML code you need. Simply paste this code into your web page header.
Google also has a tool you can use to test if your markup is working correctly.
If you have a WordPress site, there are also plugins you can use to insert the code for you. Or if this all sounds too technical, you can use a web development company or an SEO agency to handle the hard work for you. If you want to see whether it has already been implemented on your site, you can conduct an SEO audit to see what is already in place.