Structured data, by definition, is a code format used to markup the information on your website, so the search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! will understand what your web pages are all about – as they read your structured data in SEO, they will display your website in the search results in a richer and more specific way.
Therefore, using structured data for SEO will help you get more attention from your target audience if you rank closely on top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) with your competitors.
Take a look at the sample search results display below:
The first search result is a web page that is apparently built with structured data as it shows not only the title, URL, and meta description of the page, but also the image, the star rating, the number of reviews, and how long does the recipe take to finish – this kind of data is called rich snippets.
Having a rich snippet in search results will make your website stand out among your competitors, thanks to structured data.
Also, rich snippets are not the only visual advantage that structured data can bring for your website – there are rich cards, knowledge graphs, and a host carousel, which we’ll talk about later.
What are the Different Formats of Structured Data in SEO?
You see, there are three different major formats of structured data in SEO that you can use on your website – JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa.
JSON-LD is commonly used in the web page header and is widely recommended as it is one of the markups of Schema.org – a semantic vocabulary of microdata, also known as tags that you can add to your web page’s HTML to improve the way the page is represented in the SERPs.
JSON-LD is also the most preferred structured data format by Google because it does not easily break a website, unlike other markups.
Microdata utilizes the “itemprop” and “itemtype” HTML attributes to highlight relevant values and items on your web page.
RDFa, on the other hand, utilizes the “property” and “typeof” HTML attributes when highlighting essential values and items on your web page.
Now, remember that the different formats of structured data in SEO may be utilizing different HTML attributes. Still, any format is used to tell the search engines what the critical elements of your web page are to understand better what the page is all about. So, it depends on you and your web and SEO team which format to implement on your website.
What Web Page Items Do We Need to Markup with Structured Data?
There are heaps of valuable information and items in each of your web page that needs some marking up.
However, it can be a bit overwhelming. So, we recommend that you check the list in Schema.org, which shows all of the items that can be marked up when creating a web page’s structured data for SEO.
But the most common items that are supported by the search engines, especially Google, are the following:
- Product listing
- Local business
- Movie & Television Show
- Critic Review
How Does Structured Data Affect SEO?
The search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing, prefer to display web pages built with structured data in the SERPs.
So, utilizing structured data affects your SEO positively by getting content-specific features and search result enhancements for your website, such as:
Securing a Knowledge Graph
Knowledge graphs are essential if you want to increase the visibility of your business or personal brand. Google shows information in the graph based on the structured data applied to your website. So, you can edit the info easily if you want to improve the things that appear on the right-hand side of the SERP.
Besides having rich snippets, you can also take advantage of getting “rich cards” if you implement structured data for SEO on your website. They look like this:
Now, if your website has various content that all fit into one query, the SERPs will include your web pages in a “hot carousel” like this one:
Google Ads Copy
Help people understand more about your advertised products and services and increase your click-through rate on your Google Ads Copy by including structured data for SEO using the structured snippet extensions, which allow you to add more info in your ad copies.
Also, structured data in SEO is believed to increase a website’s click-through rate (CTR) because of the rich snippets – these help you drive more attention to your listing in the SERPs, especially if you have an online store, and you want to highlight a product with excellent reviews.
Here’s a bit of a caveat, though; putting up structured data on your web pages does not guarantee rich snippets on your listings in the SERPs.
Remember that structured data in SEO helps search engines to understand your pages, but they also take into account other valuable factors such as location, business trustworthiness, web authority, and other variables before they deem your rich snippets worthy of being displayed in the SERPs.
So, make sure that your digital marketing and SEO strategies are well-rounded and well-implemented because one effort affects another in this digitally fast-paced world.
Anyhow, if your website rich snippets and other visual advantages are displayed on the SERPs, it is expected that it will bring your business more conversion – as people see more attractive and positive listings of your site in the search results, the more they click, the more they know and trust your business, and the more they buy the products and services that you sell.
How to Use Structured Data in SEO?
Using structured data for SEO can be a bit overwhelming, but it can be done, especially if you have the right tools and the right team for your structured data and SEO efforts.
We recommend that the best starting point for learning what structured data in SEO is through Google’s Codelab tutorial– they also show substantial code examples.
You can also leverage a few search markup tools such as:
Or utilize some plug-ins for smooth implementation of structured data if you’re using WordPress as a CMS for your site such as:
But if you have an online store and you’re using Shopify, check out these plug-ins:
Structured Data for SEO Pro Tips
Just like any SEO best practices that you should apply to your website, be careful about spamming your web pages with structured data – only markup the relevant items and don’t overdo it. Otherwise, you will receive a structured data manual action from Google for spamming. Worse, your listing will not show in the SERPs unless you fix your website.
Also, ensure that your web pages are updated with relevant structured data because search algorithms are constantly changing, and it’s best that your business can keep up.
The listing in the Search Engine Results Pages is getting increasingly competitive. Therefore, using structured data in SEO is not a mere strategy but a necessity – you have to stand out in the search results.
So, if you want to have the visual advantage in the SERPs such as having rich snippets and rich cards, hot carousels and knowledge graphs, or getting high CTR and increased conversions, make sure to implement structured data for SEO and consult the SEO experts as you go.