The way search engines present information to users is constantly changing. Search engines such as Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo are pushing the boundaries to provide relevant and value-adding information to users by updating search algorithms and offering additional information in SERPs.
One of the most recent advances in search engine behavior is using structured data for SERPs. Structured data is code that helps improve search engines' understanding of the context and contents of web pages. It is the vocabulary you can use to talk to search engines and explain the value of different pieces of content on your web pages.
In this blog post, we'll explore the meaning of structured data and how you can use structured data on your website to improve your search engine visibility.
What is Structured Data
Structured data is a code that highlights the importance of different elements on your webpage. It helps search engines understand the structure and content of your page. Further, it makes your website more indexable and user-friendly. Structured data should be included on every page of your website - even those without text.
Schema.org is a comprehensive resource for learning about structured data standards and how to implement them on your website. It helps optimize your content for Google and other search engines, making it easier for visitors to find what they want to know.
Structured Data vs. Unstructured Data
As the name suggests, structured data is data structured to make it easier for search engines to index and provide relevant results for users. This data can be a set of values, such as names, addresses, etc.
Unstructured content does not have this structure, and so, can be difficult to process. It is vital to keep both types of data in mind when designing a website or marketing campaigns, as this will help understand the current situation and achieve better results.
Structured Data vs. Semi-structured Data
Structured data contains specific fields that are necessary for a website to measure the effectiveness of its content marketing strategies.
On the other hand, semi-structured data include things like comments or ratings. These types of data can often be difficult to machine-learn or index effectively.
Google's Relationship with Structured Data
Google has a very close relationship with structured data. It is a part of the reason why Google is the No. 1 search engine in the world.
Google's search algorithms index websites better with the help of structured data. Further, it is based on this understanding of the structured data of a website that Google produces rich search results that offer additional information to searchers.
Examples of Structured Data
Structured data is not visible to internet users. It is hidden behind the appealing UI/UX design of your website. However, it does impact how well Google can understand your web pages.
It can also get you featured in the SERPs, which is a good reason to consider adding structured data to your website. Content features are search results displayed as a separate section among regular search results.
These results offer additional value and help users find the best source of information for their search term. Let's look at a few types of featured results in Google that are influenced by structured data.
Featured carousels appear as a separate section above other results. It shows multiple choices for a search term with additional information such as ratings, reviews, price, etc.
Carousels are the most coveted space among eCommerce brands. Everybody wants their products/videos/movies/services to be featured here.
Featured snippets are web results in the SERPs' top section. These are content pieces with the most value and engagement from users. Structured data helps you improve the visibility of your content, which further increases the CTR(clickthrough rate) of your webpage and makes it eligible to become a featured snippet.
Knowledge panels are ready reckoners for specific search results about a person, place, company, etc. It is a special box displayed on the right-hand side of the SERPs. Google uses the information it gets from structured data to create a knowledge panel.
What is Schema.org?
Started in 2011 by a collaboration between Google, Bing, and Yahoo, schema.org is a web markup best practices manual that helps you create data structures for your web pages. Using schema.org markup will help search engines display your content better in SERPs, leading to higher CTRs.
Apart from basic coding and HTML knowledge, you don't need anything else to start. schema.org takes care of the grunt work for you, and you can simply markup your pages the way you want from this library of codes. It even gives you structured data markup for other platforms, such as Twitter cards (used by Twitter) and open graphs (used by Facebook & Instagram) to create structured data for social media. schema.org is a great option for web page architects, developers, and SEOs who want to create structured data that is easy to understand and navigate.
Different Types of Schema.org Markups
Schema.org markup is essential for any website that wishes to improve its visibility, but not all schema.org markup is equal. There are three types of the syntax that you can use to add structured data to your website, i.e., Microdata, RDFa, and JSON-LD. Microdata is a markup language usually used in the page body. RDFa markup can be used in both the page body and head. JSON-LD is the most widely accepted syntax and is used at the head of your webpage.
If you're looking for a more flexible markup, you should try JSON-LD. This newer format offers more flexibility than the older schema.org markup, making it easier to work within the search engine optimization world.
Additionally, JSON-LD is compatible with various browsers and schema sets, so you can be sure that your website will look the same on all devices. JSON-LD can be used for data catalogs, product listings, social media posts, etc.
How to Add Structured Data to a Website
Many different tools allow you to add structured data, so choosing the right one for your website is crucial. Once data has been added, update it regularly to remain accurate and up-to-date.
Google has created a tool to make data markup easy to add to your website - the Structured Data Markup Helper. It is a simple tool to add schema.org markup to your web pages for data search and retrieval.
Adding structured data improves the accuracy of your analytics and the click-through rate on your pages. You can use it in a few simple steps. So let’s start adding structured data to your websites today!
Step 1: Open Google's Structured Data Markup Helper
The first step in adding structured data to your website is to open Google's Structured Data Markup helper.
Step 2: Select Your Data Type and Enter the URL
Select the type of data on your webpage. There are twelve categories to choose from such as articles, events, book reviews, films, software applications, questions & answers pages, local businesses, and restaurants.
Once you have chosen the type of data, enter the URL of the page and click on 'Start Tagging.'
Step 3: Highlight Page Elements and Assign Data Tags
Highlight parts of the page that you feel are crucial. For example, if you are creating structured data for an article, you would want to highlight the author's name, the article's topic, important keywords, facts & numbers. As you keep highlighting data, you will see them in the 'My Data Items' pane on the right side.
Step 4: Create the Webpage HTML
Once you have covered all the vital data tags, select 'Create HTML' to generate JSON-LD page code. You can also choose to create Microdata or RDFa markups from the drop-down menu on the right.
Step 5: Add the Schema Markup to Your Page
Make sure that you add schema markup to the head section (if you're using JSON-LD) of your HTML document so that it is easy for search engines to understand.
Step 6: Test Your Markup With Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool
You can test your markup using Google's Structured Data Testing Tool. It will show you the results of adding structured data to your website. Once you are happy with the results, you can start implementing them on a wider scale.
Step 7: Diagnose and Fix Issues
Once you have added the structured data to your webpage, test it using Google's Structured Data Testing Tool. If you find any issues marked in red, fix them to get the best results.
Tools to Test Your Structured Data
Testing your structured data is vital to ensure it's effective and compliant. Make sure to use the right tools for the job, and keep updating your files as necessary. There are many different testing tools available on the market, so it's crucial to find one that fits your needs. Structured data can help your website traffic and conversion rates by providing a richer experience for users.
Google’s Rich Results Test
The structured data markup language (SDL) is an important aspect of web design that helps you improve the performance of your website on search engine results pages. With Google's Rich Results Test, you can test your website's schema, markup, and microdata to see how it will perform in SERPs.
Bing Markup Validator
Structured data is important for improving the SEO of your website. Bing Markup Validator is a handy tool that can help you test your website for correct markup. This tool helps you ensure all images are properly tagged, all links point to the right page, and your page structure is correct.
Furthermore, Bing Markup Validator can help detect deprecated HTML tags and attributes, which can cause problems with search engine crawling and indexing. Using this handy tool will help you check the accuracy of your markup and keep your website looking its best on search engine results pages (SERPs).
SEO Site Checkup
It is essential to have accurate data when building a website. This can be achieved by checking the accuracy of your tags, titles, descriptions, etc. In addition, it is important to ensure that all your metadata is up-to-date and accurate to improve your SEO score.
By performing a site checkup, you can identify any structured data issues and fix them as soon as possible.
Chrome Extension: Structured Data Testing Tool
To ensure you're meeting the requirements of schema.org markup, you can use the Chrome extension Structured Data Testing Tool. This simple extension will show you the structured data errors on a URL, helping you fix them fast.
Make sure all your content is properly tagged with schema.org markup and test your pages on different devices - desktop and mobile - to ensure they look the same everywhere. Getting structured data right is essential for improving the look and usability of your website, so be sure to check out this helpful tool!
Structured data is an important aspect of developing websites that perform better in SERPs. It opens up an entire universe of enhanced representation of your website. As search engines keep upgrading their methods of displaying search results, using structured data on your website will ensure that you keep getting good quality organic traffic.
The increased relevant traffic will further improve your Click Through Rate (CTR), ultimately bringing qualified leads for your business. So what are you waiting for? Start creating structured data for your website today and watch your content outperform the rest. And if you want to learn more about the world of SEO you can explore our comprehensive library or resource and blogs on Scalenut.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What are the benefits of using structured data?
Ans: There are many benefits of using structured data, including the ability to capture and store data in a standardized format, making it easier for search engines to index and find information.
Q2. Can you recommend any tools that can help me with this task?
Ans: Several tools can be helpful for this task. Google's Structured Data Markup helper is the easiest tool for creating structured data for your website.
Q3. What is schema.org?
Ans: Schema.org is a collaborative project between Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex. It was started in 2011 to create a comprehensive library of markups/codes that people can use to add structured data to their websites.
Q4. What are the three types of schema markups we can use for structured data?
Ans: The three types of schema markup that you can use for structured data are:
Q5. Which schema markup does Google recommend?
Ans: Google recommends using JSON-LD markup for maximum crawalbility of web pages.