Any digital marketers know how important it is to get higher search engine rankings. If you have ever heard of structured data and are not using it, you’re missing out on a great competitive advantage.
Today, a constantly growing number of purchases are made online and buyers rely strongly on search engines to decide what their best option is. As a result, businesses have been trying to improve their rankings in search results by staying relevant and standing out against other competitors. Structured data, or schema markup, was created to assist marketers in doing so.
What is structured data?
Structured data is a standardized format to mark up information about a web page. It helps search engines like Google or Bing to better understand what images and content are about and to display that information accurately in search results.
Example of structured data markup
After the implementation of structured data markup, this is what the search result looks like in an example:
As we see, instead of just showing the product listing’s meta title and description, the search engine can also display customer ratings, prices or availability information. There are many types of content on your website that can use structured data, such as articles, reviews, recipes, job postings, company profiles and more. You can find a full list here.
Structured data formats
The three main structured data formats are JSON-LD, Microdata and RDFa, but Google’s JSON-LD support has improved so much over the past few years that it is now their recommended approach. While Schema.org is the most common reference vocabulary, some websites use Microformats.org, usually for marking up product reviews or defining a physical location.
Benefits of having structured data
- Improving SEO
Search engines and devices (like Google, Yahoo, Bing or Siri) do not read and understand a webpage the way humans do. Adding structured data to the webpage allows search engines and other applications to better understand the context and intent of the page. This results in the content being accurately displayed in a useful and relevant way, which eventually promotes the page’s online ‘findability’.
Moreover, for videos, not only can users play them right from the search results, but they can even see information such as video length and additional details, all of which could influence whether they decide to watch your video or the next one. When it comes to articles or blogs, by adding structured data, you are likely to get featured in the top stories carousel section or be presented in images above thumbnail size. These could entice users to click through and read your content.
- Driving more clicks
A standard search result consists of three pieces of information: a title, a URL and a meta description. Using structured data qualifies your content for being listed as rich results, which offer additional information that is more eye-catching and likely to attract more attention when showing up in search results.
This is an example of a search result before adding structured data:
After Niteco’s SEO experts implemented structured data, this is what the search result looks like:
- Improving branding
Using structured data increases the chance of being featured in Knowledge Graph, which visualizes information on businesses, topics and people gathered from a variety of sources, presenting it in a box on the right-hand side of the search results. If you get your brand in Knowledge Graph, you’ll be likely to get more visibility, authority and even trust from searchers.
Example of Knowledge Graph
- Optimizing your site for voice search
According to Google, nearly 30% of the global online population uses voice search on mobile today. If you’ve optimized your site for organic searches using structured data, you’ve also optimized it for searches by voice assistant, while Google will take care of speech recognition and NLU (or Natural-language understanding).
Google stated at Google IO 2019 that “our motivation for schema markup was so that you could optimize content once and it be optimized for voice and search.” Google Product Manager Aylin Altiok was quoted as saying, “Focus on building great content using an open standard (structured data) and Google will help you reach your users across Search and Assistants without having to build a custom experience.”
At Niteco, we have implemented structured data for our clients and have seen significant improvement in SEO as well as search rankings on Google. Coding is not your forte or you’re not sure how to start implementing this for your site? Reach out to us and let our SEO experts help.