What is Structured Data and its importance for SEO?

Structured Data
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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most rapidly evolving industry due to the ever changing Google algorithm. SEO experts are constantly on their toes be it basic local SEO Optimization, keeping a rain check on Google’s algorithm or keeping abreast and updated with SEO Trends.

Your company must have covered the basic requirements by researching on specific keywords, claim.ing your Google listing for local SEO as well as optimizing the inbound anchor link text. One should know that the top SEO trends for 2017 are far ahead than the basic requirements.

One of the top trend for SEO to have emerged in 2017 must-dos for SEO experts is as follows:

Structured Data Markup:

Crawler friendliness is a crucial factor and is imperative to show up in Google search features like Rich Cards and Quick Answers that are dependent on Google’s machine learning. Key is to understand how to utilize Structured Data markup so that the information being searched for by Google’s Crawlers is available on your website.

What is Structured Data?

One keeps hearing about Schema.org, JSON-LD in relation to structured data. Before going any further one must know – What is Structured Data? What is it’s connect with SEO? The following blog post will clarify your understanding on structured data.

Structured data is essentially a code with a specific format that you can put on each website. The manner in which the information is written in a format makes the search engines read and understand it and then used to display search results in a particular manner.

For example if you have a website with Recipes and you add the data in a structured manner to a page with Recipe, Time, Steps and Ingredients to get Keyword Ranking up in Google – instantly the search engine result will change dramatically. As a result your content will become “richer” and will be called ‘Rich Snippets’. Take a look at an example of a Rich Snippet.

Structured data is of different kinds and is always in a code format so that it adds details to your snippet when it shows up in search results. Even after you add the structured data there is no guarantee that Google will create a “rich snippet”. One can just hope that Google will pick up the data entered by you.

What is the importance of structured data for SEO?

Google needs to understand what is your website about and also to grasp the knowledge or information you want to impart through your page. Google search engines are able to read all the detailed information added about a page on your website and it becomes a tool through which you can talk to Google search engines. This enables search engines to display the data correctly.

Structured date will help you tell Google about this information it is looking for therefore helps in the rankings. This data will alter the way the snippet looks like and show much more specific information to your audience. They are shown in Search Engine Result Pages (SRPs). Google uses this “rich” information to create snippets for the audience as seen in example above that is more informative to users.  The audience is more likely to click on the results and lead to better rankings.

What is the use of schema.org?

Schema.org is where one can find the structured markup that is supported by Google Search engines. It is a huge collection of codes all put together. Schema.org is a project developed by the big search engines and is used to find the markup for the page you are creating in your website.  For example if someone wants to sell candles online on their website one could show the colors of the candles, the size, the kind of fragrances that you offer all to be added in your snippet.

To know more you could explore Schema.org/Product where you will be able to study various examples of codes and eventually adapt them as per your product, services or information. Different kinds of Schema.org  are Creative Works, Articles, Books, Music, Recipes, TV & Movies, Videos, Commerce, Events, Business and organizations, Products, Reviews,.

Other than the examples of different kinds of Code, Schema also provides other forms of structured data like ‘Twitter cards’ or ‘Open Graph’ used by Facebook.

For example:

If it is for a local business the code you could be filling could use something like this:

  • Thing
    • Organization (or Place)
      • Local Business
        • Travel Agency
          • Name
          • Address
          • Email
          • Logo
          • Review
          • etc.

Why to use JSON-LD?

One of the markups of Schema.org is JSON-LD that is a particular manner to write code. There are other markups for example: RDFa and Microdata however, we recommend to use JSON-LD as it doesn’t let your site break very easily as compared to others. JSON-LD is very user friendly can be added to your website by using Google Tag Manager.

How to add structured data using Plugins?

There are others methods to add structured data if one doesn’t want to go through the hassle of using codes. You could use plugins like https://yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/local-seo/ amongst many others to get rich snippet.

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