We all think (and know) that Google can find everything on the website? RIght, well not 100%. Yes, even search engines can have a tough time deciphering web page content. Some elements that seem perfectly obvious to us humans can be meaningless to Google and Bing crawlers.
So what can be done by you as the web developer? That’s where structured data comes into play.
Structured data is added directly to a page’s HTML markup. Search engines use structured data to generate rich snippets, which are small pieces of information that will then appear in search results.
So, what does structured data look like in search engine results page (SERP)? Structured data is the “extra” information that you see next to a website and meta description. For example, if you are searching for a restaurant, you will see not only the restaurant’s name, but also additional information such as hours, pricing and stars to indicate positive reviews.
If your website is not using structured data as a part of your SEO strategy, then your business is missing out on an important opportunity to rank higher in SERP. Well, let’s get started with the basics of using structured data for your website:
#1: What is structured data?
As mentioned before, structured data is on-page markup that enables search engines to better understand the information currently on your business’s web page, and then use this information to improve your business’s search results listing. For example, structured data makes it easier for web crawlers to determine company basics, such as NAP (name, address, place) data, as well as some complex information such articles, events, products, recipes, etc. on your website.
#2: How to get started with structured data and SEO?
Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper is one of the most useful free tools to help your business get started with structured data. This content is then used not only for SERP, but may also be incorporated into Knowledge Graph panels or Google Now cards, which in turn increases your business’s online reach. The Data Markup Helper will generate sample HTML code with microdata marked up which can be downloaded and then uploaded on your website.
#3: Does my business need a web developer to manage structured data and SEO?
First, you do not need to be a coding expert – or even rely on a web developer – in order to incorporate structured data into your website. Some knowledge of HTML is needed. Schema.org provides a collection of html tags that webmasters can use to mark up their pages for easy search engine recognition. Google’s Structured Data Helper also provides microdata markup for easily incorporating into your website. However, if you have limited web development experience, your business will benefit from a developer’s expert assistance. Odds are that your time is better spent growing your business rather than trying to figure out the intricacies of microdata implementation. But you can do it!
#4: What about keywords – do they still matter?
Let’s consider the Google’s new “conversational search” feature, which automatically weaves information such as (1) where you are, (2) what you’ve searched for in the past and (3) who you are into their search query. Localization and personalization of search results make semantic SEO and structured data increasingly important. At the same time, mobile is driving the semantic revolution.
As users transition from PC to mobile searches, structured data and SEO, rather than keywords, will have a greater impact on search engine results.
Here’s what an example structured data markup from Google’s Webmaster Tools for one of our recent blog articles:
The Final Call
Structured data is the present and the future of search engines. Gone are the days when backlinks guaranteed search engine rank success. Instead, a business’ ability to effectively use structured data will increasingly dictate whether their website will favorably appear in SERP. You can check if your website is using structured data or not from the Google Structured Data Testing Tool.
Let us know what you find and if your website does not have the structured data, we are always here to help. Contact us @ 210-582-5842 or firstname.lastname@example.org