Structured Data and SEO: How One Complements the Other
Structured data has been a buzz word for search engines since 2011, when the major search providers got together and agreed to create a list of entities and attributes, all which became known as Schema.org. However, people still get confused about how SEO and structured data work together and their general purposes. In fact, Bing surveyed marketers and discovered that only 17% of the interviewees planned to use Schema.org or structured data markup.
Therefore, if you are part of the majority of website owners who are not taking a closer look at using structured data for markup purposes, you need to reverse your thinking. To get you into the habit of using structured data for the purposes of SEO, you first need to define it.
Creating Structured Data
For instance, let’s take a rudimentary example. Suppose you have phone messages and post-it notes scattered over your desk. To make sense of things, you need to organize the information and label it. In this case, you might create a table with rows and columns that have been categorized and tagged. When you organize content in this manner, you are creating structured data – data that makes it easier to see what you’ve got.
Seeing Better Results in the SERPs – How Structured Data Can Help
When used for computing, you can use structured data in one of various ways. For instance, you might use some type of markup on a website to provide more details about a page’s content. Doing so will improve the search engines’ understanding of the content so you achieve better results in the SERPs via knowledge boxes, carousels, or rich snippets.
Because this type of markup must be consistently recognized and understood by the search engines, it must be parsed and implemented in formats or syntaxes as well as classified for relationships, concepts, and vocabularies.
Syntaxes and Vocabularies
To give you an example, the search engines generally support three common syntaxes, or Microdata, microformats, and JSON-LD. They also support regular vocabularies which are used with these syntaxes. These vocabularies include Schema.org, which is used with Microdata or JSON-LD, or MIcroformats.org, which goes with the microformats syntax.
Another syntax that is used from time to time is RDFa. If all this information has your head spinning, don’t worry. The structured data used for SEO normally references Schema.org, which is used for this type of markup. Sites that use the Microformats.org vocabulary do so for marking up product reviews or defining a location physically.
The Advantages of Using Structured Data for Searches and SEO
While the above information tells you how structured data supports the use of SEO, it does not reveal the benefits. The search engines encourage webmasters to implement structured data by offering the following advantages:
- Rich search results that include visual enhancements
- Rich cards, similar to rich snippets, that are designed for mobile use
- Interactive and immersive search results
- A knowledge graph, such as details about an entity like a brand
- Carousels – multiple rich search results conveyed in a carousel pattern
- Rich results for accelerated mobile pages (or AMPs)
When you enhance your search results through the use of structured data, you also improve you click-through rates. Enhanced and rich results drive more traffic to your website because they are visually more attractive and provide extra information to the searchers. When you improve your CTRs, they can indirectly enhance your website’s ranking, as they denote a positive sign for user behavior.
Moving in the Same Direction as Google
By using structured data, you can plan your SEO while preparing for emerging trends in the future of search. That way, you can move with Google in the same direction as it works to solve search problems and answer queries directly.
Rich Snippets and Rich Cards
The most common used structured data markup enables you to provide added context for the following content, media, or items:
- Starred ratings and product reviews
Why Structured Data is an Important Component for CTRs and SEO
By using this type of markup, you site will show up in the SERPs as either a rich snippet or rich card. Therefore, the schema markup or code you use helps the search engines return better information to users, mainly in the form of rich snippets and rich cards. This type of structured approach can boost your rankings and drive traffic that will turn into conversions. If your site has several items, such as recipes, that fit a search query, a host carousel can provide several choices for users to click on your site.
Besides the above content markup, Google has been reviewing the use of action markup, which allows users to act directly from a SERP by watching a movie or booking a reservation. If either of these activities are relevant to your business, adding action markup can be a boon for your site..
Accelerated Mobile Pages
Maybe your site uses AMP or accelerated mobile pages. If so, you want to include structured data markup on your AMP and regular pages. Doing so will allow the AMP pages to pop up in the rich results in the form of host carousels or top story carousels.
As you can see, structured data, when used for markup on a website, can increase your CTRs and enhance the user experience (UX) for your site. You just need to determine what markup is the most relevant to your SEO and CTR needs. By using advanced coding features and algorithms, you can better enjoy the benefits of using structured data when writing code and attracting visitors to your site.
Now Is the Time to Make a Change
Are you using structured data markup? If not, now is the time to make a change. Work with a developer so you can increase your click-through-rates and engage visitors with enhanced search amenities, such as rich snippets, hosted carousels, and rich cards. The more you use structured data to support your SEO and searches, the easier it will be to attract visitors and turn them into valued customers.