What is Structured Data and Why Is It Crucial? 

When broken down structured data does what its name implies. It creates a “structure” for a search engine's algorithm. As it is a complex code built specifically for search engines to gain a deeper understanding of what the content is meant to convey. This concept is important as search engines cannot always understand the significance of specific data that is put into the website.

By implementing structured data, you can help the search engine distinguish between specific information such as phone numbers, addresses, and categories. This structure makes your website easier to index and in turn, will help to raise your SERP rankings.

Not only will adding structured data assist the search engine, but it also aids in the user experience. Structured data can create “rich” content which is defined as content that consists of many different media formats such as sound, images, and video.

This rich content or “rich snippets” is used in a variety of industries such as e-commerce, film, the restaurant industry, etc. And can be used to list information such as name, address, and place of business. As well as more complex data such as articles, services, events, products and so on.  Ultimately making your SERP snippet more unique and detailed.

 An example of rich content would be a movie review. If a user searches for an upcoming film the search engine will generate results that follow this prompt. Websites without structured data will be presented with the company name and website link. While a website with structured data could show the rating and how many reviews it received, in addition to the standard metadata. Making it a much more compelling visual for the user.

How to Approach Structured Data 

Although structured data itself is a complex code, you do not need to be an advanced coder to take advantage of it. Websites such as Schema.org have been created to aid digital platforms, by providing hundreds of templates for all types of content. These templates make approaching structured data a much less daunting concept.

In addition to schema.org, specialists can work in a platform known as Google Search Console. The GSC is a web service from Google that allows users to check the indexing status of their pages while using it to optimize the visibility of their websites.

Currently, the GSC allows its users to track a variety of structured data metrics. These include:

  •  Article
  •  Breadcrumbs
  •  Carousel
  •  Events
  •  FAQ
  •  Fact Check
  •  How-to
  •  Job Posting
  •  Logos
  •  Local Business Listing
  •  Occupation
  •  Q&A Page

You can view the complete list of metrics and keep up to date on the newest additions to GSC on Google’s Search Gallery.

The last tool for structured data management is Google Structured Data Testing Tool. This allows users to audit their pages for structured data. We recommend specialists to periodically work with these tools as you build out your pages or use them as preliminary tests to discover thin content.

What's New with Structured Data 

Like all things in the digital era, the innovation associated with structured data is continuously expanding. Most recently through an update on the Google Search Console.  The platform has announced that they will now report on the following:

  • Product Markup: The first new addition to the GSC is product markup. Product markup allows Google to take specific information about your products from your websites and display it on the SERP.
  •  Sitelink Searchbox Markup: The second addition is sitelink searchbox markup. This allows Google to add a search bar in order to give users access to the search website’s content.
  • Unparsable Types: The third addition is unparsable types. Unparsable types display the structured data that has been incorrectly implemented. Which would make it unreadable to Google bots. 
  •  Video: The final and newest addition is video. This report allows users to present the video’s information while playing segments of the video, or through live stream content.

You Don't Have to Add Learning Structured Data to Your New Year's Resolution List...Let Us Help

Still have no clue as to what to do with structured data? Contact Forthea today to work with an expert team ready to tackle all your structured data needs. 

About The Author

Sarah thrives on optimizing on-page content, increasing keyword rankings, and writing blog posts. Outside of work, you'll find her painting, on the hunt for Houston's best coffee shop, or at home with her furry friends.

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