What is Structured data and why you should be utilising it?
The world is a chaotic place, almost no-one would deny this, we are all favourable to a bit more structure in our lives - the same can be said for websites.
Google search works fairly hard to understand the content of your page and the pages within your website. Structuring the data on your pages gives Google a better understanding of the content of your page so it can present the best information to satisfy the intent of its users - all 7.9 billion or so of them.
Google uses structured data to enable special features within the search results. This can include things like recipes, reviews, events and many other features that enhance the data on your webpage. Getting Google to display your page content in rich results can give a healthy boost to your website's visitors.
It is worth noting that ‘structured data’ and its usage has utility outside of SEO in fields such as CRM, Accounting and has many other use cases.
What is Schema Markup?
Google primarily uses Schema markup to describe the content on your page. Schema.org is a public collaboration between several organisations which have created a shared vocabulary which describes data. Its ultimate aim is to connect people with what they are looking/searching for - which in many cases is cat memes.
Schema markup is a form of structured data or microdata that can be added to a webpage which then enhances the appearance of the involved data in google's search results. This is what we call a rich snippet and there are many types of rich snippets. Google, Yahoo and other search engines started working with Schema.org in 2011. Since then the appearances of search results have improved drastically enabling the user to see the internet in a clearer, cleaner and more structured way.
Here is an example of what Schema markup looks like in its pure code form. Mmm code.
"name": "is mole removal safe?",
"text": "Mole removal is generally a simple procedure. And provided it is carried out by a qualified practitioner, there shouldn’t be any problems. Always follow your dermatologist’s care instructions after mole removal to ensure against any infection."
"name": "What is malignant melanoma?",
"text": "Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. A melanoma is a type of cancer that originates from melanocytes (medical term for pigment cells). Malignant melanoma is potentially one of the more serious forms of skin cancer as it can in some cases spread from the skin to other parts of the body. However, in most cases melanoma if caught early is treatable with surgery alone."
In this case above we have JSON-LD markup for an FAQ section about Mole removal (The Naevi kind). As you can see the question and answer is presented so that google can more easily understand that the page contains a FAQ section. This will then stand a chance of landing in the ‘people also ask’ section of Google which sits above the organic listings on the SERPs
Here are some examples of how things look in the SERPS…
People also ask
There are many other types of rich snippets available to be utilised.
This link above is a really cool tool which lets you see all the various rich results that google will create and what they will look like when displayed in the SERPs.
How to check if your page contains Rich text results
This handy tool from google will help you check if your pages feature rich text results.
You will be able to see information about Google's indexed version of the page that you have selected and in this case whether it can find and recognise the structured data that you have implemented. It is worth noting that it is not a live test and it will only show you results from the most recently featured indexed version of the page.
Furthermore there is no guarantee that the page will be displayed on google search results with those desired structured data elements. For this to happen your page and its structured data will have to be inline with Google’s quality and security guidelines.
Not all rich text results are currently supported by this tool that google provides but you will find the majority of the most commonly used ones. This is a great little tool that will help you see if there are any issues with pages on your site - highly recommended from the team at Inflorescence.
Does Schema affect your rankings?
Short answer, no. However, rich snippets and schema markups do improve the visual appeal of you listings which will lead to improved Click through rates (CTR's), which are a very important factor for making conversions.
Why you should be using Schema markup on your webpages?
There is an array of positives that can come from using schema markup on your web pages.
Makes data easier to find and understand for Google
Higher conversion rates
Landing in rich results and appearing above organic search positions
Increase likelihood of appearing in voice search
The way that information is presented on your website is crucial. Business owners can utilise structured data to make their offering stand out in organic search results, giving them the edge over the competition. It is key for webmasters and business owners to understand which types of structured data will benefit their website the most. They must also ensure that they use the most relevant type for their content to avoid falling foul of Google's webmaster guidelines ( which is now called Google Search Essentials).
Adding schema markup to your website does not have to be a complex task and can be done in a manner of different ways. Our team has a wealth of experience implementing structured data in a multitude of different ways, so do reach out to us if you are looking for ways to improve your search visibility.