Why your site needs structured data
As SEOs, one of our primary concerns is gaining and maintaining strong visibility within search engine results pages. Google shows knowledge graphs and featured snippets more and more, giving those sites featured a significant advantage over sites that aren’t. So how can your site benefit from these snippets and graphs? By using schema.org and structured data.
What is schema.org?
Schema.org is a set of vocabulary for data markup on sites. It’s maintained by the four big search engines Google, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo. Their aim is to improve the quality, relevancy and usefulness of search results.
How does structured data work?
Structured data markup is a way to help search engines understand the content on a webpage. This is done by adding bits of code to HTML within the webpage. By giving more information about content to search engines, they are able to serve more useful results to users.
Schema.org provides a number of different schema markups to use depending on a websites content. These include schema for reviews, products, events, people, recipes, videos and more. Each of these categories will have properties and structured data can explain these properties. For example, you can add markup to your business contact details, social media profiles and business logo. With this, Google is able to produce a business card for your company in search results. If you have star ratings for a product, adding markup can display an aggregate star rating when appearing in search results. For sites that receive a lot of branded queries, the sitelinks search box can allow users to navigate straight to deeper sections of your site directly from the search results.
These are just a few of the ways that structured data can be used for your site but there are many more.
How can this improve my site?
Using structured data can give you an advantage over other sites that don’t. Any extra information that users are able to see straight from the search results helps them to understand your site. The more understanding they have, the better they can make a decision on what results to click on.
There is also the fact that structured data can actually help you stand out in search rankings. If your product comes up in a non-branded search, a positive star rating can attract a users attention and can lead to better click through rates.
Google have stated that structured data is not currently part of its ranking algorithm but that it may be one day. By making sure your site is using structured data now, you can get ahead of the pack and be prepared for this change when and if it comes.