Structured Data, like any other markup language, is important to the presentation of your content, in particular, your products and other information. It also has a variety of uses that improve your SEO.
Structured data isn’t just about making your products look nice and orderly anymore. It is now the only way to stay on top of your SEO. Structured data has several underlying factors that manipulate everything from user experience to click-through rate and more.
Google doesn’t recognize structured data by itself as a ranking factor, it’s how you manipulate that structured data and what you do with it that affects your SEO and in turn your site traffic, ranking, and conversion rate.
Without delving into the specifics of data structures and how coding languages facilitate site structure and layout, your structured data helps Google understand your content, therefore, it is one of the keys to how well you are defined by search engines and how users can find you and your products.
In particular, e-commerce sites benefit greatly from using structured data to improve their ranking and presentation to better the user experience. If you want to compete in the marketplace effectively, building out product details to create robust and informative rich snippets that tell users everything they need to know before they even click.
The overall benefits of structured data exceed far beyond e-commerce and rich snippets though. Structured data can impact your SEO negatively if you use it wrong, but if you take advantage of all that data in the right way, you can essentially teach Google how to interpret your content and improve your ranking with the data that you already have.
Structured data is in everything you do on your site. From customer information to search queries to click-through-rates. Maximizing the potential of this data is how you will stay competitive in your space.
Managing your site traffic, click-through-rate, and bounce rate will help control your site ranking. Additionally, making more attractive content will cause users to stay on sites longer and prompt return visits. This is all done by manipulating your structured data.
User experience is the second part of structured data and how it affects your SEO and ultimately your site rank. Using the information you gain and then making changes as you gain more and more information allows you to not only tailor a customized user experience but to continue learning.
Not only that, user experience data relates to Google and improves your site authority. Plus, the structured data helps Google understand your site, so the more often you’re managing your data and making changes that they become relevant to user experiences, such as changing product details or prices, the more Google learns about your business. The more Google learns about your business, the better it can identify you in relevant searches which equals higher rankings.
The data you have available to you is the best tool in the box for improving your search results. This includes using data markup to improve how your site presents in search engines.
One of the most common uses of this is showing positive reviews in your search results. This shows that your business is trustworthy and immediately tells potential traffic about your good reputation. Schema markup is the use of structured data as code to tell the search engine about your site. Sometimes this is little things, like where to place a box for product images, the price, and other criteria, but it can be used for practical purposes, both on your site and in your search results.
Like we talked about above, structured data is the information that Google uses to figure out your business. From a practical standpoint, what it is, is code. Code that points out specific information that you can move, manipulate, and display however you choose.
Marking up your site, search results, and your content is the best way to enhance your SEO using structured data. It is nothing short of essential to stay competitive and to rank higher.
We’ll break down some of the ways to enhance your SEO and how to implement structured data markup.
One of the main places that structured data markup is used on pages that display product or service information. Schema.org allows you to manipulate the code to markup certain information. In essence, this information is highlighted by the search engine and allows it to better match search queries with your business.
Businesses can use markups to highlight information for rich snippets to improve search ranking, but also to focus search engines on what their business does.
Title markups tell Google specific information so that it can match it with relevant search entries. This type of data can be things like location data, dates and times, and other information.
This helps with specific search queries by identifying those factors when someone searches for a particular location or, for instance, the start date and time of an event that your business is hosting. This is of particular use to places like concert venues and similar businesses
This data can be indexed for reference or in some cases, it can be used to create a rich snippet such as what we described earlier. In the case of an event venue, the snipped would show users upcoming events when they Google a relevant search. This organically improves click-through rates by making interested users want to click on your site to see more.
One of the main places that markups are used to gain a competitive edge is in eCommerce. That’s because shoppers that have additional data before they click are more likely to follow through and shop.
The great thing about SDM for SEO in eCommerce is that you can be selective to highlight particular products at a particular time. As an example, a fashion site can highlight items that are going on sale and they will be tagged as relevant when users search.
You can then add that data to your snippet including the sale price versus the original price and the available sizes, colors, etc. This is all part of a successful marketing and SEO strategy.
This is typically done as microdata and shows Google what a piece of content is about so that it can index the content better for search results. It’s important to markup your body content though to allow it to be found by as many searchers as possible. This includes the titles, tags, and bulk content.
Whereas keywords help with search relevance once a piece is identified, microdata helps categorize content so that it can be identified in the first place. You can even layer markups so that your content can apply to multiple queries in the same space.
This is a great way to highlight parts of long-form content so that it shows up better, as the more complex that content is, the more difficult it can be to rank for keywords as a result.
You can think of body content markups as a supplement to your Titles and snippets that points the search engine and ultimately users in the right direction.
As a point of reference, you can tell Google that every time you use the word “Happy” in a post, you’re referencing a particular product, or a separate blog, or any other thing like that. It tells Google “hey, this isn’t just a random keyword, it’s related to this other thing too.”
That way Google has more information than it did before and can now display more accurate results. We know this gets a bit complicated if you’re not used to structured data and code, but it’s an important part of your overall SEO.
The process of implementing structured data markups involves some coding and using a tool called Schema. This is a development tool from Google that allows you to markup elements on your page and create Schema or code that tells Google what you want it to know and how to present the information
If you have an understanding of coding HTML you can manipulate the elements in almost any way imaginable to customize your website’s presentation and tell Google exactly what you want it to know about your business.
Google uses code called Schema Markup from Schema.org to interpret the identity of your site. You can use this code in a variety of ways to markup your site, products, and content to enhance your SEO.
We’ve covered the basics of this so far, but now we’ll break down how to do it with as little complicated jargon as we can.
Luckily, all you need to know is some HTML, if you designed your site then you’re already on your way, if you don’t, you can find specific information to help you, and then all you’ll need is some specific schema language to help tell it what to do.
Ok, now down to the meat of the issue. Don’t be too scared if you’ve never used markups before, the process isn’t that complicated.
This is a built-in function that Google has to help users markup their webpages or HTML Code. The first thing you’ll see is a list of data types. The list isn’t very long but covers most types available from t.v. shows to articles, to local businesses, and more.
Start by selecting the type of data you want. Then paste in the URL of your website, or the HTML code if that’s what you’re working with.
This will load your page up in the markup tool. The markup tool is where your site, combined with data items that are available.
Depending on the type of content you chose, you’ll see elements that you can highlight as data items.
For example, if you chose a product page, you can highlight the name of the product and then click name, and it will identify that element on the page as the name of the product.
You can continue doing this for as many elements on your page as you want and placing them in the particular data items that you want them in.
Don’t worry about marking every element, decide what’s important and mark it up as best you can, unless you’re an expert, it will be difficult to hit all of the elements on a page.
If this isn’t your forte, don’t be scared, there’s a button that does it for you, with the correct “markup language” already in place. The next step is to go into your content management system, or your source code and insert the marked snippets into the correct spots.
The code snippets are highlighted to make it easier and you merely paste them into your existing code where they go. Just to give you an idea of what they look like we’ll provide an example
<products itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/ Products”id=”product-86721” class=”products-86721”…
The highlighted piece is the section you would paste into your code. As an easier alternative, you can take the fully generated HTML code file and copy-paste that into your source code or CMS.
Once you click finish you can move on to the next, and most important step.
Google provides a structured data testing tool to allow you to see what the structured data markup will look like on your web page. You can find the tool under webmaster tools and can paste in either the site URL or the HTML code that was generated.
The tool even allows you to inspect individual elements to see how they look. You can even edit the code manually from here if you need to.
Once you’re finished you can follow out the rest of the final steps provided and you’re good to go.
Once you know the procedure, you can start fine-tuning your markups to make your SEO even better.
The best resource for schema markups is schema.org. They have lists available to show you the most commonly used markups for different content types. You can narrow this down even further by figuring out the most useful and relevant markups for your Rich Snippets, search tags, and details.
You can then peruse the Type Hierarchy to show you the full list of markup types to get a better idea of all the available markups.
A general rule to follow is the more markups the better. Like we’ve tried to focus on with this article, markups mean more info for Google. More info for Google improves Google’s understanding of your business, your relevance, and your ranking. You can even use markups to help identify your business in voice recognition programs like Alexa. This can increase your overall market in ways you might not have considered. Structured data markups are another important tool in the SEO toolbox to make your business more successful on the web.
SEO is not just about link building. Those are the basics of using structured data to improve your SEO and the steps needed to implement it. Don’t let the coding language and jargon fool you. The process is fairly straightforward and simple and the benefits can be great for your site and business.