The bots crawling the web for information have a pretty daunting task in front of them. Think about it, they’re tasked with crawling every single website out there, pick out the relevant information, and then deliver it to a user within fractions of a second. Computer programming has come a long way in a short time, but it makes sense to make this task as easy as possible for Google and the other search engines.
If a user searches for something that you offer, do you want to sit quietly in the corner hoping your keyword research, page architecture and technical optimization is adequate? Or do you want to hope all that is adequate AND scream at the top of your lungs to Google that this is the site they need? That’s where structured data comes in.
What is Structured Data?
Structured data in the SEO world usually describes a series of formatted data that is used to provide additional details to search engines about what a page, product, organization, service, etc. is about. It’s an organized list of information based on the Schema.org vocabulary that is available to anyone and is recognized by search engine bots. The best ways to apply markup to your site is through Microdata or JSON-LD, which we personally prefer.
Why do you need to Implement Structured Data?
It’s simple. Like the example listed above, while Google is pretty smart, we want to make their job as easy possible by telling the search engines specifically what our page is about and maybe provide other, miscellaneous information to them. Have reviews on your page? Google can probably read it, but let’s make sure by telling them specifically.
Benefits of Structured Data
For structured data to be such an integral part of ranking high on SERP (search engine result pages), you can stand to gain quite a bit by implementing it. Unless your competitor has hired an outside SEO agency, chances are slim they have any sort of structured data on the site. Some website platforms automatically submit certain forms of structured data, but it’s very limited and not as effective as digging in the weeds yourself or with your SEO agency.
The other big benefit of structured data is the chance to have rich snippets on your SERP. Rich snippets are organic pieces of extra information that show up like:
For example, by applying structured data to one of our website pages, we’re able to show up with our star rating that is pulled from Google. This is important because studies have confirmed that results with those rich snippets featured get more clicks. Your result takes up more real estate on the screen and provides more information to the user, both leading to more clicks for your business. These can take on many forms such as information cards, shopping cards, recipes, etc.
The possibilities are mind numbing though; maybe you want to highlight that you are a hotel and show room prices and ratings, maybe you want to highlight product ratings for e-commerce, there is really a wealth of options to utilize structured data to help out your online presence.
The Bottom Line about Structured Data
By itself, structured data markup isn’t going to vault your site’s rankings into the top position overnight, but it can provide the bots with more information about what your pages are about and provide users with some additional information on SERP. It’s a proven successful tactic among SEO professionals and, luckily for you, it’s ripe to take advantage.