22 Oct Structured data and how to implement it to help Google understand your content
Wondering how you can better present your content in the search results in order to attract more customers through search engines?
You probably never tried to implement structured data while this can help Google to better understand your content and provides an understanding whether the page matches the search intent of a google user.
In today’s post we will tell you more about what structured data is, what is does and how you can implement it
What is structured data and what is the benefit of using it?
Structured data or ‘markup’ are pieces of code or “markers” that you add to the content on your web pages. Those pieces of code have a specific structure that search engines can read. This helps search engines better understand your content.
Why does this matter?
In fact, you tell search engines via structured data where specific content stands for.
For example, you can indicate that something is a photo, an address, telephone number, review etc.
The language you use for talking with the Search Enigines is schema.org. Schema.org is a vocabulary that can be used with many different encodings. Schema.org has 3 formats: JSON-LD, Microdata or RDFa. Think of it as dialects: 3 different ways to write structured data code. JSON-LD is the most stable format that we recommend using.
Search engines like Google read the code to better understand your website, but also use structured data to display your web pages in the search results in a specific way.
See this example below:
This will give you more attractive search results, also known as ‘rich snippets’. Most importantly this will give you better click through rates within Google!
You enrich the search results with extra information, for example a map, reviews, distance, opening hours, etc.
Unfortunately, Google does not always show rich snippets for all your web pages with structured data.
Google decides where and when they are relevant. No guarantees, but hope makes life!
According to Yoast.com there are there are several rich results:
- Corporate contacts
- Sitelinks Searchbox
- Social profiles
- Fact checks
- Job postings
- Local businesses
- TV & movies
I want this! Let’s get started!
Did you went over the overwhelming list of schema’s?
Looks overwhelming right?
Let’s dive into how we can get this started in an easy way. It only takes four steps so sit back and relax and we will take you through.
1. Choose the schema you would like to implement.
There is a long list at schema.org which tell you what is used commonly. Here is an overview:
- Local Business
- Creative Work
- Music Recording
- TV Series
The first step is to create a schema map so you can implement these more easier. You can use the below example pages:
- http:www.digitalmovers.nl/about – Organization, Local Business
- http:www.digitalmovers.nl/team – Person
- http:www.digitalmovers.nl/clients – Creative work
- http:www.digitalmovers.nl/testimonials – Review
Notice that one schema can be applied to multiple purposes. For example Person is a good schema to describe a person but this person can also have an address and can be associated with an Organization.
2. Now we can really create the data markup
You don’t have to be a web developer anymore to markup the structured data. We always advice to get help of a SEO specialist and webdeveloper to implement it but with the Structured Data Markup Helper from Google it is easy to markup yourself:
1) You have to open the Structured Data Markup Helper and then click the data type you would like to markup. Then paste your URL in the field that you can select from your overview out of the previous step and press “Start Tagging”.
2) You can now highlight all the elements of your page and add what you would like to highlight. If you are done you can press the red button on the right where you can create the HTML
3) You can now choose to select JSON-LD or MICRODATA. Select JSON-LD from the dropdown menu. The next step would be that you copy the code and paste it into the <head> or <body> tags in the HTML code of the respective page on your website.
If you have a lot of pages we would highly recommend to get in touch with one of our developers and SEO specialists while this process takes a lot of time doing this page for page.
4. Last but certainly not least test your markup
You can test your markup in the Structured Data Testing Tool. This tool gives you insights if the markup data is implemented in the correct way and if there are any errors or warmings.
As you know SEO is a strategy that takes a while and that goes also for structured data. Google does not directly pick up these rich snippets. For additional best practices and recommendations, read the Introduction to Structured Data by Google which can help you kick start your structured data.
5. Check Search Console for any issues
Make sure you regularly check your structured data within Search Console since it shows you where the errors occur. It also highlight information about your structured data which you haven’t seen before. You can find it here: Seach Appearance > Structured Data
In a nutshell
Structured data makes your content even more readable for Google. It also helps you provide the searcher with a “rich result”. This makes it more likely that this user will click through to your page. It is therefore highly recognizable to implement structured data within your website. It is easy to do it yourself with the Strtuctred Data Markup Helper but we also recommend that you ask your web-developer or SEO specialist to assist you with implementing it into your website to prevent bugs and errors.