Structured Data Markup

Rich Snippets for Web Crawlers.

What is Structured Data?

Structured Data is additional information that is only viewable to Search Engine Crawlers, which help them better understand your website. Structured Data has enabled rich snippets.

Thanks to Google’s Hummingbird Algorithm update, structured data became an extractable thing, rather than something that was just meant for the Search Engine. Now, rich snippers could be used to provide better user experience when Googling for your business or website!

Check out what happens when you Google cookies! All the information on the right comes from rich data snippets, and compiles key information gathered in structured data to present.

Now the same thing happens to websites. say you’re looking for a restaurant for a night out to eat. What you do is you Google “restaurants near me,” and Google takes your geo-location, matches it with restaurants that have geo-location specified in their structured data, and voila you can see who is nearby, pictures, reviews, and addresses!

How does Structured Data impact SEO?

Structured Data increases your ability to “query match.” When you provide structured data to Search Engines (remember it’s doesn’t provide any direct value to a user) it knows more about your site. You can tell it things like, name, address, place, articles, events, recipes, brands, there are more than 80 different things you can tell the Search Engine.

Once Google gets to know your website through their standard scans and your structured data, it has a holistic idea of you, and can rank you much more effectively for specific queries. Therefore it ranks you not only better but it ranks you for more, because you now may be able to rank for things like “IT related business” or “best salesman of the year,” depending on the intention of the website, and the information you provide.

What does it look like?

There are two types of Rich Data:

  1. JSON-LD
  2. Microdata

A closer look at JSON-LD

JSON-LD is a fancy name for “JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data.” Basically, you are applying notations, to data that you provide. It has to be done using specific “notations” and involve specific “attributes,” and the code is written in the form of Javascript!

JSON-LD is a <script> which should be placed in the <header> of the HTML of your website. Here’s an example of some JSON-LD:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
  "@context":http://schema.org",
  "@type":"song",
    "name":"Stiff Upper Lip",
    "singer":{
      "@type":"Person",
      "name":"Brian Johnson",
      "band":"AC/DC"
      }
}
</script>

Voila! You’ve just read a JSON-LD script about a “song” named “Stiff Upper Lip”, with a “singer” named “Brian Johnsonrelated to a “band”, “AC/DC.” Now Google won’t know what “band” and “AC/DC” mean, you would realistically have to create a new @type: and call it “Band”! But you get the idea.

Now anyone can do this. The structure of JSON-LD stems from Schema.org which was a forward movement by a group of Search Engines to allow easier indexing, and encourage Webmasters to make their job easier. In return, Webmasters that used JSON-LD would be rewarded with effectively better rankings!

A closer look at Microdata

Instead of defining the properties of your website in a single script, like JSON-LD does in the <header> of websites, microdata implements similar identifying “notations” throughout the entire website. This makes it far, far more tedious, but gives you more control over what you tell Google about specific things on the website.

Wikipedia actually gives a great example of what microdata is, which has been modified in the following example:

<section itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Person">   
  Hello, my name is 
  <span itemprop="name">Bailey</span>,
  I am a 
  <span itemprop="jobTitle">SEO guy</span>
  at 
  <span itemprop="affiliation">SEOSPIDRE</span>.
  My buddies call me
  <span itemprop="additionalName">Bails</span>.
  You can visit my homepage at 
  <a href="http://www.seospidre.com" itemprop="url">www.seospidre.com</a>.   
  <section itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">   
    I live at 
    <span itemprop="streetAddress">42 Wallaby Way</span>,
    <span itemprop="addressLocality">Sydney</span>,
    <span itemprop="addressRegion">New South Wales</span>.  
  </section> 
</section>

Evidently, it’s a lot more work going through Schema.org looking for the right attributes, and re-writing the HTML your website will already be coded in. However! It gives you significantly more control over what you want Google to know. According to the code above, Google will read it knowing that there’s a guy Bailey who works as an SEO guy at an “affiliation” SEOSPIDRE. He has another name Bails, and has a website called “www.seospidre.com.” He lives at 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney, New South Wales. Now that would be totally different if we tried to explain, in JSON-LD, with great detail, how many employees we have, where they are from, and all other information.

Some experts will tell you that microdata is superior to JSON-LD, and some the other way around, but to be honest, they effectively do the same thing. As long as the information you want is correctly input as structured data, the Google crawler will pick it up regardless.

I’ve given it a shot, but it isn’t working?

Google provides a structured data testing tool which will identify syntax and sometimes identity errors. However if you’ve caused or are failing to get over more complicated errors, such as specifying the content of several pages, or identifying @sameAs content, then you should definitely get in touch with a TSEO agency.

SEOSPIDRE

Structured Data Implementation

Worried about messing it up, or think you’re missing something important! Get in touch with us and we’ll make sure all of your information is properly displayed to Search Engines.

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