Structured data markup is a standard way of annotating content on your website so that search engines can better understand the content. When the code of your website has structured data markup, search engines can use this data to better index the content of your page. The use of basic structured data can improve the presentation on the results pages of search engines like Google.
Structured data policy
The main purpose of search engines is to show users search results related to the query. Structured data should not be misleading and negatively impact the user experience. Search engines perform algorithmic and manual quality checks and abuse is punished.
For example, a website about a music event may contain structured data about the date, location, organizer, artists and reviews. And for example, a website of a local company may contain structured data about location, contact details and opening hours. Structured data must accurately reflect the content (text, images, videos, etc.) on the page.
Marking structured data can be done using one of three supporting formats: JSON-LD, RDFa, and Microdata. RDFa and Microdata define new HTML attributes that make it possible to indicate in the code which values visible on the page correspond to schema.org field names. Schema.org is a structured data vocabulary supported by Google and other major search engines. JSON-LD is the newest and easiest way to format data. An advantage of JSON-LD is that the data does not have to be marked via new HTML attributes, but you can embed it in one block of code. We prefer to use JSON-LD for structured data.
Invisible content and alternatives
Invisible content is information – targeted to search engines – that is not displayed to web page visitors. Google and some other search engines do not display invisible content to the user. In general, it is of no use to mark content that is not visible to users on the website with structured data, although there are some exceptions such as currency, availability, and date of publication. These values are not always displayed on the website but can be marked with structured data.
In addition to the above guidelines, there may be separate guidelines for quality and technology for each type of structured data. All information and sample code related to tagging implementation can be found on the schema.org website. The helper for structured data markup on Google, you can easily mark your source code. These marks can then be tested with the Structured Data Testing Tool.
Examples presentation structured data in Google
There are many different schemes you can choose for formatting data. Well-known examples of how structured data is presented on Google’s results pages include:
Breadcrumbs (a breadcrumb trail) is a collection of links. These can help users understand the structure of the website so that they can navigate the site more easily. When the breadcrumbs are correctly marked in the structured data code, they can be displayed in Google search results.
An example of a Rich Snippet (comprehensive search result) is information about a product, including price, availability and rating in Google search results as shown in the image above. At the time of writing, Google supports Rich Snippets for the following data:
- Product: Product information including price and currency, availability, and ratings.
- Recipes: Information about the recipe including cooking time, calorie count, rating, and image.
- Reviews: an (average) rating of an item such as a store, restaurant, or movie.
- Event: information about an event such as a festival or concert that can be attended by visitors at a specific time and place. This can be done by artists, event locations, and official ticket sales points.
- Software Applications: Information about a software application including rating, price and currency, operating system, and category.
- Videos: Information about a video including duration, author, thumbnail, and date.
- Articles: Information about a published article including header, image, date, and description.
Sitelinks Search Box
Using structured data markup, users can use your website’s internal search engine without going to your website first. Above you can see an example of a website that has activated this feature via source code.
Improved presentation of URLs in search results
With structured data markup on your website, you can specify the desired name that you want Google to display in search results. In the example above, we chose to display the website name instead of the full URL.
Display in Knowledge Graph:
The Knowledge Graph is Google’s system for organizing information about entities from many data sources. Via structured data layout, for example, individuals and companies can adjust logos, social media links, and contact details in Google search results. By using structured data correctly, Google can better understand what information should be shown to the user.
Structured data: is that something for me?
Would you like to know whether the use of structured data can also mean something for the findability of your website? Do you have any questions regarding this blog post about structured data? Or do you have a question about my SEO services? Feel Free to contact me. Also, read my Ultimate SEO Checklist for 2020.