Structured Data for SEO

Structured data for SEO has become increasingly more common over the years. According to the data analysis platform W3Techs, it’s used by over 64 per cent of all websites. With structured data, you can optimise your website to perform better on Google. It will make your website stand out in Google’s otherwise crowded search results while encouraging more users to click your site’s organic listings.


What Is Structured Data for SEO?

Structured data is a standardised markup language that tells search engines — or other crawlers like social media networks — information about a page’s content It’s available in several formats, such as JSON-LD, RDFa and Microdata. You can add structured data code to a page so that search engines can understand the page’s content. Search engines may then include that information in the page’s indexed listings.


How Structured Data Works on Google

Google uses structured data to enhance organic listings with additional information. As it crawls your website, Google will look for structured data. If it discovers a page with structured data, it may enhance the page’s organic listings with additional information, and in some cases, new functionality. These enhanced listings are known as rich results, and they are only possible with structured data.

Google also uses structured data for its Knowledge Graph. For searches involving people, businesses, organisations, places or other unique entities, Google may display a Knowledge Graph panel containing relevant information. Google pulls information from a variety of sources to create Knowledge Graph panels, one of which being structured data.

You can use structured data to tell Google the following information:

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Steps in a how-to article
Breadcrumb links
Customer reviews and ratings
Fact checks
Image copyright licenses
Local business information
Paywalled content
Official website logo
Article information
Product information
Video information
and more


The Benefits of Structured Data for SEO

Google may not require it, but structured data can help your website succeed on the world’s largest search engine. A study conducted by Schema App found that enhanced organic listings with structured data generate a 20 per cent higher click-through rate (CTR) on average.

Standard listings aren’t particularly attention-grabbing. They all contain a title, description and page URL. Enhanced organic listings, though, include types of other information or features. The FAQ structured data, for instance, will add drop-down links to each pair of questions and answers on the page, whereas the customer reviews and ratings structured data will add reviews of the page’s products or services. With structured data, your website will receive enhanced listings on Google that drive a higher CTR.

Structured data can also land your website’s brand in a Knowledge Graph panel. Google’s Knowledge Graph algorithm gathers information about entities from structured data, which it uses to build its Knowledge Graph panels. Adding structured data to your website will provide Google with information about your site’s brand. Google may then build a Knowledge Graph panel for your website’s brand using that information.


Getting Started With Structured Data for SEO

While available in different formats, you should use JSON-LD when creating structured data for Google. JSON-LD is the only format that’s explicitly recommended by Google. This lightweight JavaScript format involves the use of a script snippet in the page’s head or body section. Google can crawl and process all types of supported JSON-LD structured data, including dynamically generated JSON-LD structured data.

If your website has WordPress installed on it, you can use a plugin to create structured data. Yoast , for example, supports nearly three dozen types of structured data. Once activated, it will allow you to easily create Google-supported structured data for your website.

Of course, you don’t need a plugin to create structured data. Google offers guides on how to create different types of structured data . Just find the type of structured data that you want to create and click “Get Started.”

There’s a guide for most types of structured data supported by Google. In these guides, you’ll find examples for both the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) version and the non-AMP version of a given structured data type. You can also find the required properties and other technical specifications for the structured data. When creating structured data, use the exact same format as described in the guide.

In addition to its array of online guides, Google has a Structured Data Markup Helper tool . It’s designed to walk you through the steps of creating structured data for a page. You can either enter the page’s URL or upload its raw code. After clicking “Start Tagging,” the page will load in a new tab. You’ll need to select various parts of the page’s content to tag them for the structured data’s required properties.

Make sure your structured data is accurate as well. In other words, it should correctly describe the page’s content. Misleading structured data is a reason for which Google imposes manual penalties. If a page’s structured data doesn’t match its content, Google may penalise it or your entire website.

You can monitor your website for manual penalties, as well as other problems with structured data, in Google Search Console . In cases of manual penalties, you’ll find a notification under the “Manual actions” menu. The notification should explain the type of penalty, the pages which it affects and how to correct it.

The URL inspection tool in Google Search Console is useful when creating structured data. It allows you to view your website’s pages from Google’s own perspective. If you recently created structured data for a page, the URL inspection tool will reveal whether the structured data is working. It’s a good idea to test the URLs of all pages with structured data to ensure the code is valid.

Another useful tool is the Google Structured Data Testing Tool . You can test your pages to see what markup has been implemented and if there are any errors. Check out the Structured Data for this blog post , and see what we’ve implemented.

Structured data can sound confusing, but it’s based on a simple principle: it consists of code snippets that tell search engines information about a page’s content. Google uses them to build enhanced listings or rich results as well as Knowledge Graph panels. Creating structured data for your website will allow it to generate more clicks and traffic from Google.

Structured data is just one of many signals used by Google to rank a website. View our SEO checklist of works we cover and get in touch if you would like a free Google audit.

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Posted by Gareth Allen

Over the past 20 years, I have worked on magazine/newspaper design & pre-press production, advertising, POS, DM, brand creation and guardian. I'm a front end-digital designer (html/css), SEO & SEM with a passion for digital marketing.