Understanding Structured Data In SEO – A Beginner’s Guide
In the previous chapter – “16 Tips To Write User-Friendly Content That Ranks High”, we learned how to write content that website visitors love and get hooked on to your site. In this chapter – Understanding Structured Data In SEO – A Beginner’s Guide – you will learn how to improve your search results click-through rate (CTR) through Structured Data Markup. Structured Data Markup (also called “Schema Markup”) is one of the latest developments in the SEO world. It is considered as an important SEO ranking factor among the SEO community. Structured Data is sometimes referred to as “Rich Snippets” in layman terms.
The main role of structured data is to improve the user’s experience with search results. The websites with structured data implementation stand a high chance of users clicking through their website when shown on search results.
Understanding Structured Data In SEO
- What is Structured Data?
- What does the “Structured Data Markup” code look like?
- Important Information From Google About Structured Data
- For What Kind Of Content Can We Use Structured Data?
- How to Generate a Structured Data Code For My Website?
- Steps To Generate Structured Data Code Using “Google Structured Data Markup Helper”
- How To Verify The Structured Data Code Generated For My Website?
- How To Learn More About Structured Data?
Structured data (also called “Schema”) is a set of tags or code snippet in a standardized format that needs to be added to your website/webpage HTML for providing clear-cut and quick information about a particular page and its intentions in order to drive users to click on their links. By adding structured data, you can improve the way search engines read, interpret and represent your page in search engine result pages.
For example, on a webpage that contains details about various events, using structured data, the page content can be classified (marked up) based on event dates, timings, venue and so on, so that it is displayed directly on the search engine result pages. This can improve the value of your website links on the search result pages.
In the below picture, you can see the result with a web link that has implemented structured data, where, the extra markup about the event data is shown in the search results. The search query I used to find this result is “events near me”.
As another example, the search results for “chicken biriyani recipes” yielded the following webpage links that have implemented structured data to show review ratings and meal pic along with the title and description in the search engine result pages.
Structured Data can be implemented and integrated into your webpage HTML in either of the following three formats.
More information on each format can be learned by clicking on the hyperlinks above.
An example of a JSON-LD structured data snippet that might appear on the contact page of an educational institution “Subhash Digital Academy”, describing their contact information is shown below:
“name”: “Subhash Digital Academy”,
“contactType”: “customer service”,
The same information in micro data format is shown below:
<span itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Organization”>
<meta itemprop=”name” content=”Subhash Digital Academy”/>
<meta itemprop=”alternateName” content=”SDA”/>
<link itemprop=”url” href=”https://www.subhashdigitalacademy.com”/>
<img itemprop=”logo” src=””/>
<span itemprop=”contactPoint” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/ContactPoint”>
<meta itemprop=”telephone” content=””/>
<meta itemprop=”contactType” content=”customer service”/>
<meta itemprop=”contactOption” content=”TollFree”/>
<meta itemprop=”areaServed” content=”IN”/>
<meta itemprop=”availableLanguage” content=”English”/>
All information that is marked as Structured Data should be visible on the page to the user. It is against Google guidelines to create blank or empty pages just to hold structured data.
Refer Google Guidelines Here: Google Guidelines on Structured Data
We can use Structured Data Markup ( or “Schema markup”) for contents related to almost all kinds of businesses. There is data markup for
- Local businesses
- TV episodes and ratings
- Book Reviews
- Software Applications
A complete list can be seen in this link: schema.org
It is absolutely okay if you are not good at coding. You can make use of any of the following options to generate the code for you.
Option – 1 (Recommended): Make use of “Google Structured Data Markup Helper”
Option – 2: Make use of “Shema Markup Generator”
In these sections let us see how to generate code for Structured Data using “Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper”. Your goal is to present your webpages in a more attractive way in order to improve click-through rates (CTRs) resulting in more traffic and also do better in the SERPs.
Step #1: Go to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper
Step #2: Select the type of data that you plan to markup
As you can see in the example below, I would like to mark up one of my blog posts. Therefore I have selected “Articles” and inserted the related URL of the blog post in the box given below. And then click on the button “Start Tagging”.
After pressing the “Start Tagging” button, your intended page will load in the markup tool, to begin tagging items. You can notice that your web page is in the left pane and the data items that needs to be marked in the right pane as shown below.
Step #3: Highlight and select the type of elements to be marked up.
As I am marking up a blog post (article), I will highlight the name of the blog post in order to add “Name” markup. After highlighting, I select “Name” from the tooltip. After selecting the Name markup, Google Markup Helper adds it to the Data items in the right pane.
Step #4: Mark up all remaining data items
By looking at the data items on the right, start marking up all the elements of your webpage to add them to the markup list. As few data items may not be present on your website, you can leave them blank.
Step #5: Create the “JSON-LD” or “Microdata” Code
Click on “Create HTML” to generate the code that needs to be added to your webpage. Choose between “JSON-LD” and “Microdata”.
Step #6: Add Structured Data markup (Or Schema markup) to your web page
Click on “Finish” to get to the further guided steps. After generating the “JSON-LD” or “Microdata code”, you can edit your web page’s HTML to add this code. For this, you might require the help of a developer or if you are good at managing CMS or source codes, you can do it yourself.
If you do not have a developer full time working with you, you can make use of “Google Tag Manager” to add structured data code. You can refer to this article on “How To Add Structure Data To Website Using Google Tag Manager”
There are also plenty of plugins freely available (For WordPress sites) to generate and add structured data on your website/webpages.
It is very much necessary, that, you check the structured data code for any possible errors and fix it before adding it to your webpages.
Google offers a comprehensive tool – Google Structured Data Testing Tool to test your generated structured data code. You can either fetch the webpage URL if you have already added the code or copy paste the generated code snippet to check for any errors.
Discussing Structured Data in detail is beyond the scope of this blog post. For an in-depth understanding of Structured Data and Schema Markup, you should visit the following websites.
Website owners or Webmasters have started implementing Structured Data Markup (Or “Schema markup” ) on their websites in a large scale as it has shown proven results when it comes to better search engine rankings and user experience.
Congratulations! You are done with the eighteenth chapter on “Understanding Structured Data In SEO – A Beginner’s Guide”. Hope you enjoyed the reading.
All the best for your next chapter on “Website Structuring For SEO – The 4-Step Method”. In the next chapter, you will learn the exact method to organize your website and its internal pages to earn better rankings on organic results.
Feel free to comment below if this blog post was useful or not. If yes, please do me a favor by sharing it with others who might benefit.
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Subhash.K.U is a Professional Programmer turned Digital Marketing Enthusiast. He is the most sought marketing consultants for small and medium scale businesses. He founded Subhash Digital Academy to teach professional digital marketing skills to students, entrepreneurs, and working professionals. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and is an Oracle Certified Programmer. He also holds certificates of Google AdWords, Facebook Blueprint and Hubspot Marketing. He is the co-author of the best selling book – Cracking The C, C++ and Java Interview published by McGraw Hill. He is now penning another book on the subject of marketing and entrepreneurship.