How to Use Structured Data for Better SEO in 2021

With Google search, complex processes take place in order to identify the contents of a page. You can help Google by adding structured data to your page and giving Google explicit advice about the meaning and content of your website. Structured data is a standardized format that you can use to provide information about a page and to classify the page contents.

So when we talk about structured data, in most cases we mean a data format that makes the content of a website machine-readable.

What is schema.org?

Google uses structured data to make it easier to record and classify the content of a page. In addition, data structuring is used to represent particular search result functions and improvements. These are the so-called rich snippets or rich results and also the Google Knowledge Graph.

The schema.org system is used for this purpose. Schema.org is a joint initiative of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex with the aim of creating, maintaining and promoting schemas for structured data on the Internet, on websites, in e-mails and beyond.

Schema.org’s vocabulary can be used with many different encodings, including RDFa, Microdata, and JSON-LD. These vocabularies include entities, relationships between entities, and actions, and can easily be expanded through a well-documented model. Over 10 million websites use Schema.org to tag their web pages and email messages. Many applications from Google, Microsoft, Pinterest, Yandex and others use this vocabulary to enable richer user experiences.

Is the ranking influenced by structured data?

The rankings of a website in the search results are not directly influenced by structured data. However, Google “rewards” the use of structured data with the so-called “Rich Results”. These are search results that are prepared or enriched with structured data and thus highlighted for the user. This has a noticeable effect on the click-through rate (CTR).

The little yellow star ratings are the most common form of rich results, but there are many other formats.

When does structured data make sense?

Products

Data on a product (price, availability and ratings) can be stored here, which can then be displayed in the search. This markup is used on product detail pages and shopping aggregator pages.

Add markup to your product pages as this is the only way for Google to include detailed product information in rich search results (including Google Images). In this way, users can see price, availability and the rating results directly in the search results.

Markup can be used to display rich product results to attract potential buyers looking for items to buy on Google or images of the items you are selling. Your product information must always be correct and up-to-date so that users can see relevant and up-to-date articles.

Events

If you are hosting an event, it is helpful if users can already see when and where your event is taking place in the search.

Markup your organized events so that users can discover them in Google search results and other Google products such as Google Maps. Events of all kinds can be marked with markup – from performances by famous artists to salsa classes two streets away. By adding markup to your events, it makes it easier for users to discover them in search results.

Courses

Educational courses that are included in a provider-specific list. The courses can include the course title, provider, and a brief description.

FAQs

A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page contains a list of questions and answers on a specific topic. FAQs are a relatively new format that get a lot of attention in search results.

Job advertisements

Interactive rich search result that job seekers can use to find work. In the job search on Google there is the option to display the company logo, reviews, ratings and job details

How does the implementation of structured data work?

Google currently supports the introduction of structured data via RDFa, Microdata or JSON-LD. Some features are already only available when using JSON-LD. In the medium to long term, it is quite possible that Google will stop supporting RDFa and Microdata. The integration of structured data with the help of JSON-LD is therefore recommended.

What does JSON-LD mean?

JSON-LD means: JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data

JSON-LD is a JavaScript notation that is embedded in a script tag in the page header or text. The markup does not overlap with the text that is visible to the user. Nested data elements such as the country of a postal address (PostalAddress) of a music venue (MusicVenue) of an event can therefore be expressed more easily. Google can also read JSON-LD data when it is dynamically inserted into the content of the page, for example through JavaScript code or embedded widgets in your CMS (content management system).

Tools for implementing JSON-LD

As in other areas, there are a number of tools for structured data that can help you set up and check your own awards. Google’s Codelab is also suitable for beginners and can above all help to get started quickly. The Scheme Markup Generator is suitable for beginners as well as advanced users. Here you can generate a valid markup with just a few mouse clicks. In addition, the test tool for structured data can also be reached from there with just one click. You can validate the previously created code again here.

External websites can also be checked for structured data with the test tool. However, one must also mention the many plug-in solutions for CMS at this point. A look at the plugin store can be particularly worthwhile for more complex shop systems.

Structured data in the Search Console

In the Google Search Console you can see whether Google recognizes your own awards. The recognized structured data are listed under the item “Improvements”.

The Rich Snippet Test Tool from Google

The Rich Snipppet Test Tool shows which types of rich search results were found on your website. It also lists errors or suggestions for your structured data.

If errors or warnings are found, you can maximize the individual elements and view details. Click the description to open the Code Explorer for the appropriate area. Explorer uses the rendered source code.

Structured data FAQs?

What is structured data?

With structured data, the Google bot can be provided with further information on the content of a website.

Why should I use structured data?

This makes it easier for the search engine to classify the web pages in terms of content and thus play them more appropriately for certain search queries. The structured data therefore helps Google to better understand data.

What are the advantages of structured data?

With structured data, you give Google more context to understand what the website is about. This can be helpful for online shops, for example, when the product descriptions are rather short and the search engine indexing is therefore imprecise.

Using structured data, additional content can also be displayed in the search results (so-called rich snippets). For example, customer reviews can be displayed in the form of asterisks or event dates. This has no immediate advantage in ranking, but increases the click rate in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). The additional information makes your search results stand out from those of competitors without structured data and thus attract more attention.

How can I test my structured data?

With Google’s test tool for structured data you can find out whether the excellent content of your site has been implemented correctly and whether Google can read it out correctly.