What is Structured Data and How Does it Impact SEO?
Structured data is one of the latest coding languages that is being used by web developers to parse out information to search engines. Used correctly, it is a powerful way to boost the visibility of your digital content and can even get your website a ‘Featured Snippet’.
In this feature, we take a quick look at what structured data is, how it impacts SEO and how you can harness the benefits of this powerful coding.
What is Structured Data (Rich Snippets)?
The result of a collaboration between the online search giants Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex, structured data, also known as Schema, is a very specific format of code which is designed to be more easily read by search engines.
The project was started in 2011 and continues to be maintained as a universal ‘language’ by all four companies. However, vocabularies are developed as an open community process using GitHub’s Public Schema mail.
Structured data essentially works to translate the content you have produced to be read by humans into a format that is easily understood by search engines.
It works by pairing common data together with universally agreed, and therefore understood, values so that information your website can be indexed at a greater depth.
Basically, structured data enriches the content of your pages to offer a more detailed return on a set of results or, put another way, rich results. This kind of code format is what powers rich snippets which are prioritised by search engines like Google.
As a result of using structured data correctly, your content has a far better chance of being featured by sites like Google and of ranking more highly in SERPs…. irrespective of which search engine’s spider is crawling you.
How Does Structured Data Impact SEO?
Structured data is hugely important for SEO, not only because you could get additional places in Google’s search results by using structured data, but you can also increase your visibility and click-throughs.
This kind of result can trump position 1 and can result in far more clicks.
It’s a win-win situation as more clicks mean increased traffic which, overall, helps boost your organic chances of ranking for other keywords.
Which Search Engines Use Scheme Mark-Up?
Schema was originally designed (and is maintained) by Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex.
There is no data available as to whether other search engines are utilising this markup language within their own systems but there is evidence to suggest that the format is recognised by other search engines.
How To Use Structured Data
You can add schema to your website in a number of ways and you don’t need to learn any new kind of coding.
Structured data is basically an extension of the existing HTML language but there is some additional vocabulary which needs to be added to mark up your content.
If you are already familiar with marking up content such as adding H1 heading tags or other metadata then you should find Schema easy enough to incorporate into your microdata coding. This can also be done using RDFa of JSON-LD.
However, sites like WordPress offer an easier solution with plenty of companies (like Yoast) providing user-friendly plugins.
Of course, understanding what is structured data is important but there is much more to consider when it comes to SEO. For those interested, here you can find a detailed guide providing our top SEO quick wins to improve your Google ranking, covering aspects ranging from ‘search intent’ to engaging potential users.
Opace & SEO
Opace builds structured data into our web design and SEO solutions os that your business benefits from an optimised online presence. The combination of an active, managed SEO strategy and intelligently designed website with optimised on-page and technical SEO means we can provide your business with a competitive edge.
To find out why our customers rate us 5/5 for our SEO services, contact one of our team today.
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