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Structured data in SEO

Structured data – definition & SEO impact

There is an innumerable amount of text content scanned by Google every day. The robots that are responsible for reading all these pages have a lot to do. You can make it easier for them just by implementing structured data. Thanks to this, robots will have more info on how to use & display specific content. Indexing the Your website will become easier & more effective in the end.

What is Structured data?

Structured data is an additional description in HTML code allowing search engines that use and process this data, to better understand the content of the page.

It’s better to understand this concept using examples. Let’s take the name of our company as the first one. Humans can understand that Boostsite is our brand name without much effort, but search engines’ algorithms might have problems with proper identification of this keyword. To make sure that particular parts of website content are read in a proper way, You should use structured data markers. Structured data is able to provide search engines with information that allows correct reading of content and detecting its specific meaning. This feature also allows more accurate and comprehensive presentation of the page in the SERP.

Another, more technical example where this mechanism can be used are the prices in an online store. A simple HTML code describing the price tag might look like this:

<div class=”product-price”>
<span>500.00</span>
<span>$</span>
</div>

However, with the added structured data, it would look like this:

<div class=”product-price”>
<span itemprop=”price” content=”500.00”>500.00</span>
<span itemprop=”priceCurrency” content=”USD”>$</span>
</div>

With the addition of the “itemprop” parameter to the HTML element, You are able to inform the search engine what kind of content it is.

Why structured data is important in SEO

Structured data is one of the most important aspects of technical SEO that helps search engines to properly index Your content & stand out from the crowd in search engine result pages. One of the main benefits of this implementation is rich snippets. Previous example was based on price tag, but structured data can be used to describe far more than that, images, product or article ratings, number of opinions, price ranges, currency, product attributes (like color, size, etc.), number of products in stock and many more. In addition, rich snippets vary depending on the category Your website is in. There are different examples for eCommerce sites, news portals, restaurants, company websites etc.

Here is an example of how structured data can be used in Google’s search engine result page.

structured data example

Structured data is not a direct ranking factor, meaning it will not impact positively or negatively (if not implemented) your positions in SERP for selected keywords. Although it may impact the rankings indirectly, as better exposition of Your pages & improved CTRs might have a positive effect by boosting your website performance in Google.

How to implement Structured Data

Structured data is a different way of describing individual elements in your HTML code. To sort them out, the schema.org project was created. It was established in 2011 and aimed at improving the interpretation of website content by the most popular search engines – Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yandex. This is possible thanks to the standardization of the data format for marking HTML elements.

There are three basic ways to implement structured data on a website:

  • Microdata – a very popular solution that involves adding additional attributes and values ​​to HTML tags directly in the body of the page. Unfortunately, in this case, problems may arise regarding the recording of numbers and address formats.
  • RDFa – used both in the body of the page and in its header, an extension of HTML5 technology that allows data to be interleaved with the content of the page.
  • JSON-LD – is the recommended method, it consists of adding a script in the header or body of the website. It does not intertwine with the content, which prevents difficulties in editing the content. JSON is a universal data storage and presentation format that is used for communication between applications written in different languages.

When implementing structured data into our HTML code, Google documentation will be very helpful. You will find all the descriptions of individual data and examples of how to apply them. Each of the data types has its own preserved structure and imposed rules of application. You must remember that sometimes one of them cannot be assigned to two different elements. You can find all these dependencies in the schema.org documentation.

Co-author: Alicja Moczko

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