One of the effective and relatively new features of SEO is structured data, or better known as, schema markup. The idea of structured data originated in 2011 and has been extensively adopted by search engines across the world, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex. In the past few years, schema SEO has become popular. It has particularly gained relevance after the implementation of Hummingbird and RankBrain.
Although structured data may sound technical; however, it is very easy to understand. In this article, we would be discussing how structured data can be used for boosting organic traffic as explained by Stan Ventures.
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What is Structured Data?
Structured data or schema markup can be understood as the data about the content of a website that helps a search engine in understanding the website better. Although Google or other search engines have the relevant content about a site, however, it is not important that they would be able to understand the website properly. The search engines may look for some specific terms while matching them with a search query.
With the help of structured data, a search engine can understand explicitly what a website is trying to convey to its target audience. This also makes it easier for the search engines to show relevant search results for a search query.
How to use Structured Data on a website?
It is easy to implement and use structured data for a website. Below are the steps that you need to follow to implement and use it on a website:
- Choose the type of content in Google’s Structured Data Mark-up Helper: Visit the Structured Data Mark-up Helper. Out of options, choose the content type that suits the website content.
- Enter the URL of the Website: Now you need to enter the URL of the website in the text-box present at the bottom of the form. Next, click on ‘Start Tagging’. The workspace of a structured data tool would open.
- Choose the website elements which need to be marked: The next step involves highlighting the elements of the website that need to be marked. You can easily include a tag for these website elements such as the author name, publishing date, rating, and so on.
- Choose the type of tag: After you are done highlighting the elements of the website, go and select the tag type on the right pane.
- Add tags: The above two steps need to be repeated and you need to keep on adding tags till you have marked all the important elements.
- Make an HTML: After adding the tags, click on the ‘Create HTML’ button. A new HTML script would open that would have the same data as the website. It would also contain the metadata of the elements that had been included in the previous steps.
- Add the code to your website: Include the script on the website so that the necessary changes get reflected. Thus, structured data is added to the site.
- Testing: For ensuring that the structured data is correctly added, you need to test the website using the Structured Data Testing Tool. Make sure to open the tool and choose one of the options from the Fetch URL or Code Snippet. The Fetch URL option helps you in testing live and running websites. In the Code Snippet, you can get a preview of the structured data. This tool would also recommend other tags that may be required or the tags that are added incorrectly. It also shows errors as well as appropriate warnings.
How Does Structured Data Impacts SEO and Search Engines?
A website continuously gives data to the search engines. Having structured data tells the search engines about what the website is about. The advantage of structured data for SEO as well as search engines can be seen through the following points:
- Improves Click Through Rate (CTR): Structured data is not a ranking factor however it can indirectly affect the website ranking. The reason behind this is that any change in content or data of a website can impact the website’s CTR. A high CTR can lead to a higher ranking for the website in the search engine results page (SERP).
- Prioritizes the Website: Google tends to understand a website and the website content on its own. Thus, without addressing important issues such as content optimization, keyword research, etc., one should never move ahead for structured data. However, after you have addressed it, you need to implement structured data so that the search engines can clearly understand the content and give priority to the website accordingly.
- Improves Visibility and User Experience: Structured data for lists affects the indexing of a website. There is a high chance that a website is shown on the top page of the search results if a website has implemented structured data. This makes a website user-friendly and hence customer experience is also improved. Users can also easily and quickly find what they are looking for. This improves the trust of the users on the website and ultimately gets you a greater number of leads and loyal customers.
- Increases SEO Ranking: Since structured data helps a search engine in understanding the website and website content quickly and clearly, this is sure to lead to an improvement in the ranking of SEO. Your website would be ranked higher when it comes to searches, leading to higher traffic to the website.
In SEO, every little advantage that you get above the competitors can make a huge difference. Hence, it is important to add structured data testing tools to a website. Structured data can result in rich snippets, giving an instant boost to your organic search traffic. The above article was a detailed guide on structured data, how to implement structured data, and how it impacts SEO as well as search engines. In case you do not have the resources or time to implement structured data, just take the help of a digital marketing agency and increase the organic traffic of the website.