Are you looking to maximize your website’s search engine visibility? Incorporating structured data as part of technical search engine optimization (SEO) into your website helps search engines better understand your content and provides numerous benefits.
In this blog post, we’ll explore ten ways structured data can benefit your website and help boost your visibility in search engines!
What Is Structured Data?
You may have heard the term “structured data” before, but what does it actually mean? In short, structured data is a standardized format for organizing and labeling data so that search engines can more easily interpret and understand it.
Structured data can be used to annotate a wide variety of content types, including articles, events, local businesses, products, and more. By adding structured data to your website’s HTML code, you can help search engines understand the topic of your page and display your content in richer and more informative ways. For example, Google Search uses structured data to power features like featured snippets, knowledge panels, and carousels.
Schema.org is the most widely used vocabulary for structured data. It is a joint initiative by major search engines (including Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo!) to create a common set of schemas that webmasters can use to markup their pages.
One important thing to note is that structured data is different from other forms of metadata, such as meta tags and alt text. Whereas meta tags provide information about a page’s contents (like its title or description), structured data provides information about the page’s entities (like an event or product).
This distinction is important because meta tags only affect how a page is displayed in search results, whereas structured data can affect both how a page is displayed in search results and what kind of Rich Results it qualifies for.
How to Implement Structured Data on Your Website
There are three ways to implement schema markup on your website:
Use a plugin
If you’re using a popular content management system (CMS) like WordPress or Squarespace, then there’s a good chance that there’s already a plugin available that will help you easily add schema markup to your pages. For example, the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin has built-in support for many common schema types.
Copy & paste code snippets
Schema.org provides code snippets for dozens of schema types that you can copy & paste into your site’s HTML code. While this approach requires a bit more technical know-how than using a plugin, it does give you more control over exactly what information you’re marking up.
Use Google Tag Manager
Google Tag Manager is a free tool that makes it easy to add various types of tracking code to your website without having to modify your site’s code directly. While GTM doesn’t directly support schema markup, there are several free plugins and resources that make it easy to add schema markup via GTM. Read this guide to learn more.
Once you’ve added schema markup to your pages, the next step is to test & validate it using one of Google’s development tools: the Rich Results Test or the Structured Data Testing Tool. These tools will show you any errors or warnings associated with your page’s structured data and help you debug & fix them so that your pages are eligible for Rich Results.
10 Ways Structured Data Can Benefit Your Website
Structured data provides numerous benefits to your website and can help boost search engine visibility. Here are ten reasons why implementing structured data into your technical SEO strategy is a smart move:
1. Rich Results
Your website can rank in rich results with structured data. Rich results are organic search engine listings that contain additional information or functionality. Standard organic listings use a universal format consisting of a title, description, and URL. Rich results have additional information or functionality, such as breadcrumb links, recipes, product prices, how-to lists, and/or reviews. Only websites with structured data can rank in rich results.
2. Long-Tail Keyword Rankings
You should use structured data on your website to rank for more long-tail keywords. It will provide search engines with a more precise, deeper understanding of your content. Search engines may already know some keywords relevant to your website, and they may rank your site for those keywords. With structured data, however, they may identify new, longer keywords for which to rank your website.
3. Higher Organic CTRs
Structured data can lead to higher organic click-through rates (CTRs). Organic CTR represents the percentage of users who click your website’s listing after performing a keyword search. Not every user who sees your website in Google’s or Bing’s organic search results will click your site’s listing. Some users may click a different listing, or they may not click any listings.
Structured data encourages higher organic CTRs by attracting users’ attention. Your website’s listings will have information or functionality that’s not found in other organic listings. After performing a keyword search, users may notice a rich result featuring your website.
4. Longer Visit Durations
Structured data can lead to longer visit durations. A study cited by Google found that visitors spend 50 percent more time on pages with structured data than pages without structured data. Visitors will know what to expect before clicking your website’s listing. Therefore, they’ll usually stay longer before leaving.
Other ways to encourage longer visit durations include:
- Prioritizing long-form content that’s relevant to visitors
- Embedded at least one relevant YouTube video per page
- Optimizing speed for faster load times
- Creating plenty of internal links
- Adding breadcrumb links to pages
- Using a responsive, mobile-friendly web design
- Adding a search box to pages
5. Increased Trust
Visitors may have more trust in your website if you use structured data. Websites with structured data stand out in the search results. They may rank for attention-grabbing rich snippets. Many visitors trust these websites more than others because of their enhanced listings. Visitors will notice your website ranking in rich results, so they may trust it more than other sites that only rank for standard organic listings.
6. More Subpage Traffic
You can use structured data to generate more subpage traffic. Homepages almost always generate more traffic than subpages. But it’s often the subpages where conversions occur. Fortunately, structured data can increase your website’s subpage traffic. There are over a dozen structured data types, some of which will add links to subpages. Your website’s rich results may feature links to subpages that, when clicked, increase traffic to those subpages.
7. Higher-Quality Traffic
Another way structured data can benefit your website is by increasing the quality of its traffic. Your website, including its subpages, may generate more traffic. Best of all, the quality of your website’s traffic will typically be higher, thanks to structured data. It will help to filter low-quality traffic. Your website will rank for the most relevant keywords if it has structured data; it won’t rank for irrelevant keywords that would otherwise drive low-quality traffic to your website.
Higher-quality traffic offers its own benefits for your website. You can expect more robust engagement, for instance. More visitors will perform actions like leaving a comment, clicking an internal link, or completing a web form. Structured data will improve the quality of your website’s traffic so that visitors stay longer and are more engaged during their sessions.
8. Enhanced AMP Listings
Structured data can enhance your website’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) listings. Released in 2015, AMP is a Google-led project for creating faster, more mobile-friendly websites. It consists of a framework that leverages lightweight Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). You can add structured data to standard pages as well as AMP pages. When added to AMP pages, it will enhance your website’s AMP listings.
9. Chatbot Intelligence
For a more intelligent chatbot, you should use structured data. Chatbots are commonly found on business-oriented websites, such as e-commerce websites, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider websites, and even blogs. They consist of programs or apps that simulate conversations with visitors. Rather than contacting you directly, visitors can ask questions to your website’s chatbot. Chatbots use structured data for the same purpose of understanding website content as search engines.
10. Easy to Use
You might be surprised to learn just how easy, structured data is to use. It’s available in three search engine-supported formats: JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa. Using one of these formats — Google recommends the JSON-LD format — you can add structured data to your website’s pages. Structured data requires a vocabulary, such as Schema, that uses a supported format.
Rather than creating it manually, you can use Google’s markup helper tool to create structured data. It’s available by visiting google.com/webmasters/markup-helper. The markup helper tool automates the process of creating structured data. You can choose a type of structured data and enter a URL, after which the markup helper tool will load that URL. While viewing the URL from the markup tool, you can select pieces of content for which you want to create structured data.
Don’t Forget Other SEO Ranking Factors
While structured data can be a helpful tool in boosting your website’s search engine ranking, it’s important to remember that it’s only one part of the larger puzzle. There are several other ranking factors that come into play, and proper optimization requires a holistic approach. Make sure to check out our SEO articles about readability, using subdomains, destructive backlinks, and domain authority.
Structured data has become more common in recent years. According to Statista, over two-thirds of all websites use it. If your website is in the minority, you should consider using it today. Some benefits of using structured data include ranking in rich results, long-tail keyword rankings, higher organic CTRs, longer visit durations, increased trust, more subpage traffic, higher-quality traffic, enhanced AMP listings, chatbot intelligence, and ease of use.