Structured data (SEO)

David Kusserow

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Structured data provides search engines with specific additional information to be displayed under a hit on the results page.

Definition

The concept of Structured Data originates from the semantic Internet, also called Web 3.0.

Structured data

With this data, search engines like Google, Bing & Co. can enrich their search results with information of the respective page. This information forms the basis for rich snippets, for example.

In order for the search engine to be able to use this data, a website owner must add special formats and markers to the information he wants to display on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). In order to have a uniform standard of formatting, Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yandex have created the project schema.org, where you can find the format templates. Some of these formats are Resource Description Framework (RDF), microformats, microdata, data highlighter or JSON-LD.

Where can you use structured data?

A typical application area for structured data is rich snippets. This is short, more detailed information that is displayed instead of a normal search hit in order to answer the user’s query immediately. In this way, you as a website operator can already offer your users insight into what your site has to offer on the SERPs.

  • If you offer a recipe on your site, you can format it as structured data and show it to your user in the form of a search hit.
  • Ticket traders can display the next event dates below their hit.
  • Restaurants or hotels can display their ratings

Why is structured data worthwhile?

Although structured data is not a direct ranking factor included by the algorithm for calculating PageRank, it is still an integral part of OnPage search engine optimization. When you enrich your search results with structured data, you draw more attention to your site, which leads to more organic traffic and thus a better ranking by Google.

How can you create structured data?

To display your structured data to search engines, you proceed in a similar way to creating Rich Snippets.

You can find the correct formatting on the schema.org site, which is run jointly by the major search engines to create a standard for structured data. With the help of the web page, you can expose your information in the source code of your page.

  • One of the oldest types of award is microdata. Here you insert the corresponding vocabulary from schema.org into the HTML source code of your page, similar to the commands for font or similar. With this system you need some basic knowledge of HTML.
  • RDFa are an extension of the HTML5 protocol that give you more options. Here you can also include SVG and XML files, for example.
  • The one recommended by Google and the most modern approach is JSON-LD. Here you work with Java-Script and can include your structured data at any place in the source code.
  • The simplest method is Google’s Data Highligher. This tool allows you to mark and identify content or whole pages. The downside of this tool is that it is only compatible with Google itself. Other search engines cannot read the structured data created in this way.

Google offers a testing tool that you can use to make sure you’ve accounted for all the data correctly.

Conclusion

By displaying structured data, search engines can display more information from your page under your hit in the SERPs. While this data is not a direct ranking factor, it will drive more organic traffic to your site and thus indirectly improve your ranking. With various tools, you can identify and verify data.

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