From loyalty programs to a flexible workforce, companies are always thinking about the next big idea. One strategy that is proving increasingly useful is structured data. This enables you to make sites more search engine friendly, and more visible than it improves the customer experience Therefore.
Read on to find out how structured data can work for you and your business.
Define structured data
Structured data, or schema markup, refers to a type of code added to web pages on a site. It is used to make a web page more digestible for a search engine. Web pages that use structured data can have their information extracted (and displayed on a search engine results page, or SERP) more easily than usual.
A web page doesn’t need to use structured data to work properly or to show up in search results. But websites that use it under the Tensor Flow have an edge over those who don’t, the same way using the best business cell phone plans sets you apart from your competition.
Structured data in action
Structured data impacts the information that appears on a search engine results page. If you have deployed structured data on your website (and your website is of high enough quality), it increases the likelihood that your website (and its information) will appear more prominently. Other actions such as web performance optimization and usage MapCollapse the execution ensures that people stick around once they visit it.
It is important to understand that you can tick all the relevant boxes and not appear in a rich snippet. The inner workings of any search engine are (at least to a point) mysterious, but using structured data gives you the best possible chance. You also need to keep working on other SEO tactics like considering the right long tail keyword.
Today’s SERPs display information in different ways outside of organic search results. Using structured data can help you appear in many of the following.
- Rich extracts
Rich snippets are a popular way search engines use structured data. These blocks of information appear above organic search results in a SERP and are of particular value to businesses.
Simply put, rich snippets tell people that your website is valuable. Suppose you operate a web-based telephone service, the snippets will allow you to offer product reviews, availability information, or an answer to a question, chances are they will encourage people to visit your site and to use your phone plans or services. However, the exact nature of a rich snippet will vary depending on what your site has to offer.
Rich snippets are also great value for voice assistants. Indeed, the likes of Siri and Google Assistant derive answers to our queries from rich snippets. Structured data ensures that your business has as wide a reach as possible.
The popularity of rich snippets reflects a broader hunger for convenience in our interactions with technology.
We want to get relevant information from websites with as little effort as possible, which often results in fewer mouse clicks.
We also want to learn and communicate on our own terms, which translates to things like asynchronous communication. Structured data (and the rich snippets it produces) is a great way to provide this convenience to users today.
A carousel contains a mix of images and captions related to your search query, all of which come from a single website. They appear on mobile devices, but are generally compatible with a narrow band of content types such as movies or recipes.
If your site’s content supports carousels, they’re a great way to share multiple pieces of content at once. Learning eCommerce Product Description Best Practices can also help in this area.
Videos are a particularly popular form of content online, so it’s no surprise that they show up high on the SERPs. Many people use online videos as an entry point into an unfamiliar subject, reflecting their connection to structured data.
Marking up your video content the right way can add further enhancements to it. You can tell people if a piece of content has been live-streamed and where its most useful bits are. This in turn helps people make an informed decision about whether it’s useful to them.
4. Knowledge Panels
These work in a slightly different way than rich snippets, appearing on the right side of a SERP. However, they perform a similar function – to answer questions without the need for additional clicks. The main difference is that knowledge panels tend to provide information about a specific person or entity, such as a celebrity’s birthday or a company’s stock price.
How to Add Structured Data to Your Website
As you can see, structured data is an essential part of online commerce. If you want to add it to your website, it comes with a learning curve. However, the benefits are extremely significant.
1. Types of structured data
To begin with, we need to understand the nature of structured data itself. Structured data comes in several distinct varieties, some of which may be better suited to your site than others. You can use a site called Schema.org to find the data you need, especially if you’re looking for something specific.
JSON-LD is one of the best structured data types to use; it’s very popular with Google, and given how big Google is in the internet search landscape, it’s a safe bet. It’s also very unlikely to have a negative effect on how your site works, and you don’t need to add it to the text that users can see, which can make it easier to add.
There are other types of structured data you can use, such as microdata and RDFa. However, if you are new to this task, JSON-LD is still the safest option.
Once you have chosen a data type and data source, you can add structured data to your website using a specialized tool. Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper lets you do this easily.
To start, you need to decide what type of data you want to mark up. You can designate a few different types of data, including articles, products, and jobs. Next, you need to paste the URL of the page you want to edit.
Once the page appears, you can highlight different parts and assign relevant data tags. You can also manually add missing tags if you think something important is missing.
Once you are happy with your data markup, you will receive a piece of text; this is the structured data we discussed. You can download this as an HTML file, and paste it into a web page’s CMS or source code. Your web page should now be much more search engine friendly.
If you’re not sure you’ve done it right, you can test the data you’ve created in the Structured Data Testing Tool. This link lets you diagnose any problems with the structured data you’ve created. Another tool on this page lets you test structured data from schema.org instead if you prefer.
If you’ve ever had to engage in web testing, you can appreciate the value of this activity.
3. Other Structured Data Methods
There are several other ways to add structured data to your website.
If your site is powered by WordPress, you can use a plugin to add structured data to it. Some plugins come with instructional videos, while others offer a high degree of automation framework design and implementation. It is worth digging into this question if you are using WordPress in your websites.
Other CMSs have their own methods for adding structured data to their sites. Their complexity varies from site to site: Wix and Squarespace sites are fairly easy to add structured data, while sites such as Weebly and Blogger are more complicated. If you’re not sure which CMS you should use, research its structured data support as well as a web application security testing
If you’re feeling more ambitious, you can also manually add structured data to a site’s header. It takes longer than the options we talked about, but it lets you work with more options and gives you more data driven growth and control. Schema.org will help you generate the relevant code in this context, and some plugins can help you insert this data manually more easily.
Structured data is an important new frontier in online business. It ensures your site is visible in the places that really matter to today’s customers. When combined with other orchestration technologies, it can give your company a serious reputational boost.
Although there is an important technical component, certain tools, web hosting or WordPress features and plugins can make working with structured data much easier. It’s important for companies to embrace this learning curve to give their businesses that edge. With patience and perseverance, structured data will be one of the best parts of your business toolkit.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pohan Lin Lead Head of Web Marketing and Localization, Databricks
Pohan Lin is the Senior Web Marketing and Localization Manager at Databricks, a global PySpark and AI provider linking data warehouse and data lake functionality to create a Lakehouse architecture. With over 18 years of experience in web marketing, online SaaS business and e-commerce growth. Pohan is passionate about innovation and dedicated to communicating the meaningful impact of data on marketing.