Structured Data: Provide Better Search Experience
Your website should have relevant and qualitative content. Content that your human user understands quickly and easily. But search engines do not (yet) understand everything that is on your pages. By using structured data you help search engines and other applications better understand what your web pages are about. We will tell you more about it in this article. And when and how you apply structured data.
Simply put, you use structured data to ‘label’ certain content on your website. Structured data is a form of metadata: it tells a bit more about the data on your website. The user does not immediately notice this. But you make your pages more comprehensible for Google or Bing, for example.
Structured data helps make connections
Structured data makes it easier for a search engine to make connections between certain content. Not only on your own site, but also with other information on the internet. The use of structured data also makes it possible to make an action easy for users around certain information. For example, tracking an order or confirming a hotel reservation in an email.
Of course, classifying content on a page only works if a standard is used. Those standards are described in vocabularies. The most widely supported is schema.org , which is the result of a collaboration between the search giants, software companies and other platforms.
Deployment of structured data
But which elements can you now provide additional information with structured data? A lot. Consider, for example, application with products.
Imagine you sell fully automatic coffee machines. Then of course you have a page with all specifications per machine. You will not only describe the functions and benefits, but all relevant information. And there you can declare with structured data what which data actually is.
Your product has the number 36. Then it could be anything for a search engine. The price (although you and I know that you don’t have a coffee machine for that, let alone a top model), a size, a code for the material or some code.
Fortunately, this number is marked as “weight” with structured data. It is now also clear to Google and Bing that it is about the weight of your top model. And that could come in handy if your new customer is looking for “best fully automatic coffee machine between 30 and 40 kg”
By using the structured data on your page, the search engine can now present a much more relevant result. And in addition, you have a better chance that that result is your page.
Frequently used structured data
Many people will be concerned about the weight of their new coffee machine. However, the example does illustrate how structured data can be used in product descriptions. In addition to enriching data about products, other data can of course also be enriched. Commonly used with schema.org are:
Creative works : structured information about, for example, recipes, books, films, TV series, etc. You can think of publication date, duration, author, genre, producer or, for example, cheat codes for games.
Places: for example, local company data: structured data about your opening hours, address details, types of services you offer, logo, reviews and more. For restaurants and hotels special markup for specific information. But also for tourist attractions and landmarks.
Events: date and time, location of the event, intended audience, performer (s) , but also, for example, sponsors and sub-events.
Structured data and SEO
It is therefore possible to use structured data to help search engines better interpret content on your website. You might think that is automatically good for your SEO. No. Not directly. Various studies currently show that the use of structured data is not a clear ranking signal for search engines. But that can be so different. Nevertheless, the use of structured data on your website is recommended in many cases. Also in the context of SEO. It can cause:
You can help organic visitors much better because you are more relevant to their specific search.
Your page may appear with rich snippets within the search results. Research shows that results have a higher CTR (Click to Rate) than results without these snippets. Improvements up to a 30% higher CTR are regularly reported.
It is also possible that in the future other applications or search engines will make different or more use of structured data. With that you could already build a head start.