Information has become the most important asset for companies and organizations today. Managing all the data they handle is a priority to be able to turn that information into useful knowledge that allows them to improve their business. structured data is an essential component for today’s companies, as it is information that is already ready to be analyzed, thus saving a lot of time and effort in the process.
Structured data is also of great importance for web positioning since it makes it easier for Google bots to understand the content and structure of a website in order to position it in their ranking in an appropriate way.
What is structured data?
Structured data is information that is organized in a way that facilitates access to it. When referring to structured data, it refers to information that is stored in a database and from which information can be extracted through queries.
Structured data is the usual way in which we access information through the internet, applications, and computer programs, as they are very easy to use due to the available technologies.
What is structured data in SEO
It is a standard format to present the information of a page and to facilitate the classification of its content. It is a process that consists of marking certain parts of the page to make it easier for Google to understand them better.
A good example of structured data in SEO are cooking recipes, where the different ingredients, baking temperature, cooking time, etc. can be marked as structured data … Google, when accessing this structured information, understands what is about a cooking recipe, and displays it in the proper format in the SERPs.
Differences between structured and unstructured data
While structured data has a defined organization and structure, unstructured data is information that lacks an identifiable internal structure and consists of a disorganized conglomerate of information that is worthless until it can be organized and stored appropriately.
Structured data is very important for companies because it represents a large volume of information, which is why new technologies such as big data and business intelligence use tools and methods to organize and analyze them. However, unstructured data is not good for web positioning, as Google cannot understand it and, therefore, websites with this type of data will not achieve good web positioning.
Why is structured data important for SEO?
Structured data is very important at the SEO level because Google uses it to better understand a website and position it in its ranking . Thanks to structured data, you can offer more precise information on users’ search intent on your results pages, presenting it in formats that are easier to read and understand (such as lists, tables, image carousels, and ratings, among others).
When conducting a Google search, if we analyze the SERPs, we will be able to see at the top a series of prominent results that are presented in different formats. These rich snippets and featured snippets appear there because they have structured data.
If a website works with its structured data it will have a better web positioning and much more possibilities of appearing in Google’s featured formats on its results pages.
In the following image, we can see how enriched results are shown in a search for a recipe, thanks to the fact that those pages have marked their data as structured.
Another example of the importance of structured data is found in online stores, where it is very interesting to structure the data so that Google recommends it in a rich format when users search for products.
Keep in mind that rich-featured results have a high CTR (many users click on them and access their content), so they appear with the products of an eCommerce in this type of results will significantly increase the sales of the virtual store.
Structured data types
Schema.org is a kind of structured data vocabulary that is related to the information handled on the internet on web pages, social networks, emails, etc. Google and other search engines understand this vocabulary, which makes it easier to present information to offer a better user experience.
Schema data markup is used to identify different types of data, the most common being:
- Local Businesses
- Medical conditions
If a website marks different data on its website with a certain type of schema, Google will understand what type of information it is and will be able to display it on its results pages in a rich format.
There are different formats in which data can be marked as structured and that Google supports:
- Microdata. With the use of HTML tags, the different data contained in a page are organized and marked.
- RDFa. It is the least used option and consists of using small pieces of code.
- Google Search Console. From this free Google tool, you can mark the data without having to touch the web code.
Tool to build structured data
There are tools like Schema Markup Generator that help to create chews schema for a web page and indicate what data is structured. It is a free tool that works in a simple way, where you have to select the type of structured data that you want to mark (video, recipe, article, event …), and then fill in a series of parameters related to it. Finally, a code is obtained in script format, which when added to the web, marks this data as structured so that Google can understand it and present it in its rich results.
How to add structured data on my website
Let’s see how to add structured data to a web page, blog, or eCommerce in two different ways, modifying its HTML code or using the WordPress CMS.
1. Add schema in HTML
To add Schema markup by HTML the best option is to use the Wizard for the Google structured data markup. Its operation is very simple and intuitive and requires following a series of steps where the type of structured data is chosen, the URL or HTML code is provided to label the important parts (dates, names …), and identify what type of data they represent.
Finally, the Create HTML option is used to generate the page code by choosing the output format (for example, JSON-LD, Google’s preferred).
- If the code is generated as microdata, it is necessary to replace the page with the generated HTML.
- In the case of generating the code in JSON-LD, it will be necessary to copy and paste this code in the BODY of the page.
Let’s look at an example of how to mark up structured data with microdata in HTML:
Love is written without H
Main Author: Jardiel Poncel
2. Add Schema to WordPress
In WordPress, it is very easy to add structured data using a plugin or plugin like Schema. Once installed and activated, different types of schema categories can be created that can be applied to the pages and entries of the site.
There are also other plugins for structured data such as All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets or WPSSO Schema JSON-LD Markup.
Manually it is also possible to mark structured data in WordPress, although it is a more complex process that requires activating the custom fields and adding a script with the data to be marked in the appropriate format (using the aforementioned Schema Markup to generate the script Generator, for example).
Structured data validation
There are tools that allow you to verify the code of a website to verify the existing structured data. The Google Structured Data Test tool is very useful in these cases since it allows the verification of the enriched data and the quality of the structured data markup.
The operation of these tools is very simple, just access your website and enter the URL of the page you want to check, and a list of the different types of structured data that that URL contains will be displayed, as well as its corresponding HTML code.
They also offer information about possible errors related to the marking of structured data, to be able to correct them if they exist.
We have seen the great importance of structured data for SEO. Marking structured data on your website will give you the possibility that Google will show your pages in the first position of its SERPs as data or rich snippets. Reaching the first position in Google thanks to structured data will provide you with a large increase in web traffic, and the consequent greater reach and visibility of your site.