Here’s what you need to know to start using structured data to drive traffic, improve conversions, and claim voice search results for your website.
If you drill down to the very core, every search engine optimization (SEO) strategy has the same aim: convincing Google your webpage is the best answer to a user’s query
There are a lot of tactics you can and should employ to achieve this, but that’s the goal.
And, as the Google brain has grown more complex, it’s able to display increasingly more detailed and helpful answers.
Likewise, if you run a concert venue, you can add code known as structured data to your website that will encourage Google to display your events when they’re relevant to web searchers.
If you’re not familiar with the term “structured data,” don’t fret – there are a lot of SEO professionals and web marketers who aren’t.
In this article, we’ll set that right, plus give you tips on using the Structured Data Markup Helper to easily add it to your site.
As defined in this post, structured data is information (data) that is organized (structured). Organized information is basically what structured data is.
For SEO purposes, structured data is a specific type of formatting that gives Google information about the meaning of a page.
Following a standardized vocabulary outlined by Schema.org, it is used across several search engines, including Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex.
Structured data can use syntax like JSON-LD, RDFa, and Microdata, among others.
There are several reasons why webpages use structured data.
This is because it provides the information that can then be displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) in the form of rich snippets, video carousels, and other special search result features and enhancements.
This leads to faster indexing by search spiders and enhances your site’s search visibility. This can also help improve your click-through rate, increase conversions, and grab more voice search traffic.
In an article for Search Engine Journal, Winston Burton, Senior Vice President of SEO at global search and marketing agency Acronym, detailed the results of adding structured data to the client’s website.
With no other optimization strategies employed, the client saw a 400% net growth in rich result organic traffic and a 140% growth in impressions for the company’s answer center.
Even if this is a statistical outlier, it still highlights the massive potential of using structured data.
What Is Structured Data Used For?
Now that we’ve covered what structured data is and why it’s important, let’s look into some of the ways it can be used.
In an April 2022 Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout, Google Search Advocate John Mueller dove into structured data and its uses.
If you have 30 minutes to spare, it’s well worth the watch. If you’re in a hurry, the part that’s relevant to the current topic begins at 27:19. Or better yet, read Roger Montti’s coverage of it here.
In this hangout, Mueller was asked a question about how to choose the best format for structured data.
His answer was that it’s not so much about what format a page uses, but rather what kind of rich result is available for the page.
Structured data is very versatile and provides a lot of opportunities for businesses to use it to drive clicks. Some of these you may wish to take advantage of include:
Used for things that are part of the Google Knowledge Graph, they provide a quick overview of information about a topic.
Sometimes referred to as rich results, this is the additional data Google shows users in addition to normal search results. This may include things like music, events, or recipes.
For commercial purposes, this is where reviews can be shown. It can also highlight things like products, addresses, and special offers.
Common on mobile devices, this shows multiple “cards” from the same site.
Not to be confused with ordinary carousels, which can include images, video, and other data pulled from multiple sites, hosted carousels use content from only one “host” site.
Google currently supports the following types of hosted carousels: