What Is Structured Data?
What happens when giant internet search companies realize that crawling billions (a little exaggeration – may be a few hundred million) of websites to understand the context of content on every website will cost a bomb if it’s not neatly organized?
They team up to create rules for websites to follow to organize data faster.
These rules are made by the largest search companies you know. And well, if you follow the rules, you get rewarded. (With better visibility of your site on search)Example of Structured data for flights on Search
A list of all these standards are called structured data. These are listed under Schema.org.
In today’s world where people are dependent on the internet for their smallest of queries in any and every genre one can think of, search engines have left no stone unturned in ensuring the delivery of the best possible information to cater to all its audience. Example of Structured data for Jobs on Search
The goal of search engines is to make sure you do not visit multiple websites for your query. Get answers to your queries in as less number of clicks as possible. Customer satisfaction eh?
There are numerous websites on the internet that have written about or have enveloped content over similar topics.
Your (future) customer looking for information simply needs to type in the search keywords, and he gets a huge list of websites about the topic.
In this scenario, it is business critical for websites and webpages to ensure that their website’s content is on point & to make sure that search engines can understand what information on your site is all about.Example of Structured data for Recipes on Search
It furthers ensures that your website is served to users who are on the lookout for appropriate topics. (Just like you landed here mate. Yes, it was intentional. We help marketers with reporting & we are vying for your attention)
This optimization or marking of data and information is known as structured data and is used by search engines to visually improve the user experience.
Now, you must be wondering what does adding this structured data to your website exactly do?
The process of adding structured data on a website is known as Schema Markup and ensures the content on the site gets a major SEO boost (Search Engine Optimization) while also significantly improving the rankings of the website.
In other words, Structured data is a type of code that makes it easier for search engines to crawl, organize, and display your content.(Smart by search engines – Make you do all the work huh?)
The data and information of a site can be characterised as structured data by adding some simple commands in the HTML page of the website.
Schema.org is the accepted universal vocabulary standard for structured data.
The steps that need to be followed for including structured data includes the following.
- Open Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper
Add URL & choose the type of data to which you would like to add the HTML markup. Plug the web page URL at the bottom and click Start Tagging.
When the tool loads, you should see your web page, a prompt to tag data is seen here.
Your website is shown on the left side and data items on the right. Highlight different components of your web page to assign data tags such as name, author, and date published.
When you’re finished tagging and assigning data items, click Create HTML in the upper right-hand corner. On the next screen, you should see your structured data markup on the right side. Click Download to download the script as an HTML file.
To “publish” your markup, copy and paste the new HTML markup into your CMS or source code of your web page. Lastly, click Finish in the top right corner to check out Google’s recommended Next Steps.
- Once you add the structured data to your webpage, it’s time to test your markup with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool (Discussed in detail below)
- Diagnose and fix any detected issues & be patient.
For entering all the data in Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, the following steps must be adhered to.
The guidelines for a recipe include the requirement of adding an “ItemList” to summarize the recipes and also including a summarised segment which included the list of all the recipes present on the site.
The data would also include
- Name of the recipe
- Category of the dish (main course, dessert or a drink)
- Time required for preparation and cooking
- No of servings from the recipe
- Short description of the recipe, etc.
Once all the information has been typed in using proper and required HTML codes and commands under the schema markup, the data needs to be validated and tested.
Testing And Validation Of Data
To test the data of the website, the first step is that that user needs to enter either the URL of the site or the HTML code on Google’s Structured Data Testing tool.
The tool will show you your HTML markup on the left side and the markup analysis on the right. Pay heed and note any red errors or warnings that pop in.
The last step after everything else is done could arguably be the easiest yet arguably the most difficult step as well since it has the calibre to take a toll or test the patience of any marketer.
The step simply asks and requires the user to sit back and wait since Google, or any other search engine for that matter, can take up weeks to re-crawl a new HTML markup, and yet cannot guarantee that your content will show up in the rich snippets or other SERP features (Search Engine Results Page).
Although the process might seem too long and complicated, it is an extremely important step that ensures the marking of your presence on search engines.
Having a noticeable spot on the internet can definitely add a lot of brownie points for the business and ensure better profits and marketability.
Also, people greatly believe in the results of these search engines that most prominent ones definitely have a stronger dependability factor according to the users.
So, although the process might seem testing and tedious, it is surely worth all the effort that goes in there