Have you heard of structured data, rich snippets or schema before? Do you know what these terms mean exactly, or better yet, how you can use structured data on your website? This article will talk about structured data, schema.org, and rich results.
What exactly is structured data?
In an SEO context, Structured data provides a way to standardize information about a page that helps search engines categorize, index, and understand your content. Search engines also use structured data to enable special search result features and enhancements like rich results, carousels, knowledge cards, etc. For more in-depth reading about structured data, check out this article.
When we are talking about structured data for SEO, we are probably talking about the vocabulary known as Schema.org (often just called schema). Schema is a semantic vocabulary of definitions that you can add to your HTML. You might have heard people using the terms schema and structured data interchangeably. But think of schema.org as a collection of schemas (HTML tags) that webmasters can use to mark up their pages.
Confusing? Yep, but stay with us here.
There are many types of things that you can mark up with structured data using schemas like events, recipes, people, products and more. For example, if you’ve ever seen star review snippets under an organic search result, then they probably have marked up their code with a rating schema.
Search engines use structured data to display search results in a rich and intuitive way called rich results (previously known as rich snippets). They provide a more visual and rich search result to entice a click. These include things like reviews and ratings, business hours, and images.
Structured Data Tools
There are three great tools to help discover and test your structured data, and the best part is that they are all free. The first tool is the Google Structured Data Markup Helper tool. This tool allows you to visually tag content on your page so that Google can recommend the appropriately structured data markup. After you have finished tagging, you can download a file and then upload it manually to the HMTL.
Google has a near-identical tool called Data Highlighter available in Google Search Console. The functions are almost the same, but with the Highlighter tool, you can apply the tags directly to your site without a manual upload.
The third tool by Google is the Structured Data Testing Tool. This is designed to help you check your structured data markup and test it for warnings and errors.
In conclusion, structured data and schemas are really not that scary. There is a bit of a technical learning curve and requires some basic understanding of HTML and JSON syntax. But, adding structured data to your website can give you a significant boost in SEO rankings. Here at Moose May, we are experts and can help guide and implement a structured data strategy that is right for your business.