In this video, we’re going to be discussing the five types of structured data that are essential to almost every single website. Structured data plays a huge role, not only in letting the search engines understand your context, but can also impact the ability for your site to rank for rich features.
Table of Contents
So, what is structured data? Before we get into this, in case you haven’t seen any other videos on this channel, we’re just going to do a brief overview.
What is Structured Data?
Structured data is a label applied to a number of markup formats. It allows Google and other search engines to understand the data in its indexes. So it’s metadata. Which is essentially just data about data and it’s for machines.
Specifically in this case, we’re talking about the search engines. And the primary purpose is to help with better indexing, as well as understanding. It’s not the end-all be-all when it comes to ranking. You still have to have quality content, you need to deliver value, you need to be unique, et cetera.
All those other things apply when it comes to SEO. But structured data can definitely help quite a bit.
Structured data plays a huge role, not only in letting the search engines understand your context, but can also impact the ability for your site to rank for rich features.
Schema.org will be the ontology that we will use when it comes to search.
It was founded by Google, Microsoft, Yandex, and Yahoo. And the goal was to really create a unified language for the internet, and specifically, for search engines so they can better understand context.
This is a very common markup language and all of the search engines can understand it. Now there’s a number of classes and types that we can choose from, and each of them have their own set of values. So we need to make sure that we use the correct values, if we want the search engines to really understand what it is that we’re talking about.
How Schema.org Works
Schema.org is set up in a hierarchal order and it’s broadest item is known as Thing, and it narrows down further. Each item type has what are called properties. And these properties help describe them.
Some of them are required, and others can just add more detail or context. So you want to make sure that you choose the most precise one as possible, when you’re adding them to your site. So how does this apply to SERP features?
As we know today, Google search has changed quite a bit. And we’ve got these things called SERP features, we’ve got the Knowledge Panel, we’ve got People Also Ask boxes, we’ve got FAQ, and all these other things going on. And they’re becoming more and more prevalent.
So Google’s showing them on nearly all searches. And as we’ve talked about in other videos, there are new SERP features coming, which are going to have even more of an impact, and really change the way search looks all together.
When it comes to SERP features, they’re really designed to improve the way that search happens for the end user. Now, as website owners, as SEOs, as marketers, we can target these as well, to make sure that our content has more visibility. That it’s easier for our users to see, to click and engage with.
Structured data doesn’t play a direct factor in all of these, but in a lot of cases, it can help increase the chances of earning these positions and features, when you’ve implemented it correctly.
Most Common SERP Features
This is a snapshot of the day that we were creating this video from SEMrush. And this changes daily. But as you can see, these are the most common SERP features within the top 20 results. We’ve got everything from the featured snippet, which is that box at the top, local packs, and shopping results.
Knowledge Panel is showing up on almost 28% of searches. Something that’s really interesting to see here, the amount of searches that have zero SERP features, is less than 3%. Almost 50% of them have ‘People Also Ask’ boxes, site links are showing up in 72%.
As you can see, they’re very prevalent when it comes to search. Google is leveraging these, again, to entice the user to find the right content, but also make search more dynamic.
So what can we do about this?
Which SERP Features Can You Influence?
There’s a number of SERP features that are available as you can see in the slide before. But which are the ones that we can actually influence and impact? This is a high level view. This is by no means all of the ones that you can impact and influence.
But these are some of the more prevalent ones and the ones that we would engage with on a day-to-day basis. Things like article, events, FAQ, how-to, images, local, podcast, products, reviews, and video.
Now this doesn’t apply to all sites, because maybe you don’t have a podcast, or maybe you’re not selling certain products and you’re more of a content influence site. But these are the ones that you can directly influence with the use of structured data.
In this video, we’re going to be talking about five types that are covered by a number of websites and its articles. We’ll look at something called entities. We’ll look at logo, which is also organizational markup, reviews, and videos.
So the first type is article markup. Most sites have blogs, or they have some article on there. And adding this type of structured data, can help enhance your appearance within the Google search results. Now you have some required properties you have to follow.
You need to have author, author name, the date it’s published, the headline image, the publisher, publisher logo, and the publisher name. Now the publisher most likely, will be your organization. You can also add in some recommended properties. We have the new one called Author URL.
Which we talked about in a previous video, which you can find within one of the links here. You can also add date modified. So if you’re updating content, that’s an important one to have. As well as, main entity of the page. Which this really sets the tone of what the article is specifically about.
To find more information on that, you can definitely check out the Google Developer documentation, which we’ll link to in the article that we’re making along with this video.
You can also add something called entities.
Now, this is something that Google doesn’t talk about directly, but we’ve talked about quite a bit on this channel, and it plays a huge role in semantic search engines. Entities add structured data to your site that helps the search engines understand the context of your specific page.
I’m putting in some required properties here. By no means, all this is necessarily part of the Google guidelines, but there are things that you definitely want to have. You need to have a name, you need to have a description, and you need to have a URL for where that entity is found.
You can also find some other properties where you can add, if you’ve got alternative names for it. You can add main entity of the page. You can add what’s called ‘same-as-links’. And typically in this case, we use links out to linked open data sources.
We’ve done a few videos on this channel about WordLift. And here is a snapshot of one of our pages, that uses WordLift to inject these entities in the page. And you can see. We’re talking about Search Engine Optimization.
It’s got an alternate name of SEO. We’ve got description. We’ve got the main entity of the page, the same as, and all of that as well. So entities definitely help your content by giving more context to the search engines themselves.
The next one is organizational markup. Now, Google will call this logo when you’re looking at the documentation within developers.google. And when you specify your logo to Google, it can help with influencing the Knowledge Panel, it can also help influencing other places where a logo might be used.
The required properties for this, is your logo URL, as well as the URL of your company. Some recommended properties, is maybe an alternate name. If your company has maybe an acronym, but also it goes by another name.
You can also add description. And you can add same-as-links. And typically, this is where you would add same-as-links to your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, other profiles like that.
Next would be reviews. Reviews are something that we’re seeing show up quite a bit. And you can markup reviews in services, and in products, and a lot of other ways. Now you have to do this correctly in order for those reviews stars to show up.
But as you can see in this little image here, that they definitely make your listing stand out in search. It’s a short excerpt of a review or rating from a website. And it’s usually a combination of scores as well. So you can do something called aggregate review as well. And you can see more of that documentation on the developers.google site.
There are some required properties. You got to have an author, the item reviewed, the item review name, the review rating, and then the rating value. Recommended properties would be date published, the best rating and the worst rating.
So that allows us to see an 8.6 out of 10, something like that. If you want to have an aggregate like this thing is showing here in this image right here, you’re going to need to do aggregate reviews, like I said. But as long as you follow the documentation, it’s pretty straightforward.
And lastly, we’re going to talk about video markup. Video is becoming more and more prevalent. Google is learning to leverage video a lot more. They’re understanding video a lot more, especially with the implementation of Google Month.
Google will try to understand the video on its own, but there’s a lot of challenges still for machines. So when we add in structured data, things like our description, or our thumbnail, when we uploaded the video, how long the video is, it definitely helps Google better understand the context of the video that we’ve created.
There are some required properties for this as well. You need to have a description, a name, a thumbnail, and an upload date.
And then with the recommended properties, you can do content URL, you can do how long the video is, the embedded URL, does the video expire? Are there different parts of that specific video? Are there interaction statistics you want to add, like likes or comment? The publication, and the regions allowed, if you’re restricted to certain areas.
Video’s going to be showcased more and more in search. And so, we definitely want to make sure that we take time to make this markup on our websites, if we are leveraging video.
Learn More about Structured Data and Schema.org
So in this specific video, we talked about the five different types of essential structured data markup for your website.
If you want to learn how to implement these at scale on your website? I’ve actually built a course, where we’ll walk you through every aspect of this, how to put the code together, how to add the code to your site, how to test the structured data, and really, how to leverage this at a much deeper level?
I gave a 25% off cut for anybody who watches our videos on YouTube. And you can sign up right now at learn.simplifiedsearch.net, and start to master structure data, and start to earn those rich features for yourself within the search results.
Thanks again for watching this video today. If you’ve got any questions, please comment below. We’d love to continue that conversation with you. Don’t forget to subscribe. And until next time, happy marketing.