If you're familiar with Ryan's Hack My Growth videos you've likely heard about structured data, Schema.org, and possibly JSON-LD. But what exactly do these terms mean? Keep reading to find out.
According to Ahrefs, “structured data” is a general term that refers to any organized data that conforms to a certain format. Structured data refers to kinds of data with a high level of organization, such as information in a relational database. When information is highly structured and predictable, search engines can more easily organize and display it in creative ways.
Structured data involves using a piece of code that is laid out in a specific format easily understood by search engines. The search engines read the code and use it to display search results in a more dynamic way.
Schema.org, often referred to as “Schema,” is a semantic vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to your HTML to improve the way search engines read and represent your page in SERPs. According to their site, Schema.org "is a collaborative, community activity with a mission to create, maintain, and promote Schemas for structured data on the Internet, on web pages, in email messages, and beyond." Schema.org makes it easy for SEOs to find, create, and add structured data to their websites.
There are four main semantic annotation formats you can use to structure data on the internet:
Schema.org can provide you with the Schema you’re looking to add in any of these formats, but JSON-LD is the format that Google recommends.
There are hundreds of schema markup types. Using Schema.org, you can find markup data for:
Adding Schema markup to your HTML improves the way your page displays in SERPs by enhancing the rich snippets that are displayed beneath the page title. Here are two examples of webpages that appear when using the search query “chili recipes.”
Martha Stewart’s webpage includes a piece of Schema on her website that pulls information from other sources to make her listing “richer” regarding the amount of content that is displayed. Her listing includes an image and a 3.4-star rating, a Schema markup commonly referred to as an aggregate rating. Having rich snippets show up for your products in the SERPs is a great way to increase click-through rates and draw more attention to your listings, especially if you have great product reviews.
On the other hand, Cheapism’s webpage does not contain any structured data markup. It is displayed the same as any other standard webpage listing, which may be far less appealing to users.
Structured data gives Google and other search engines more details on your content which helps them better understand your intent and match it with more targeted users looking for what you provide. While having structured data is not a necessity, it can help your site earn a featured snippet, which appears at the top of the SERP, before organic listings. This can lead to more visibility from the people you are trying to target - the people most likely to convert.
SEO is more than just ranking and driving traffic. It’s about driving traffic that engages and converts readers to users. In order to help ensure your site shows up for the right users, it’s important for search engines themselves to understand your site, its content, and the context in which it’s presented. Using structured data and schema can help you better inform the search engines about your content and get your webpages to rank higher in the SERPs.
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