Structured data has become a hot talking point in the world of SEO for the last couple of years, even more so since search engines started to recognise and support it with the formalisation of schema.org. The industry has since struggled to grasp what purpose structured data has in the realm of SEO, with the confusion around structured data causing it to be discounted altogether. This article will go through the myths surrounding structured data and help turn non-believers into everyday users.
What is structured data?
Structured data is a formatted code set by the rules of schema.org and in a JSON format that search engines understand. Implementing markup schema on a webpage helps provide additional detail around the page’s content.
Why structured data is important
Structured data has gathered momentum due to the shift in featured placements. Google has driven this shift, with more and more search terms gaining featured placement availability. Studies have shown that structured data helps search engines understand the content better, which can help with relevancy signals, allowing a site to benefit from enhanced results in SERPs, such as:
- Rich snippets
- Rich cards
- Knowledge graphs
These enhanced search features are great channels for organic traffic, with SERP features showing more relevant information to customers about your products/services. Increasing CTR and converting into sales.
Through an improved CTR, these enhanced search results can also drive additional traffic – because they are visually more appealing and provide additional information to searchers. Improved CTR can indirectly improve your rankings, as a user behaviour signal.
Common myths around structured data
Structured data is often overlooked, and there is limited literature out there to help SEO’s understand how to implement it. This is often a big issue surrounding structured data – with very little support, SEO’s can be reluctant to delve into unknown territory.
Structured data does not guarantee results: Structured data does not guarantee rich snippets, which is often why digital marketers will often focus more on content optimisation. Due to content optimisation being historically a working well-known ranking factor, meaning structured data often gets neglected.
Structured data is not a ranking factor: Structured data is not a ranking factor, so why would you put your time and focus into it? Structured data does help Google ‘better’ understand the content, giving your content stronger relevance. While also adding the value of increasing CTR, which can lead to better rankings due to stronger behaviour signals.
Why you should implement structured data
Structured data is an important step to optimising a website to be search ready. Auditing a website for structured data opportunities is a great way to check if your site will benefit from structured data. You can learn all about structured data direct from Google’s guidelines here.