What exactly structured data is? How to use them on your website?
Nowadays Structured data is becoming more necessary.
It not only help search engines to understand your content and refine the results. But it helps in increasing the click-through rate and user experience on your site.
When you combine structured data with Schema.org and enhance your pages with rich snippets, then the chances of receiving clicks will definitely increase.
What is structured data?
Structured data is information for robots that consist of a series of labels or annotations that describe the content of your web pages. Users cannot see them, but the robots, which use them to understand what to index and where to index.
By providing structured data to search engines, it can add great functionality to your website. Instead of dealing with complex user queries or searches which are known as keywords, there are multiple concepts and meanings in SEO which can add more functionalities to your website.
Structured data have given us to know is semantic search and has its bases in the knowledge graph; a network of places, things, people and events interconnected to provide more accurate and relevant results.
What is Schema.org
Schema.org is a universal dictionary for semantic markup of Web data (or) It is a collection of words that anyone can use to describe its contents.
It was founded in 2011 as a collaboration among the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex) and is one of the most widespread initiatives in semantic movement.
The reason for its success is that it can manage to simplify the process of marking the web content, while providing benefits for it, such as rich snippets.
What are snippets
Rich Snippets are the outstanding information that appears in search results, such as the price of a product, Event details, and customer reviews.
It is the additional information that makes the outcome more prominently in searches, which helps to capture the attention of users and receive more clicks.
The search engine like Google displays snippets of products, recipes, reviews, events, apps, video and articles. To qualify for them, the seeker needs to understand the content of the page, something which can be achieved by the combination of both structured data and Schema.org.
Can structured / Schema.org improve ranking?
It is logical to think that search engines will better understand your pages and therefore decide to show them more often.
Many SEO experts believe that structured data would be one of the future ranking factors. However, it is what not happening now.
Structured data do not affect the rankings and you should not assume implementing structured data can better your position in search results. If once implemented it has more chances of increases traffic to your site, by improving the click-through rate (CTR), but not for ranking.
Methods to implement structured data
To show rich snippets on your website you need to implement structured data. It is known as marked or semantic tagging and that is to describe the web content.
There are two ways to carry it out:
- Sandwiching content descriptions
- Adding a code block to all descriptions
Then I’ll explain each of these methods:
Method 1: Microdata and RDFa
Both Microdata and RDFa are a number of HTML tags that associate the content of the page with the vocabulary of Schema.org.
To give you an idea of how it works, here’s an example microdata which helps to show the name of a person, your photo, and website :
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Person”>
Name: <span itemprop=”name”>sachin reddy</span>
Photo: <img src=”https://www.techmediaguide.com//wp-content/uploads/2017/08/sachinreddy.png” itemprop=”image” alt=”photo Sachin reddy”/>
Web: <a href=”https://www.techmediaguide.com/” itemprop=”URL”>techmediaguide.com</a>
Here you can clearly notice how the labels in bold described the characteristics of the person using attributes:
- Itemscope – Indicates going to talk about something (one item ) within the block <div>.
- Itemtype – it Indicates that something is a person.
- Itemprop – Indicates the known characteristics of the person ( name, image, and URL ).
Método 2: JSON-LD
Instead of inserting HTML tags from the content, JSON-LD embeds the description in a separate code fragment ( script ). Thus the implementation is easier since the code block can be placed anywhere on the page.
Continuing with the example of the person, marking with JSON-LD would be as follows :
“name“: “Sachin reddy”,
It is the easiest way to implement and describe your labels (name, image, URL ).
The biggest drawback in JSON-LD is that we cannot describe multiple labels in a single script. This implies that if there are many details to make, the code increases and page loading speed could suffer.
On the other hand, Google still does not support JSON-LD marked for all data types, hence Microdata and RDFa recommended as the first choice.
Other methods: Micro-formats and Open Graph
- Micro-formats – work similarly to Micro-data and RDFa, with the difference that brings their own vocabulary. That is, they do not use Schema.org.
- Open Graph – A markup format created by Facebook to indicate the data to be used to share a page (eg title, description, image, etc.). OG is good to use Schema.org to supplement, but not replace it.
How to do Structured Data Markup
Now I believe you have an idea of what is structured data and how they work. Now it is the time to implement on your website. You have several options:
- Mark data by hand
Mark data by hand means taking the outline of what you want to describe (either micro-data or JSON format-LD), fill in the known data and paste it into the HTML code of the page. It is a simple, but tedious and impractical for dynamic pages.
You can find schema codes on these sites:
- Schema.org full hierarchy – Overview of all classes that define Schema.org on one page.
- Getschema – user community, researchers, and developers around the semantic web. It provides descriptions and examples for all kinds of schemes.
- Builtvisible Micro-data, JSON-LD & Schema.org – Guide to generate snippets using Schema.org in combination with micro-data and JSON-LD.
- Google Structured Data Guide – Google guide for structured data markup.
Fill out a form with known data to obtain a code that you can copy and paste. It’s easier than by hand, but again I recommend it only for a static page.
Here are the most popular generators:
- Markup Assistant Google structured data – Generate HTML markup code interactively, on the same page selecting the items marked.
- Raven Schema Creator – Generates structured schemes more common with Schema.org data and micro-data. Its operation is as simple as filling the fields and copy the scheme on the website.
- Micro-Data Generator – Similar to the previous tool; enter basic information and converts into the structure of Schema.org micro-data markup.
- Joe Hall JSON-LD Schema Generator – Generates structured JSON-LD format from data entered into the form data.
- Sistrix Video Markup Schema Generator – Exclusive for marking Youtube and Vimeo videos, this tool generates the need for tagging videos on your website code.
- Con plugins
It is ideal for content management (CMS) alternative. Depending on the type of data to be marked, added a form editing window page, or automatically make the marking.
- Schema Creator by Raven – The same functionality Raven online tool built into WordPress. Schema.org and allows add micro-data to posts and pages.
- All in One Schema Rich Snippets – Inserts structured data necessary to qualify for the main types of rich snippets in search engines, well as adding metadata Facebook Open Graph.
- Yoast SEO – Add Schema.org to various elements, in particular, the RDFa marked the breadcrumbs and JSON + LD internal search engine. Also inserted social metadata Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Payment plugins Video SEO, Local SEO, and WooCommerce SEO incorporate additional markup.
- WordLift – Organize content through concepts or entities following the specifications of Schema.org.
- J4Schema – incorporates a visual editor for Schema.org attributes. After selecting a text it allows and the appropriate attributes. It integrates with K2 and Virtuemart.
- Schema.org – Allowsassociate content to different schemes Schema.org and specify the corresponding attributes.
- MSemantic – Add Schema.org marking to the product pages.
It is to label the data on the page itself through a finder tool.
It is the ideal choice when you do not have the resources or time to implement marking webmaster. The only downside is that it only serves as the search engine that provides the tool.
Currently, Google is the only one that offers a data marker and does so in Search Console.
Structured data validators
After marking the data on your website it is good to make sure you’ve done it correctly. The complex syntax of structured data, along with the variety of classes available, make them prone to errors as few things.
They are tools to check the marking in multiple formats. They are oriented web search, mainly.
- Test Tool Google structured data – Validate HTML pages marked with micro-data, RDFa, RDFa Lite and JSON-LD, entering the code directly or via a URL. It includes examples of all kinds, from logos to search boxes site links, past events, actions and various snippets, among others.
- Bing Markup Validator – To access the tool you need to log in Bing Webmaster Tools. Only accepts validation by URL, but can be used to validate the URL of any domain, not just your own.
- Yandex data structure Validator – Validate micro-data, Schema.org, microforms, Open Graph and RDF. Accepts validation by URL and HTML code snippets.
- Structure data Linter – Validation and display marked with micro-data, RDFa, and JSON-LD. Also, it allows checking schemes Schema.org vocabulary, FOAF, SIOC, SKOS and Dublin Core (DCMI).
Useful for checking the marking data on the fly
- Microdata.reveal – Analyzes the page loaded into the browser and displays a green icon when finds micro-data embedded in the code. Clicking on the icon a pop window with the view of the data (HTML or JSON) appears.
Finally, note that before using structured data you must know the rules of the game in search engines. Any attempt at manipulation by unseen, irrelevant or misleading content may result in a penalty.
Then you have the guidelines of major search engines (currently only in English):
- Google Structured Data Policies
- Bing Marking Up Your Site Overview