Structured data offers multiple advantages when it comes to search engine optimization. In fact, all the top search engines including Google, Bing, and Yahoo use schema attributes, but despite the standardization, many websites are not taking advantage of these elements.
According to experts at one Austin SEO Company, there are advantages to adding structured data to your website, like:
- Improves scanning of content on your website
- Improves visibility of organic search
- Some social platforms like Pinterest recognize structured data
What Is Structured Data?
It’s snippets of information that helps search engines better determine what an internet page is about. These snippets display additional information about specific content, such as recipes, product review ratings and locations, directly in the search results. As a result, a search result stands out from the competition. You always want to make your search result more attractive and rich with information because it increases the click rate.
With the right implementation, you can extend the search results to your website through schema markup, also known as rich snippets. These snippets display more information in addition to the title, URL, and description in the search results pages.
For example, when you see ratings next to the search results, like four stars; those are a result of using schema markup. This can lead to better click-through rates and thus more visitors, without necessarily having to improve your ranking.
Is This Mandatory by Google?
The use of structured data is not mandatory for Google to visually refine your search results. But it is the most important step to make your website more prominent. For many websites, it can be a crucial part of beating the competition.
If your company offer events such as concerts or training courses, shown on your website, the “event schedule” schema would be good for your business. Google displays the date, event name and location, and ensures that only future events are displayed. The same for hotel accommodations. Hotel searches are very competitive on Google, but placing schema that display ratings help to stand out among the rest.
Using Rich Snippets
Rich snippets are created by incorporating special HTML markup into your own web page. However, the same motto applies as with other search engine optimizations: content that serves only for search engine optimization must also be visible to the website visitor and not just to the search engine. Many developers trying to exploit schema for all the wrong reasons can end up with website penalties.
There are three different formats: microformats, RDFa, and microdata.
- Microformats use the “class” attribute in HTML tags to mark specific sections with a short, descriptive name that can then be read by the search engine.
- RDFa uses simple attributes in XHTML tags to assign short, descriptive names to
- Microdata also uses simple attributes in the HTML tag to assign short, descriptive names to elements and properties.
Google recommends the use of microdata because it considers it a good compromise between the extension of RDFa and the simplicity of microformats. There are requirements when using the markup, and if abused Google will intervene.
With Google so focused on personalization and creating user-friendly websites, schema has become one of the best trends in boosting your website rankings.