I know. Before you say it, I know. If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking “What on Earth is structured data?” well, I’m about to tell you. It’s totally not top secret, but in the grand scheme of things it’s surprising to see how many people have no idea what it is and what it actually does for your website.
Wikipedia for GoogleBot
Think of structured data as the wiki for your website, Google’s indexing bot crawls across your web pages looking for data and although it finds plenty, but does it truly understand it as well as it could? Some pieces of code on your website that a human looks at and knows instantly what it does and what purpose it serves, a GoogleBot would have a hard time understanding. If Google’s search bot has a hard time understanding your website, you’re missing out on all sorts of goodies in the SERP’s.
“All sorts of goodies?” you ask. Well, feast your eyes upon the image below of a search result for pumpkin pie recipe. What do you notice? The extra meta information included, right? These are called “rich snippets”. This isn’t a normal search listing, this comes from a website that has used structured data to tell Google’s search bot exactly what it has crawled upon – a delicious recipe for Pumpkin Pie. If we break it down further, we can see exactly which information has been given to Google’s Bot to display.
The title of the page
the full URL included where it ends up
Extra meta information including a rating and how long the recipe takes
A rich summary of the pages content
An image of what to expect on the page
How Do I Add Structured Data to my Website?
While you don’t necessarily need a developer to add structured data to your website, it’d be a whole lot quicker and more efficient. If you want to give it a go and learn how to add structured data to your website yourself, Google has plenty of documentation on the subject. Check out this link from Google for a introduction on Structured Data: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/intro-structured-data (source:Google)
Schema.org also provides great insight into structured data and provides snippets and code and can guide you through the process of adding it to your website. If you run a WordPress blog, structured data is easily implemented through use of Schema’s WordPress plugin.
Structured data is extremely useful, don’t get left behind with old SEO strategies. Google’s algorithm is an ever changing sea of uncertainty. Do what you can, with the tools you have at your disposal today. Gone are the days of relying on keywords to get you to the top of Google’s SERP’s, If you really want to win in todays battle for top spot, keep pushing great content out and ultimately make sure that data is easily accessible and easily understood by search engine robots.