What Is Structured Data?
Structured Data is quite simply the code, or language, in which your website communicates with search engines. It is the standard format for providing information and classifying that information on a web page. Search engines scan the structured data of your site to understand how they should interpret your content and distribute it to the world.
The better your structured data is formatted, the more likely it is to be featured on search results.
Structured Data Example
Within the structured data itself, you are able to add enhancements in the code to make it easy for search engines to use in regards to featuring your content as special search results. As provided by the Google Developer site itself, here is an example of the structured data for a recipe.
You can see the clear labels indicating elements within the recipe such as ingredients, cook time, etc. This format enabled Google to showcase the recipe as a special search result that is more likely to be clicked on than the standard text link for a site.
By providing such robust information in an easy to digest search format, Google is more likely to feature this result to users for a quick solution.
Best Examples of Structured Data
There are four types of structured data that seem to mine the most traffic and appeal greatly to search engines. By creating these types and editing the HTML code to ensure it is the standard format that a search engine needs, your content is better optimized to be chosen over others with poor content and bad code.
- Reviews – Anything with a star rating system seems to be favored. It can be any product or service that you review but be sure to add this type of markup and snippet when leaving the review on your site.
- Articles – No matter what news or topic you are exploring, structured data for blogs, sports sites or news sites are huge hits and could be featured in a top stories carousel for Google. Keep in mind features such as larger-than-thumbnail images and headline text to maximize your chances of boosting that article.
- Recipes – Such as the example above, recipes provide the type of coding gold that search engines love. They are easy to digest and provide quick solutions for users.
- Video Content – Instead of publishing on YouTube, try self-hosting that content video on your site. This is one of the best and fastest ways to climb up the search rankings. Be sure to provide details such as description, upload date, duration, thumbnail URL and headlines.
There are other types of content that one can utilize to boost their structured data for SEO but these four seem to provide the biggest boon for search engines.
Follow The Rules
This article would be remiss if it didn’t state the obvious: FOLLOW THE RULES FOR STRUCTURED DATA. Google has very specific guidelines for how code can be written in regards to the many types of content. If you violate their guidelines, you can be slapped with a manual penalty or, depending on the severity and repeat offenses, find your site shutdown forever. To learn more about what these guidelines contain, read this.
Whether you write your own structured data or have a professional who knows the guidelines write them for you, this is definitely one area of SEO that should be covered when it comes to your website and content. Think outside of the box when it comes to deciding which of your posts might be best for search engines to feature in rich snippets. Once you get the hang of writing structured data, it’s as easy as riding a bike.
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