What is Structured Data in SEO? And Why Should You Implement It?

Talking to any SEO expert, they’ll assure you that WHAT you put on your website matters. Yes, search engines like Google do appreciate quality pages that provide concise and valuable information to people in search of answers online. But that’s just the start. You also need to consider aspects like structured data to help perfect HOW you display that quality information.

Without implementing methods like using structured data, your content may never be seen or get the exposure it deserves. Let’s clarify this topic to help you get better traffic results in coming months.


What is Structured Data Exactly? 

A simple definition of structured data is ‘organised information’ and it’s also referred to as ‘schema markup’. It’s a language or code and most search engines support the same types of markups, of which you’ll find a long list on schema.org. 

Structuring data leads to better definition, so search engines can better understand the content and context of your information. This makes it easier to know when your pages’ content is relevant to an online user’s search query. This can be for typed or voice queries. 

For proper structured data, you’ll need to add relevant data tags to elements on your pages. HTML code also needs to be created and the schema markup is then added to that page. You can see that this requires coding experience, although there are some automated tools on the market these days too.


Structured vs Unstructured and Semi-structured Data

A perfect example of unstructured data is a wall of text on a webpage, without anything that helps a reader—or a search engine—understand what different sections are about. Even just be adding headings, you’re turning unstructured data into at least semi-structured data, which is a positive change in terms of Search Engine Optimisation. Other examples of features that give more structure are tags and metadata. 

Features like images, PDFs, videos or audio clips aren’t structured data. When analysing those elements on their own, search engines find it much more difficult to understand exactly what they’re relevant to and which search results they should be part of. They would also need tags to help Google understand their context and meaning.


Structured Data Examples

You may be able to use structured data in many more places on your website than you realise. Here are a few common ones many individuals and businesses can use:

  • Information on a business
  • An event’s basic details
  • A recipe
  • Product specifications 

Why Do Search Engines Like Structured so Much?

In short, when data is structured it makes for much simpler processes for search engines. Their analysis of a page goes faster and will be more accurate because:

  • A search engine’s bot doesn’t have to analyse each word to ascertain its meaning.
  • Structured data communicates more effectively with search engines than unstructured data.
  • Structured data enables them to meet users’ needs much easier, resulting in better service delivery and happier clients that will keep on using their service. 

Benefits of Structured Data for You

To be clear, having structured data—adding schema markups—doesn’t automatically improve your ranking with search engines. However, there are multiple outcomes that benefit anyone with a website: 

  • Faster indexing and more visibility: Make it easier for search engines to crawl through your pages and index your content, so it can get featured on the right search results. Efficient indexing will also help you get featured in more SERPs, so your online visibility will increase. 
  • Get featured in Rich Results: These days a SERP contains rich results apart from just showing blue-coloured links to click on. Below the link there are additional information, such as reviews, statistics and even images. This can make a site seem more valuable and increase the chances of someone clicking through, but you’ll need structured data for Google to add that kind of results with your blue link. 
  • Higher CTR and traffic: When search engines understand what a page is about, it will be presented to online users more often AND in response to the right searches. This means that the traffic you acquire via searches are much more likely to include people who are actually looking for the information, services or products you’re offering. With the help of features like rich results, your CTR is bound to escalate and if you have the right CTAs on your pages, you can look forward to more conversions. For businesses that means more leads, sales and profit, while for influencers it can mean more followers and shares. 

Common Challenges with Structured Data

You may wonder, if structured data is so important, why isn’t it being implemented that much? It only takes a few searches to realise that it’s definitely not a feature of all websites these days. This phenomenon is understandable for the following reasons:

  • It’s a more complicated approach to creating website content and not all website owners have the know-how. Although there are plugins that can help create the structured data, not everyone can ensure the correct coding is done and you don’t want code errors that will further harm your online reputation. Not even businesses may have someone in-house to manage this aspect of SEO.
  • Depending on how you set up your website, your CMS may not support the use of structured data. 
  • Even if you have structured data there’s the challenge of maintaining it. You need to keep up with Google’s policy changes so your structured content keeps on getting you the clicks you’re after. 

How to Manage Your Structured Data

As mentioned, there are plugins that can create certain types of structured data on your behalf. Still, our advice on the topic of structured data is to partner with an expert, such as Digital Insider, to make sure you get it right. Remember, one mistake in the code can affect whether the content benefits your online visibility or not. 

If you do want to get some insight into your current usage of structured data, try online tools such as Yoast, certain WordPress plugins or Google’s testing tool.


Should All Your Data be Structured?

Let’s be realistic. You’ll never be able to turn all your website’s information into graphs, tables or structured data. Even the best websites out there will have more unstructured data than structured. 

However, knowing the value of this type of data, do look objectively at the content you have. Then identify areas where you can improve pages by converting sections into more structured information. 

A wise approach is to consider what your most important information is or what you want search engines to take notice of the most. Think creatively about ways to structure it better. This can attract the necessary attention and help search engines understand much better what your pages are about.


Our Experts can Help

It’s clear that with SEO aspects as technical as structured data, most people require assistance from experts. The team at Digital Insider will be happy to assist with this and many other aspects of your search engine optimisation, ensuring you get the online exposure you deserve. As a respected Google Partner, you can have peace of mind that your online content is in good hands. 

Let’s talk about a free website audit or request your strategy to meet your goals today. 

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