Are you looking for a way to improve the way your web page is represented in search engines? Or are you looking to present more information to help your customers find your business? Structured data might be the way forward!
How does it help my website?
The main purpose of search engines is to help users find insightful and relevant answers to their queries. By using structured data, you can flag the relevant information on your website that helps search engines process your data and use it to answer queries. It can help make your search result look like an informative result, with an image, in amongst a load of other randomly generated results. As a result, using structured data mark-ups has the potential to make your pages more attractive in search results, which can increase click-through rates and subsequently can result in higher search rankings.
What is structured data?
Structured data is data that has a high level of organisation which enables it to be universally understood. Online, there are structured data mark-ups that can identify the different elements of websites and what each page is about. Typically, schema.org vocabulary is used to essentially provide structure to website content. Developed by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex, it enables these search engines to gather relevant information and parts of websites to answer search queries.
As a result, there is a lot of merit in using Schema.org. However, studies by Searchmetrics have found that not many websites use it to mark up their pages – only 0.3%. So it’s an open door for anyone that wants to increase click-through rates and engagement.
How does structured data work?
Structured data mark-up tools, such as Schema.org, tell search engines what properties and things are on the web. You’re in control of what structured data mark-up you use in your HTML and AMP pages, for example, if you had a page about the Bourne movie series, you could mark it up as a ‘movie’ item type to let the search engine know that you are not discussing the books. When you mark up your online content, it allows search engines such as Google to process the mark ups and use them in search results. It can then appear in two categories; rich results or knowledge graph cards.
Rich snippets are the text that gives more detail underneath a search result.
Rich results or rich snippets are usually related to mark-ups on the primary content of a page including recipes, articles, and videos. They enhance your search listing by taking a small sample of your content, make it easier search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing or Yandex to extract and make the displayed search result more enticing for users. Think of it as a preview to the rest of the page. By using structured data mark-ups, your results on Google are likely to be more attractive. They offer a summary of what’s on the page and why it’s relevant to the users’ query, as opposed to those without, which simply have a snippet of your page.
Knowledge Graph Cards or Rich cards (as defined in mobile SERPS) are considered an evolution in rich snippets, however, there are distinct differences between the two. Rich cards and rich snippets both use structured data markup to produce enhanced SERP displays, presenting page content in a more meaningful and appropriate way to Google Search users
Rich cards are now (at present) only displayed in a limited range only of carousels at the top of search results.
Mobile search results
Search results (English language)
Movie and recipe results
It is expected that rich cards will not always be subject to these limitations, however the carousel will always be limited in available space. The purpose of rich cards is to enhance the mobile user’s search experience – providing a preview of top related search results that can be clustered together.
Knowledge Graph Cards
The Knowledge Graph highlight which pages host authoritative data. Google’s Knowledge Graph can identify facts about people, places and things and their relatedness. It can also identify who the authority is for specific content and treat the structured data on their site as factual and important – often showing up in a box on the right-hand side or top of your search results. The purpose is to provide users with a direct answer to their query without requirement of having to navigate to other sites.
Your website will stand out on Google’s results pages if it is presented with rich snippets or rich cards. Contact your developer or Pure SEO to learn more about how structured data can help you rank more effectively online.
Prabin is the Head of Organic Search and CRO at Pure SEO. He has over nine years of experience in digital marketing, specialising in SEO, CRO, and analytics. Apart from his day-to-day work at Pure SEO, he is also highly involved in conducting webinars and in-house training for some of the well-known brands in New Zealand and overseas.