You might have heard about structured data, Schema.org, and JSON-LD. You might have even heard that it’s becoming more and more important to add them to your site. But what do these terms mean exactly? What is structured data? And what does it have to do with SEO? We’ll explain all of this, and how to get started, in this post!
What is structured data?
Structured data is a way of describing your site to make it easier for search engines to understand. And to describe your site to search engines, you’ll need a vocabulary that presents content in a way that search engines can understand. The vocabulary used by the big search engines is called Schema.org, which changes your content into code that they can easily process. Search engines read the code and use it to display search results in a specific and much richer way. You can easily put this piece of code on your website.
Imagine you have a website with a lot of recipes. If you add structured data to a page with a recipe, your result in the search engines might change. It will be much “richer” regarding the other content that’s shown. That’s the reason we call these results rich results or rich snippets. Here’s what a rich result can look like:
Besides the title, the URL and the description of the search result, you can see how long it will take to make the world’s best lasagna. Also, you’ll see how many calories the lasagne contains. You need to add structured data to your web page to get such a rich snippet.
We have to make one side note here. Unfortunately, Google does not always create a rich snippet of your page, even if you’ve added the structured data. There are no guarantees. So all you can do is add it to your page, and hope Google will pick it up!
What do you do with structured data?
With structured data, you can “talk” to the search engines. You can tell the search engines which ingredients there are in your recipe, you can tell them how long the preparation time is, and you can tell them how many calories the dish will contain. Google will be able to grasp all that information instantly and can decide to show it in the search results.
Structured data is a tool you can use to tell Google detailed information about a page on your website. Then, Google can use this information to create informative, rich results. And audiences love these rich snippets.
What is Schema.org?
The big search engines have developed a project called Schema.org. On Schema.org you can find all the structured data markup supported by the search engines. This makes Schema.org a large collection of pieces of code.
You can use Schema.org to find the markup you need for your particular page. For instance, if you sell t-shirts on your site, you could show what colour t-shirts you sell and what sizes you offer in your snippet. You should investigate Schema.org/Product and find out the possibilities.
What is JSON-LD?
JSON-LD is one of the markups of Schema.org. It’s just a way to write code. On Schema.org, you’ll also find other markups like Microdata or RDFa. At Nimbl, we’ll always use JSON-LD, because it does not break your site as easily as other markups do. Plus, it’s the format that Google prefers. Nimbl automatically adds lots of structured data JSON-LD to your site. That’s not possible with the other markups.
Why is structured data important for SEO?
Structured data is important for SEO because it’ll make it easier for Google to understand what your pages and your website are about. Google needs to find out what a page is about to show it in the search results. Using structured data is like talking to Google, telling Google what your site is about. That’ll help with your rankings.
On top of that, structured data will change the way your snippet (your search results) will look like. It’ll show more information to your customer. More specific information. And this will increase the likelihood a customer will click on your results. More clicks will eventually lead to even higher rankings! We’re seeing more and more structured data powered rich results pop up, so it is important to keep an eye on this.
How to use structured data?
Nimbl has made it easy, its already part of the system! All you have to do is load products and add SEO tags. Please see our help file on this on https://help.nimbl.co.za