WHAT IS STRUCTURED DATA AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
If there is one thing we have learned in recent times about SEO positioning, it is the importance of Google bots being able to read a web page correctly. Indexing and crawling of the website is vital to obtain greater visibility in Google’s search engine optimisation results (SERPs).
There are different actions to be taken into account that we can develop and apply on our website. One of them is including structured data (structured data), which are code snippets that help robots better interpret the content of a website.
What are structured data?
Structured data are code snippets, in this case from schema.org, that aim to assist Google’s and Bing’s robots in better interpreting a page’s content to achieve greater visibility in the SERPs.
How to add structured data to my website?
Structured data can be added using the Schema.org, markup language, “a collaborative community activity with the mission of creating, maintaining, and promoting schemas for structured data on the Internet, on web pages, in email messages, and more,” via Schema.org. It’s a language that helps search engines better understand a page’s content In the following document you can find the types of structured data that can be included on your page (there’s something for everyone!).
How do structured data work?
If you want to create and publish structured dataon your page, it’s essential to analyze which ones are most relevant to you beforehand. It’s not the same for a website about cooking recipes, books, or industrial products. Depending on your goals, you may want to highlight certain content over others. It’s important to insert the code snippets that are relevant to you (and ensure that the pages are indexed and accessible to robots).
In Google’s guidelines,you can find the type of structured data directives according to your page’s content (article, book, carousel, courses, reviews, etc.). Depending on the product or service you offer, you may not be interested in including structured data on the website, or only certain ones.
Another crucial aspect to consider when configuring structured data is that including them on your website does not guarantee that they will appear as rich results in the SERPs. There are a number of “quality guidelines” that we will have to comply with. Whether related to content (originality, up-to-date information, ethics…), location (including it in the various duplicates…) or images, among others. There are many other parameters to consider to ensure that the structured data you insert on the page become rich results in the SERPs.
Structured data… to achieve rich results in the SERPs
As mentioned earlier, we want to include structured data to help Google’s robots better understand our page. But… for what purpose? With the same goal as always! To achieve greater visibility in search results. With structured data, Google can enable special features of the pages in the SERPs, rich results.
What are rich results?
Rich results are the snippets that appear in search engine results by inserting structured data. If the robots have read them correctly, the result will be greater visibility for the page in search results. With structured data, we inform the robots more precisely about certain data so that they can highlight them in the SERPs. This includes user reviews, addresses, opening hours, articles, frequently asked questions, and more.
Rich results or featured snippets?
It’s important to note the difference between rich results and featured snippets,although both are generated by Google’s robots. While rich results appear through the configuration of structured data, featured snippets are also special and prominent results in the SERPs, but Google generates them automatically based on information collected from the web.
How do featured snippets work?
Featured snippets are summaries or quick answers that Google provides in its results from a relevant page. It’s worth noting that these types of results are more likely to appear when users search for terms in a question format (e.g., “How to do,” “What is…”).
How to determine if structured data are configured correctly?
One of the great things about the digital world is that we can analyze nearly all our actions (and we should always do it!).
First, in the Rich Results Test, you can check if your web page is suitable for generating rich results with structured data.
Additionally, in this testing tool you can verify whetherstructured data have been configured correctlyor if there are errors.
Finally, Google Search Console includes a separate section to report on each result (includes a wide variety) where you can find out which ones have been read and which have not, as well as if there are errors in some.
For more details, check Google’s Rich Results Status Reports page.
Will I get more clicks on my page with structured data?
Structured data as an SEO directive
As Google indicated (in August 2020), “structured data by itself is not a generic ranking factor.” Nevertheless, it’s essential to consider that the more we assist Google’s robots in reading and interpreting a page’s content, the greater the chance that our page will have better visibility in search results when done correctly. So, including structured data based on your web page’s strategy can be useful for improving visibility and web traffic.
Achieving rich snippets to increase CTR
Who doesn’t want to appear in the first position on Google? We all want our page to be the first one in searches for the most relevant keywords to generate traffic!
But… what happens when we manage to appear in rich or featured snippets? Does it help increase the page’s click-through rate (CTR) and get more clicks?
Well, as with any SEO strategy, it will vary depending on the product, industry, and digital goals.
As Sistrix recently published (July 2020), while the“average click-through rate (CTR) in the first position on Google is 28.5%,”, pages with featured snippets in the first position have a click-through rate 5.3% lower than the average for that position. Consequently, the subsequent websites in the second or third position benefit, having a slightly above-average click-through rate.
However, for example, pages in the first position with site linksachieve a CTR of 47%much higher than the average (although it’s also influenced by the fact that many searches with site link results are brand-related).
So, will I really want to use rich snippets if I have pages with this opportunity? In general, I would recommend usingstructured data. Especially if your URL is at the very end of the first page, as this can make a significant difference and likely increase clicks if you do it better than your competitors.
I would also recommend it for e-commerce or recipe websites or where users leave reviews or ratings. Displaying this information in results can generally be beneficial.
However, it’s something you will need to evaluate based on your objectives. With some keywords, being in the second or third position may get you much higher-quality traffic.
Need help or more information?
If you want more information about how structured data and rich snippets work, please contact us.