What Is Structured Data Markup & How Do I Use It?
If you’ve heard of ‘structured data’ and wonder what on earth it all means, you’ve come to the right place. One of the more technical elements of SEO optimisation, structured data, or ‘schema markup’, is a way you can categorise your content for search engines. It’s a piece of code that helps Google identify whether your content, for instance, is an FAQ or a recipe. These are just two of many examples.
Structured data helps Google to identify the elements on the page as well as understand the content as a whole. It also enables specialised search features. These are known as ‘rich results’.
What are rich results?
Rich results are search results that go beyond the standard blue link. They can include carousels, images or other non-textual elements. For instance, your page could appear as a recipe card or you could have a star rating listed under your page title. It’s all about making search results more visually engaging.
Schema markup doesn’t just help Google out. It helps internet users too! Being able to clearly see information about your website or page with varied media elements makes your result a more attractive option in the search results. Let’s face it, the 100% text-based results are a little dull and far less enticing. Adding appropriate schema could do wonders for your click-through-rate.
Google has a whole library of markups you can use. These predominantly use the schema.org markup vocabulary, and include:
- AMP Article
- Local Business
Now that you know what structured data markup is, you might be wondering how to apply it to your website.
How do you create structured data?
Google is very clear that all markup should be correct. Sometimes less is more. It’s better to have compatible, complete and 100% accurate markup rather than lots of half-hearted attempts with mistakes.
The good news is you don’t need to be a web developer or learn yet another coding language to start writing schema. You just have to have the right tools at your disposal.
If you want to dive right in, head over to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. Simply enter a URL, tag the relevant data and view the html.
You should always troubleshoot your markup before publishing.
The Google-endorsed Schema Markup Validator lets you check any code to make sure there are no errors – a super handy tool!
You can also use the Rich Results Test. This is used for pages that are already publicly accessible. It shows what rich results are available based on the structured data you’re using.
How do you add structured data to your website?
Adding the code itself is a little trickier, and may be best done by a web developer. However, you can do it yourself by adding the relevant schema code onto your website.