Structured data refers to any data that resides in a fixed field within a record or file. Structured data can come in a few different forms. At its base level, structured data is a process of marking up your website so search engines can quickly crawl your page.
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. 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.
Before we dive into what exactly structured data is, let me explain why it should be used on your website.
Structured data tells search engines exactly what is on each of your pages and allows them to easily pick out the important bits of information they need. Now, don’t get me wrong, that is useful and worth putting on your website as is, but what search engines do with this structured data is what most people are after.
Some believe that structured data will help with ranking or affect where your content appears on search results pages. However, there is no real evidence that this is true. Instead, it allows search engines to get a full understanding of your site, so they can more accurately suggest content when people type in relevant search queries.
At its fundamental level, structured data is a tool to help with SEO and assist search engines so they can more accurately deliver relevant content.
When search engines know exactly what is on your page, they can do some pretty neat things with that data. Sometimes they will show your content as rich results in the SERP. Rich results are enhanced search results that display your content differently depending on what content is used. These rich results will go into more detail than traditional search results and usually contain images or other visual content.
Structured data first depends on creating a data model a model of the types of business data that will be recorded and how they will be stored, processed, and accessed.
This includes defining what fields of data will be stored and how that data will be stored: data type (numeric, currency, alphabetic, name, date, address) and any restrictions on the data input (number of characters; restricted to certain terms such as Mr., Ms. or Dr.; M or F).
Structured data has the advantage of being easily entered, stored, queried, and analyzed. At one time, because of the high cost and performance limitations of storage, memory, and processing, relational databases, and spreadsheets using structured data were the only way to effectively manage data. Anything that couldn’t fit into a tightly organized structure would have to be stored on paper in a filing cabinet.
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. 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.
Structured data have a well-defined structure that helps in easy storage and access of data. Data can be indexed based on text string as well as attributes. This makes search operation hassle-free. Data mining is easy i.e knowledge can be easily extracted from data
Operations such as Updating and deleting is easy due to well-structured form of data. Business Intelligence operations such as Data warehousing can be easily undertaken. Easily scalable in case there is an increment of data. Ensuring security to data is easy
The specific and organized nature of structured data allows for easy manipulation and querying of that data. Easily used by business users: Another benefit of structured data is that it can be used by an average business user with an understanding of the topic to which the data relates.
How structured data helps your SEO?
First things first, structured data is not a ranking factor. It doesn’t directly help you to rank higher in Google. However, there are many benefits. We’ll focus on the four most important ones:
1.Get rich results
2.Get into Google’s Knowledge Graph
3.Support semantic search
4.Support your E‑A-T
1. Get rich results
Rich results are visually-enhanced search results with information pulled from relevant structured data. The most common type of rich results are rich snippets, like these:
2. Get into Google’s Knowledge Graph
Google’s Knowledge Graph is a knowledge-base of entities and the relationships between them. You, your brand, and your products can all become entities that are established and influenced by structured data.
The most direct implication of getting into the Knowledge Graph is having a Knowledge Panel that provides more brand visibility and authority:
3. Support semantic search
The semantic search focuses on the meaning behind search queries instead of traditional keyword matching. It’s how Google manages to return perfect results when you search for something as vague as this:
4. Support your E‑A-T
E‑A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trust. These three things are “what Google looks for in a web page.” Using structured data feeds Google information about your website, its content, and its authors, and makes it easier to assess your E‑A-T.
The three ways of structuring data:
There are three main formats you can use to structure data on the Web.
JSON-LD is the format that Google recommends. It’s also the easiest to implement because there’s no need to “tag” HTML elements, as is the case with other structured data formats. Instead, you add JSON-LD as one big block of code that tells Google, “Hey, here are the main things you should know about the stuff mentioned on this page.”
Unlike JSON-LD, where structured data is in one big digestible block, Microdata is sprinkled throughout the page to markup content on-the-fly.
RDFa works like Microdata. You markup HTML elements on the page, rather than providing markup in one big block like JSON-LD. It’s probably the least-used schema syntax, but you will still occasionally encounter it because it’s what Facebook’s Open Graph meta tags are based on.
Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool:
Best for Validating JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa structured data formats. Google’s Structured Data Testing tool is a simple, no-fuss data testing tool. You can paste your website’s URL or the code snippet. The tool will check the structured data code and flag errors. The tool can help you validate whether the structured data code is in the right format or not.
You can also check different fields of structured data such as organization name, type, URL, and other information. Google supports recommend checking your site with this tool during the development of your site. You must use the tool before deployment of your site.
Best for: Validating RDFa, RDF, XML, N3, N-Triples, JSON-LD structured data format. RDF Translator will validate limited types of structured data format. You can use this free tool to validate a large range of structured data formats.
The tool is particularly useful for validating XML, N3, and N-Triples structured data format as they are not supported by many free validation tools.
To check the code, you can paste the address of your site or the structured data code. The tool also comes with REST API thereby allowing developers to incorporate the tool into their website.
Yandex Structured Data Validator
Best for Validating Open Graph, RDFa, microdata, microformats, schema.org. Yandex structured data validator is another free structured data testing tool. Similar to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, you can check the markup of your site. The tool will check whether the search engine crawlers will be able to extract the information mentioned in the structured data or not.
The structured data validation tool will inspect all the common formats including OpenGraph, microdata, RDF, and schema.org. The tool is particularly helpful for ensuring that the standard data code appears correctly in the Yandex.com search engine, which is currently the most popular search engine in Russia.
Chrome Extension: Structured Data Testing Tool
Best for Validating JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa structured data formats. Structured data testing tool chrome extension is another great tool to validate your site. You should use this tool if you use the Chrome internet browser.
The extension is not a standalone application. Instead, the app uses the Google Structured Data Testing Tool to validate the markup. It checks all the formats that are supported by Google’s validation tool.
You can also view the structured data inside Google’s Structured Data Tool. The warnings and errors will be displayed in orange and red, respectively.
The tool can also access websites that are in a development or staging environment. The extension will validate rich snippets and structured data of a website. This tool can check the code on a different medium including online, intranet, and behind a password-protected page.
Best for: Validating HTML structured data, website SEO analysis, and monitoring.
SEO SiteCheckup is a comprehensive website analysis tool. It consists of over a dozen tools including the Structured Data testing tool. You can paste the URL of the site and click Checkup to validate the structured data.
The tool will check whether the structured data meets HTML microdata specifications or not. You can register for a 14-day free trial by entering the payment details.
Apart from checking the schema usage, the tool will check your website for SEO issues such as page load speed, URL redirects, nested tables, broken links, mobile responsiveness, and much more. It serves as a one-window solution for optimizing your site for search engine ranking.
Structured data is a very powerful SEO markup that can be used on websites. It can cause search engines to display your content as rich results. Structured data is perfectly help to develop your website is more greater.