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What is Structured Data for SEO?

SEO Tips No Comment

We come across so many questions from different people in our day to day life like can you help me with the meaning of this word? Have you heard about that new website or did you check out that new restaurant.

And if the answer comes out to be a ‘no’, it comes with a ‘but let me Google it’. Google and other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, etc. have become our saviors.

But have we ever thought why a list of options does come up when we type a word or a phrase in the search box and hit the search button? Why is it that there’s something on the top while the others follow? Well, here comes the concept of ‘Search Engine Optimization’, popularly referred to as SEO. In simple terms, SEO is the process of enhancing your online content in an effective & attractive way so that it becomes the part of the top results for searches of a certain keyword.

Knowledge Graph box

Google uses structured data to populate the Knowledge Graph box as shown in this photo. (Source: Moz.com)

So, if SEO is the recipe that would put your content on the top searches list, ‘Structured Data’ acts as a salt to that recipe. Now, search engines act just fine in interpreting the general context of any website. However, they don’t perform well when it comes to analyzing the detailed specifics of a particular website or webpage.

In such cases, they need help and that is where Structured Data comes into picture. In day to day language, any data which is organized in a way that makes it easier to interpret and analyze, is called as Structured.

Technically, Structured Data is a markup on the webpage that assists the search engines to better intuit the information and the data presented on the webpage, and thereby use the same to improve the page’s search engine ranking.

For example, if you have a company website and you use structured data to present the online content, it will make it easier for web crawlers (an internet program for browsing the World Wide Web in a systematic way and returning the information so obtained to the search engines) not only to interpret the company’s basics, including the Name, Place, Address, Contact Details, etc. but also it will help analyze the more complicated information such as production schedules, recipes, events, etc.

(Source: www.horuswebx.com)

To present the online data in a structured format, you will have to implement a markup on your webpage. There is a dire need that this markup is clearly interpreted in a suitably consistent manner not only by the search engines but also by the people. And therefore, there are a set of protocols, in the form of standardized implementations (commonly called as formats or syntaxes), classification of relationships, conceptualizations, and finally terms (often referred to as vocabularies) that one must follow.

Apart from optimizing the web content for enhanced search results, there are a various other uses of structured data which include providing additional context for articles, recipes, products, star ratings and product reviews which presents the website as a rich snippet. It can also be used to present your AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) in rich results. It will also assist in the Social Media Marketing of your product or website.

To conclude, in a world full of cut throat competition, where everybody is willing to go that one extra mile to surpass their competitors, people must not ignore the importance of structured data in SEO and the other benefits that comes handy with it.