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Written by Tijn Aarden, 01 February 2024

What is structured data?

Structured data is becoming an increasingly important part of an SEO strategy. In this blog, we discuss how structured data works, its benefits and provide practical tips for implementation. Read on quickly and discover the power of structured data.

What is structured data and how does it work?

Imagine a book with no table of contents. Pretty tough to find what you’re looking for quickly, right? Well, that’s exactly what structured data helps with. It gives search engines a clear table of contents of your website. By adding special tags (called schema markup) to your HTML code, you help Google & co better understand and organize your site’s content. This not only makes your site more user-friendly in search results, but can also lead to those coveted rich snippets, more on this later.

Mark up

Important for SEO optimization

Why bother with structured data? Simple: it is a powerful tool to take your SEO strategy to the next level. By using structured data, you make it easier for search engines to understand what your pages are about. This, in turn, leads to better rankings and more visibility in search results. After all, we all want to be at the top of Google’s rankings. With structured data, you increase the chances of your website getting noticed, which ultimately leads to more clicks and conversions.

What are rich snippets?

Above, we talked briefly about rich snippets. But what exactly is this? A rich snippet makes search results more visually appealing and informative. By using structured data, your website appears in search results with additional details. Think star ratings, awards or even small previews of recipes. This not only makes your website more noticeable in the endless sea of search results, but also helps users decide faster whether your page is what they are looking for. That makes rich snippets a great way to grab the attention of potential visitors.

The most commonly used schedules

There are different types of structured data schemes, each with its own purpose. The most popular are the Product, FAQ, Organization and Breadcrumbs schemas. Each of these diagrams helps you present specific information about your Web site in a structured way. How each schedule helps you move forward, you’ll read below.

FAQ schedule

The FAQ schema is a way to make your frequently asked questions section stand out in the search results. By marking the questions and answers with structured data, Google can display them directly in search results. This not only makes your website more useful and informative for users, but also leads to more clicks. It’s like putting a little bit of your website directly into Google!

Product schedule

Do you sell products online? Then the Product Schedule is your new best friend. By using this scheme, you can display important information about your products, such as price, availability and reviews, directly in search results. By doing so, you attract the attention of potential buyers and immediately give them the information they need to make a purchase decision. A win-win situation!

Organization schedule

The Organization diagram is very useful for highlighting company information such as your name, location, contact information and even your logo. This helps major search engines display your company information correctly and consistently in search results.

LocalBusiness schedule

For local businesses, it is crucial to be found well in local searches, such as “roof maintenance Tilburg. Using the Organization schema, combined with LocalBusiness schema markup, helps search engines understand the location and local relevance of your business. This increases your chances of showing up in local search results and Google Maps, which is essential for attracting local customers.

Breadcrumbs schedule

The Breadcrumbs scheme helps search engines better understand the structure of your website. This diagram marks the navigation paths on your site. The result? A more organized display of your site in search results, making it easier for users to navigate your content. By the way, did you know that we have a whole blog dedicated to breadcrumbs, also called the breadcrumb trail. You can read this blog about the breadcrumb trail here.

Implement structured data

Implementation with JSON-LD, Microdata or RDFa

Now that you know that structured data is important and what it can do for your SEO, the next step is implementation. You can choose from three formats: JSON-LD, Microdata and RDFa. JSON-LD is the most recommended by Google and is also the easiest to use. It is a script that you place in the head section of your HTML. Microdata and RDFa are slightly more complex and are integrated directly into the HTML elements of your page. Depending on your preference and the structure of your website, you can choose the format that suits you best.

Putting Structured data on your website yourself

Adding structured data to your website may sound like higher math, but it’s actually quite doable. You can start with simple schemas and use tools like the schema markup generator to generate the right code. It is important that you implement structured data accurately so that no errors creep in. In fact, small errors can quickly lead to confusing or incorrect displays in search results. So take the time to do it right or call in a professional if you can’t figure it out.

Static loading

Implementing static structured data is easiest. This is fixed code that you add to the HTML of your page. This is especially appropriate for information that does not change frequently, such as company information or structured data about a specific product. You write the structured data code prepared in a format such as JSON-LD or Microdata and add it to the relevant pages on your website.

Dynamic loading

Dynamically loading structured data is a little trickier. It is used for content that changes frequently, such as product inventory or event data. This method usually requires server-side scripting or a Content Management System (CMS) that automatically generates and adds the structured data to the pages. This is especially useful for large e-commerce websites or websites with a lot of dynamic content.

What is a good testing tool?

After implementing structured data, it is important to test if everything is working correctly. For this, you can use Google’s Rich Result Test tool or Schema Markup Validator. These tools show how your pages display in search results and whether there are any errors in your structured data. It is an important step to ensure that your efforts to add structured data pay off.

Data checker

Ahrefs has a good Chrome extension that allows you to view all structured data. In the example to the right, you can see a snippet of this blog’s structured data. We indicate that Tijn is the author of the blog. This contributes to the authority of your blog in the eyes of Google, which can give the blog a better rating in search results. Using structured data helps search engines better understand and index your website’s content.

Ahrefs structured data. What is structured data?

We also exploit the potential of structured data for our job postings by using the “JobPosting. This is especially valuable because it ensures that your jobs are included in Google for Jobs, significantly increasing the reach of your jobs. We strongly recommend this for all recruitment websites.

Ahrefs jobposting. What is structured data?
Google for jobs structured data 1. What is structured data?

Structured data is easy to create yourself!

For WordPress, there are numerous SEO plugins that automatically set up structured data for you. We prefer RankMath. This plugin is super handy because it already adds a lot of relevant info by itself. But, you also get the freedom to design your own templates. Useful for when you want your job postings to stand out in Google for Jobs, for example. To really get everything out of the plugin, we recommend going for the paid version. This way you have access to all possibilities without limitations.

Optimize your WordPress website

Need help implementing structured data or want to have your SEO strategy scrutinized? Contact our Resultsmatter team at 2manydots to find out how we can strengthen your online presence. Our team is ready to help you make your website more visible and effective in search results. Make the leap to better SEO performance with structured data today!