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Webamp / Academy / An introduction to structured data - How Google learns to understand your website better

An introduction to structured data

Within SEO , there are many ways you can optimise your content so that search engines understand it better. In fact, there are over 200 factors that influence your rankings. Alt text, images, properly sized headlines and internal link structure are all factors that search engine algorithms can read - but how does a search engine learn to understand specifically what your website is about?

The answer is: Structured data!

In today's digital world of 2019, where companies are fighting for organic traffic, it's all about differentiating yourself from your competitors. A catchy meta description or SEO title is no longer enough. In fact, it now appears that more than 50% of all Google searches end without a click on that search result.

So what is it supposed to mean? Well it means that the user actually finds the answer to his query in the Google search itself. Google gets the information from the structured data of the highest ranked search query. 

The visual expression of SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) is still an obvious opportunity to increase your CTR (Click Through Rate) and thus differentiate your website from competitors' - for this you need structured data. After all, users are still clicking on search results. Read on to find out what structured data is - and how you can implement it on your website today.

Webamp The team
- Specialist
Last updated: 12. dec. 2022

1) What is structured data?

Structured data is organised in a certain way so that search engines, including Google, can read and understand what a given page contains. Around 92% of all search engine traffic comes through Google, so it makes sense to implement structured data on your website.

It consists of an HTML code that is placed in the source code of your website. In the HTML code there are different definition types which are associated with a wide range of data. These definition types, or ''rules'' if you like, can be read by web crawlers and browsers, which means that search engines come to understand the information that is definable via one or more rules. 

In relation to SEO it makes sense to use structured data, as you can visualize reviews, prices, inventory, etc. directly in the search results - and thus increase the CTR to your landing pages. 

Let's take an example from our customer permild-rosengreen.dk.

 What is structured data? - example

The structured data is especially important when you need to tell Google and other search engines what your website is about.

Without defining to the search engines what it is about, it is not possible to get them to show up in the search results. Through specific ''tags'' in the structured data, you signal to the search engines what information to display in the SERP - this is also called a 'markup', which is something we'll get to later.

What is the difference between unstructured and structured data?

Unstructured data is data that has not been organized or locked down via a set of rules in a given coding language. Examples include images, infographics, videos, documents or presentations.

Structured data, on the other hand, is organised via one or more rules in a coding language - either Microdata, RDFa or JSON-LD, with Google recommending the latter but still able to understand the other two.

2) How does structured data work?

As mentioned earlier, structured data is a ''language'' that can be understood and read by search engines, web crawlers and the browser you are reading this blog post on right now. 

In order to understand and read a language, not only in a human context but also in the case of search engines, two variables must be met. 

  1. The grammar of language 
  2. Vocabulary of the language

When you talk to someone, whether it's a computer or another person, you need to use your vocabulary (words that have a particular meaning) as well as grammar (a set of rules that defines how you can use words and their meanings). The same is true when Google, for example, needs to understand your website. You need to make it clear to the other party what it is about. 

So, is there a specific vocabulary we need to use when ''talking'' structured data? Yes, there is!

Schema.org is the most universal vocabulary in structured data. Created by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex, it aims to promote schema in structured data. It is also community-based and is thus updated with new words several times a year, which you can easily implement in your existing HTML code. Smart, right?

But what does Schema code look like? Below you can see a code that was created based on this blog post.

"@context" : "http://schema.org",
"@type" : "Article",
"name" : "Sådan lærer Google at forstå din hjemmeside bedre – En introduktion til struktureret data"
"author" : { "@type" : "Person",
"name" : "Peter Karlsen" },
"datePublished" : "2019-09-12",
"image" : "https://webamp.dk/wp-content/uploads/logo-black.svg",
"url" : "https://webamp.dk/en-introduktion-til-struktureret-data",
"publisher" : { "@type" : "Organization",
"name" : "Webamp"

In this code snippet we tell Google what this blog post is about, who who is the sender and when it was published. In terms of the grammar angle, it's actually free choice on all shelves. However, Google recommends JSON-LD, but recognizes the other two as well as the first. It basically comes down to what you or your IT manager is most comfortable with.

3) Eksempler på struktureret data

The general user of the Internet is not familiar with the concept of structured data, but still experiences it on a daily basis. Automatic creation of calendar events when booking flight tickets, prices of products in search results and extended information about your search are just some of the things you can do by structuring your data in front of Google. Structured data can affect the SERP in two different ways - via content features and Rich Snippets.

Rich Snippets/Enriched Search Features

Sitelinks and Sitelink Searchbox - Let the user search your site via Google

Sitelinks allow you to display multiple links under one of your search results. This allows the user to quickly and easily navigate to one of your subpages. Of course, Google may not allow you to create sitelinks directly in the search results, but to increase your chances, you should create correct alt texts, anchor texts and a good URL structure on the page.

Sitelinks-structured data

Sitelink Searchbox is an extension of the former, where a search box is included in the search result. This means that the user can search for a specific product on the website directly in the search result. It should be noted, however, that the search box only appears when the user makes a search for a brand.

Sitelink Searchbox structured data

For more information on how to create a Sitelink Searchbox for your website, take a look at the Google guidelines right here.

Reviews and product information

If you have a webshop, service business or any other kind of business where reviews are crucial to get potential new customers, then this example is a must-have for you. 

You can display reviews of your business, products or other directly in the search results. So you can stand visually stronger than your competitors, and maybe get more clicks to your page. 

Below is an example from the bicycle retailer, Saxil Bicycles.

Reviews and product information-structured data

4) How do you create structured data in an easy way?

For simplicity, it's actually surprisingly easy to make your own schema code. It's even easier as a web shop owner, as many plug-ins (e.g. Woocommerce or Shopify) can generate schema codes for your product pages themselves. 

Creating a schema code may seem daunting, especially when it comes to implementing and setting up the code piece - however, Google is your saviour. Their Structured Data Markup Helper is a great easy way to create a schema code - especially if your page is already published or you have the HTML code for the upcoming page. 

Alternatively, you can use this Schema Markup Generator, which in principle works in the same way. However, you do not have the option to select the data from a website, it must be entered manually. 

When you enter it yourself, you actually have the option to tailor the entire code set. For example, you can choose what type of business you have, your opening hours, upcoming events and much much more. It's therefore more ''open'' in terms of freedom and choice when it comes to criteria compared to Google's own.

5) How to test and implement your schema code

To test if your schema code works, you can use Google's Structured Data Testing Tool. Via this page you can check your schema code for any errors and shortcomings. If no errors appear, you can safely add it to your website via the backend system. 

This blog post is just a small introduction to structured data, and Schema codes in general. In fact, you can go even deeper and specify what kind of data you want search engines to read - down to the smallest detail. If you stay tuned to our blog, there will be an in-depth blog post on just that in the near future. 

So in short... STAY TUNED!

6) Why should you use structured data?

It may seem a bit geeky, and you may even wonder if structured data is really relevant to you and your business. Especially if your time can be spent elsewhere. 

... The answer must still be said to be a resoundingly yes from here. 

Since we see more and more searches where the user in many cases does not click on the search result, but actually gets an answer to his search query already in the search engine. This is exactly what happens with structured data, and therefore you should already think about how you want to implement it.

Get help with your SEO strategy

A good start is half the battle. Bad beginnings are.... well, not good. If you don't have the resources to put together a well thought out SEO strategy, feel free to drop me a line at seo@webamp.dk or get in touch with one of my colleagues at info@webamp.dk.

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