If you are a beginner in SEO, you might have come across the word “bot”. Bots are programs that crawl the content of websites to perform analysis in order to properly rank them. Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have their own bots. As bots they are continuously crawling the internet finding out new content. For example: Google bot crawls through millions of websites per day. Processing information from millions of websites can involve very complex steps. Since, it crawls HTML content, it tries to understand the code and interpret it.
In order to make the interpretation easier, structured data markup was introduced. Structured data consists of tags which describe the content of a website in a format that is understandable to a search engine. Since websites serve different types of content, a different set of structured data is needed to be added to each category. This is why major search engines formed a database known as Schema.org. It maintains the list of structured data that website developers can integrate into their code. Once, structured markup is added, search engines will have a better understanding of the HTML code and can use the detailed information in other places such as Rich cards and Knowledge Graphs.
How can I add Structured Markup to my website?
In order to add structured markup, you would need to make HTML modifications. Fortunately, the modifications are not complex. After identifying the appropriate market up category you need to add one of the below types to your website’s HTML.
You can only use one type on a single page. Using multiple types will make it confusing for a bot.
For example, if we have a vehicle selling at £19,000 and the title is “Nissan Juke Full Option”, the structured code in Microdata will look like:
<div itemprop=”itemOffered” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Car”>
<!– By using itemprop we tell the crawler this this HTML code describes the name of the vehicle –>
<span itemprop=”name”>Nissan Juke Full option </span>
<!– We now tell the scrawler, that this piece of code holds the price of the car –>
<div itemprop=”offers” itemscope=”" itemtype=”http://schema.org/Offer”>
<meta itemprop=”priceCurrency” content=”GBP”>
<meta itemprop=”price” content=”19.000″>
This makes the HTML much easier for the crawler to understand, as we are clearly mentioning the type of structured data.
How many types of structured data are there?
Currently, 7 main parent types of structured data exist. Each of these have many more child categories.
There are many more sub categories of a parent type. You need to correct the type of structured data on your site’s HTML.
Benefits of Structured Data
Structured data allows your website content to be displayed on Rich results and to be used in the Knowledge Graph. Certain types of structured data such as recipes, articles and video will appear in Rich cards. Rich cards are rectangular boxes which display information from the structured data in a much more interesting design on Google search results pages.
In addition to the above, implementing structured data helps Google bot understand your website’s HTML better. It is extremely difficult for a bot to identify the product price on a listing page, but with structured data it becomes and easy task.
Structured data is worth implementing. It improves your website quality and it gives you an advantage over your competitors. Structured data content can also be used in Rich cards. It is good to add as many structured fields as you can since this helps Google bot understand more about your data.
Adding an incorrect markup type will not result in a penalty but always test your markup prior to making the change live. You can test your structured data by using the Google Structured Testing tool. You get the option to allow Google to fetch the HTML content from a URL or you can simply paste the HTML code.
If you have added structured data to your website, it might take Google crawlers a few days to detect the structured data that has been added. If you are curious to know if Google has identified any structured data on your website, you could find out by using the Structured Data index status on Webmaster .
- Adding JSON format structured data is the preferred format for Google.
- If Google has not detected structured data, try submitting the page with structured data to Google.
- Structured data also exists for Images!
- Looking for a visualization of your Structured Markup Code? Check out Rdfa.