At the dawn of the internet, there were two conflicting search paradigms: directories and crawlers. Google’s crawler was up against Yahoo’s directory approach.
Websites were organized in the directory using a structured approach, while crawlers analyzed unstructured data for keywords. Search engines powered by crawlers won and keyword search became the norm for SEO conversion optimization.
Search engines today are still crawlers, but their data is gradually becoming more structured. To provide better search results, they work behind the scenes with structured entities.
Additionally, they accept structured data input from websites. By enriching search results, users are likely to have a better search experience.
Meta tags are one of the most commonly discussed pieces of structured data when it comes to SEO. To rank and present websites, crawlers use two meta tags: “meta keywords” and “meta description.” Meta tags are defined as “information about the information.”
Some people, however, stuffed long lists of keywords into those tags, hoping they would improve their ranking. Search engines started completely ignoring meta keywords after a while. Meta descriptions are also declining in importance.
Structured data is like a spreadsheet with labels in each column and row. Data that is unstructured is what you see in the text on a webpage or in an article. Structured data refers to your information as keywords and descriptions.
Using structured data for SEO is essentially reviving the meta tag. The difference is that here we’re talking about valuable pieces of granular information about your page, not keywords and descriptions.
SEO increases your company’s exposure on search engines to potential customers. You can improve your ranking for certain keywords or topics with the help of an SEO professional who analyzes and implements different strategies for improving your website.
Your company should appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs) when customers search for specific services through Google or other search engines. For example, if a person or company is looking for “digital marketing in Calabasas,” they will find Avita Digital among the top results.
It is unlikely that a potential customer will find your company and click through to your website if your company is located on page 70 of the SERPs.
Here are five steps to properly use structured data for improved search engine optimization.
- Analyze your keyword set to identify rich results
Do you see results that differ from the usual URL+title+description when you search for your main keywords? These results are rich in information. They might include images, additional lines of text, or even stars. With a search marketing tool, you can get a better sense of the landscape, since they typically indicate rich results for your site.
Consider how your site can improve based on the types of rich results you see. You can pay a professional to conduct this type of analysis as part of an SEO audit. You will quickly see how professional search engine marketing can improve your visibility.
1 – Search for more schema markups relevant to your site
Search engines return more informative results when you use schema markup on your website. Rich snippets are a great example of schema markup. A schema defines what data means to search engines.
Search engines index and return the content on your website. Schema markup, however, indexes and returns some of that content differently. How? A search engine knows what a piece of content means when it sees markup.
Coding skills aren’t required. HTML is still used on web pages with markup. Adding schema.org vocabulary to HTML Microdata is the only difference. It’s rare for competitors to work together to help each other, but Schema.org is precisely that type of collaboration.
Essentially, you are providing the major search engines with a set of agreed-upon code markers that tell them what to do with the data on your website. Your site now knows what type of markup it can use. Explore all the relevant markup types for your site at schema.org.
2 – Make use of Google’s markup tool
To simplify the process, you can directly apply Google’s markup tool to your site. It can be applied to individual pages if your site falls into one of the following categories: Articles, Book Reviews, Datasets, Events, Job Postings, Local Businesses, Movies, Products, Question & Answer Pages, Restaurants, Software Applications, or TV Episodes.
If your page falls under one of these categories, you can apply the markup visually and extract an HTML file, which you can then insert into your page. Using Google’s interface is a viable option if your site is relatively small and has all the relevant information readily available.
3 – Create a markup tag and define its content
Once you’ve chosen the type of markup you want to do on your website, it’s time to define the content. For ratings, the number 5 indicates a five-star rating. There’s no guarantee that rich content will increase traffic to your website.
Your website’s content can consist of individual pieces of information or data gathered from a database that will be inserted into several pages. Document the process of updating your website when data is likely to change and set reminders for when the page needs to be updated.
4 – Use a plug-in or code it yourself
Now it’s time to call in the SEO web conversion experts. With the Google markup tool, you can download the HTML code that will be inserted into your web pages. You can enter the values manually on each page, or you can use plug-ins if you use a CMS such as WordPress.
Consider this website development if you need a more complex integration. With a database-driven CMS, this will be a one-time integration, and data will update automatically.
You can code structured data markup in many ways. A format called json-ld is popular with search engines. OpenGraph is the format that Facebook uses, and Microdata and RDFa are other formats that exist.
5 – Make sure that your markup code is valid
Once you’ve added structured data to your website, you can validate it to ensure it’s working. For this purpose, Google has created a rich results verification interface. In the new testing tool, rich results are shown for structured data types. You can test all data sources on your pages, such as JSON-LD (which we recommend), Microdata, or RDFa.
A more accurate reflection of the page’s appearance on Search and improved handling of Structured Data on dynamically loaded content are both included in the new tool. Currently, the tests for Recipes, Jobs, Movies and Courses are supported – but this is just a first step.
The cornerstone of structured data: schema markup
To help search engines better understand web pages, Google, Yahoo, Yandex, and Microsoft (Bing) created schema markup. Essentially, schema is a vocabulary of HTML tags that you wrap around specific parts of your text to explain to Google what it means and how it relates to other topics or subtopics on the web.
Schema markup explains the relationships between words on a page and gives search engines explicit instructions. There’s no need to guess. A schema adds meaning to a website. To better answer search queries and rank web pages, it connects facts in a way search engines can understand.
Using schema helps Google better understand you, which can indirectly help you rank.
The structured data testing tool is Google’s official tool for testing your website’s capability to generate rich results.
To implement schema markup, be cautious and seek help from a California search engine optimization company if you are not a webmaster yourself. It’s not that schema is hard to figure out on your own. It might be difficult to implement without any technical background (and cause more headaches than anything else).
Structured data, like schema, is the semantic vocabulary that search engines understand best. The world wide web would be nothing more than a galaxy of disconnected stars without structured data. Search engines can make sense of this universe with structured data.
Do not ignore schema markup. Instead, answer this question: would you rather let Google guess what your website is about, or would you rather tell them? The trend toward repurposing and using structured data is clear, and it will become increasingly important as time goes on to increase visibility and competitive positioning.
Now is the time to get a well-thought-out plan for implementing schema markup on your site. Ensure that you regularly evaluate how search engines and others are using Schema to be proactive in your structured data strategy.
ABOUT AVITA GROUP
Avita Group is a digital marketing firm in Calabasas, California. We specialize in organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign management, Online Reputation Management (ORM), website creation and conversion optimization.
The Avita Group team boasts a collective experience of over 30 years in the industry led by Founder and CEO, Brad Weber, and has worked with a variety of multi-million dollar companies to help them improve their ROI, build better brand awareness, and mitigate negative online reviews and results.
Contact us for a free consultation to evaluate how we can bring our unique brand of digital intimacy to your business growth values.