The SEO Benefits Of Structured Data In 2020

The Google search results page has evolved over the years, from a page that used to show just a simple list of links and descriptions to a page that now displays a rich list of search results with lots of added features, but with all these new features, it sometimes seems like your page gets lost among everything else. Today we're going to talk about structured data and how it can help you stand out among the crowd of search results today. I'm going to talk about what structured data is, and then talk about the benefits of implementing structured data.

So what is structured data? Structured data is a standardized format for providing context for web content. It is also called schema markup. Google and other search engines use structured data to better understand your content. To illustrate the need for structured content, let's use an example of a typical recipe page. If you have a recipe page with the intro that says "this chicken casserole serves six and has only 300 calories per serving", then it lists the ingredients and instructions necessary.

Google will explore your recipe, but it can be difficult for Google to determine the different parts of your recipe like nutritional information or ingredients and directions. By using structured data, you can make sure that Google knows the serving size is 6. The calorie count is 300. You will know the ingredients required and each step in preparing the recipe. To do this, you provide information to Google via a standardized vocabulary and format.

The vocabulary is defined by an organization called is a joint effort between Google, Bing, and several other search providers that define a common list of schema types and properties that can be used in schema markup. Currently, they have created 615 different types. Don't let this number overwhelm you. defines a standard vocabulary, but you have several choices for the format. You can use microdata, RDFa or JSON-LD. Google recommends JSON-LD, so that's the one we'll focus on in our next post where we go over the practical steps of how you can implement structured data on your website. So now we know the basics of what structured data is, and we know that the problem to solve. Let's talk about what it can do for your website.

1. Increased visibility in Google

The first benefit is increased visibility in Google search results through so-called rich results.

Years ago, Google search results were just a list of results with just a title and description for each result. Now Google is adding many rich features to its search results. To illustrate this, simply type in a common search term like "apple pie". For this one search result, you have several examples of rich result functionality.

We see apple pie recipes at the top with entries with notes submitted by users, with pictures and a knowledge graph in the right column with facts about apple pie and nutritional information. By scrolling down, we have popular videos and products, common questions and even a way to narrow your search by a brand of apple pie.

Here is another example. In this example, I searched for "landscaping". Google has returned a list of pages it considers relevant to me based on my location. You have your results paid and the Google map and the list of local results. We have others with a normal title and description, and then you have this one with frequently asked questions. They need twice as much real estate as the others.

How did they make it look like this? If you follow the link, you will see that they have a question and answer section, and if you dig into the technical details, you will find that they have included the appropriate structured data to tell Google that this list of questions and answers is officially frequently asked questions.

This is just one example of a rich search function that can bring out your search results. Some other examples of those that are achievable are recipes, reviews, products, events, and videos. This increased visibility in Google search results brings us to the next benefit.

2. Increase in clickthrough rate

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The next benefit is an increase in the clickthrough rate. Opinions are divided as to whether structured data affects your search rankings. Google has publicly stated that the presence of structured data is not a ranking signal.

An example of a ranking signal is things like performance or using SSL on your site. For these things, Google has clearly stated that you will be rewarded for performance or penalized for lack of performance.

So if structured data doesn't affect where your page will appear in Google search results, why is it even important? Well, I already explained how adding structured data can provide rich search functionality. These rich search features give you additional visibility and the case studies have shown an increase in the clickthrough rate due to this increased visibility.

The click-through rate indicates the percentage of users who saw your page and the search results, then clicked on the link to access your page, and therefore if you have a CTR of 3% and your page was included in 100 user search results a click rate of 3% means that 3 out of 100 clicked on the link to visit your page. So what increase can that bring you? According to Martha van Berkel of Schema App, they typically see a 20% increase in CTR when implementing structured data.

Eric Enge of Perficient Digital published the results of a recent study that focused on the impact of search functionality on CTR. His study found that the overall CTR for results in the top 10 brand queries was around 71% and for non-brands, around 38%. Google has several case studies on its site which also indicate an improvement in CTR and other measures.

3. Add relevant content

The next benefit of structuring the data is that you help Google know that your pages are more relevant by giving them the necessary context.

I have already mentioned that Google does not consider the presence of structured data as a ranking signal. So this does not give or take away quality points based on the presence of structured data, but do not take this fact as meaning that they cannot affect the positioning of search results with structured data. One of the main goals of Google is to provide the most relevant search results that match the intention of the searcher.

That's why Google customizes search results based on location. If someone is looking for a place to buy a wedding cake, it will place local bakers higher in the search results. So how does this relate to structured data? Structured data gives Google additional context for your data. Let's say you are a baker in a town called Springdale.

A person searching for "Springdale baker" might find your store, but without the presence of structured data, you rely on many factors to know if Google will associate your store with Springdale From Google's point of view, it may not be able to able to make this association with a high degree of certainty.

However, if you include structured data that clearly defines your city as Springdale, Google now has the information it needs to be sure of the location of your store. You are more likely to appear higher in a search for "Springdale baker" or "baker near me".

In this article, I hope I have clarified what is meant by structured data and why you need it on your site. In the next article, we will see how to implement it on your site. The question today is, what successes have you had using structured data?

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