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Let’s delve deeper into structured data.

Structured data plays a vital role in communicating with Google using a language that was collaboratively developed, not just by Google but also by other major players like Yahoo and Yandex.. This language allows these search engines to better understand your content in the precise format they prefer, making it universally readable across various platforms—whether it’s on a mobile device, a desktop computer, or even an Xbox.

New types of structured data are being introduced and updated regularly. As a result, it’s advisable not to blindly trust a plugin you’ve installed for your structured data to remain accurate. Instead, periodic verification is essential, and we’ll explore some tools for that purpose shortly.

How can you stay informed about the available structured data options?

The answer lies in Schema.org, a collaborative community initiative spearheaded by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Yandex. Its mission is to create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data on the internet. Essentially, Schema.org serves as a behind-the-scenes language that enables search engines to provide better search results.

One notable resource is Google’s Structured Data Gallery, which showcases various applications of structured data. For SEO specialists or web designers, it’s beneficial to browse through this gallery and apply any relevant structured data to enhance the content on your website. For example, articles—whether related to news, sports, or blogs—can be optimized to display rich result features with a prominent title and a larger-than-thumbnail image.

Structured data also extends to:

  • Books, with features like book actions and breadcrumbs
  • Carousels for recipes,
  • Restaurant hours and locations
  • Movie hours and locations
  • Lists for courses, including reviewer ratings, pricing, and course details.
  • Large datasets,
  • Discussion forums
  • Education Q&A
  • Aggregate ratings
  • Job postings and estimated salaries
  • Events in your area

All these types can benefit from structured data to improve visibility and engagement on Google.

FAQ’s & Q&A’s

An important application of structured data is for FAQs and Q&A sections. For businesses with multiple locations, tailoring FAQs to include location-specific keywords can significantly enhance local search visibility. Unlike Q&A, which involves multiple queries and responses, an FAQ consists of a single question and its answer, simplifying the provision of clear, concise information.

For example on a website which features a FAQ section, each item listed corresponds to a question and an answer. By clicking on a question, you reveal the answer. Behind the scenes, this functionality is powered by structured data, and we’ll explore how to test these shortly.

What you’ll want to do is review this list of items, such as image metadata, job postings, videos for learning, and specifics for local businesses. For local businesses, there are tailored structured data types, including movies and organizational FAQs. It’s essential, especially for local businesses, to utilize structured data like organization and local search schemas.

E-commerce

For those dealing with e-commerce, ensuring your product schema is accurate is crucial. This involves double-checking your product structured data to ensure nothing is missing and everything is presented accurately. Various structured data types, including Q&A for recipes, review snippets, software apps, and speakable information, are vital. The latter is especially important for text-to-speech devices, allowing Google or Alexa to verbally communicate information back to the user, but only if the structured data is present.

If your website features videos, FAQs, or if you’re a local business, it’s important to utilize the appropriate structured data. The goal is to use as much relevant structured data as possible, as this is what search engines, like Google, are looking for.

Not a coder? No Problem

For those who aren’t coders, incorporating structured data might seem daunting. However, tools like the Technical SEO Schema Markup Generator simplify the process. This tool provides a form where you can select the type of content you’re working with—be it an event, FAQ page, how-to page, or job posting—and fill in the relevant details. For a job posting, for example, you’d enter the job title, description, company name, and other pertinent information. As you fill out the form, the tool generates the necessary script for you, which you then just need to add to the relevant page on your website.

You can include a link to the company logo, specify the industry, and indicate the type of employment—full-time or part-time, for instance. You can also specify work hours, the posting date (I plan to post it on the 22nd), and the expiration date (let’s pick a date three weeks from the posting date). Is it a remote position? Sure. Which country is it in? The United States. Which state? Florida.

As I fill out this form, the script I need is automatically generated. All I need to do is copy that script and ensure it’s added to the page hosting the job posting. It doesn’t matter whether the script is placed in the header, the footer, or even within the body content, as long as it’s embedded somewhere on the page. For those using website builders like Divi or Elementor, these platforms usually offer a code widget for this purpose. You simply insert the code, and voilà, it’s on your page.

Now you have your markup data, what’s next?

Once the script is in place, you can test it to ensure it’s correct and nothing is missing. You have the option to use schema, which encompasses all this data, or you can opt for the Rich Results Tool, which I prefer since it’s specifically designed for Google. This tool evaluates the schema on a given page and informs you if anything is missing, broken, or not working correctly.

For example, after submitting a site’s FAQ page to the tester, I can receive feedback on the FAQ schema, indicating a successful crawl with each question and answer accurately reflected in the schema. This visibility allows Google to understand and index the content effectively.

But, what are my competitors doing?

If you’re curious about whether your competitors are utilizing schema effectively, simply input their URL into the tester to see their results. This can give insights into what might be working for them. Additionally, if you’re in the process of building your schema, you can directly test the generated code by pasting it into the Rich Results Tool. This method is generally faster and will highlight both valid items and any non-critical issues, such as missing optional fields, which it recommends including.

You can also test the schema code from other websites, perhaps those ranking well in your industry, to understand their structured data implementation. For instance, if a client has multiple locations and is ranking above you for specific search terms, examining their site’s structured data can reveal insights into their success. By reviewing the structured data for a local business listing, you can see detailed information like location, address, phone number, and price range, all of which are made visible through structured data.

In summary, leveraging structured data is crucial for enhancing your website’s visibility and interaction with search engines. Using tools like the Technical SEO Schema Markup Generator and the Rich Results Tool can significantly simplify this process, ensuring your content is accurately represented and easily discoverable online.