With digital trends rapidly evolving, it can be overwhelming to keep up. While most marketers are familiar with the concept of search engine optimization (SEO), there are many technicalities to a robust strategy that require support from developers.
Have you heard of structured data? We’ve been working with our friends and partners at Codified to get smart on structured data for our agency and client content. Keep reading for insights, including:
- What is structured data?
- What is SEO and why is it important?
- What structured data can’t do
- What structured data means for the future
What is structured data?
Structured data is organized, labeled information that has been formatted in a way that is easy for search engines to digest.
Schema (derived from Schema.org, a collaboration between Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex) is the vocabulary that helps search engines understand and categorize structured data.
In short, schema helps communicate content to search engines to provide the best search experience possible. Adding structured data to web pages helps brands improve the way their content appears on search engines by producing rich snippets, enabling audiences to get a more informed feel for what your website has to offer before they even click.
What is SEO and why is it important?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a way to maximize the number of people viewing your site and ensure it reaches your desired audience. So how does this relate to structured data? The combination of SEO and structured data allows for search engines to better understand what your website has to offer and increases the chances of landing in your desired audiences’ searches.
Viewing these concepts at a high level makes it easy to understand (almost as easy as it will be for your audience to find your content once you implement structured data into your SEO strategy! 😉). Here’s an example:
A newly married person wants to find the best recipe for snickerdoodle cookies to share with his/her new spouse. As most do, they go to Google and search for a recipe, and here is where the use of both SEO and structured data comes into effect…
If you have a website listing recipes but don’t have strong SEO or structured data in place, you run the risk of this person never reaching your website/recipe. However, if you utilize structured data and schema to create rich snippets, your recipe is more likely to rank higher in search results and display like the example below. Which means you just won the jackpot and gained another click on your website!
What structured data can’t do
While structured data can do numerous things to benefit your owned content, it is not a one-stop-shop solution.
Structured data cannot fix bad use of SEO and it cannot solve your analytics trouble all on its own. These two must go hand in hand to support long-term growth. Additionally, structured data cannot aid content that is unoriginal, uninformative or poorly written – you must be as detailed and creative as possible to ensure your product/service/company can compete with competitors and attract audience attention.
Ultimately, user experience is key. From slow load speeds to excess ads or not being able to find the desired information quickly enough, getting your website health in check is essential before even considering implementing structured data in the overall strategy.
What structured data means for the future
In the future, as generative AI becomes more sophisticated, schema markup will become even more important. This is because generative AI will need to understand the meaning of the content on a web page to create accurate and relevant search results. This can already be seen in the new generative AI search experience already being tested by Google.
Schema markup provides generative AI with the information it needs to understand the content of a web page and to create high-quality search results. Meaning, brands that that can adopt schema markup today will be well-positioned to succeed in the future.
Looking for additional beginner friendly resources on SEO and structured data? We recommend the following:
- Washington Post – Internal SEO Tactics
- Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- Google Structured Data & SEO Resources
For more insights on digital trends, developments on generative AI and more, subscribe to our Thoughts from the 313 newsletter.
Bria Brown is an Integrated Communications Intern at Franco. Connect with her on LinkedIn.