Learning structured data for SEO requires understanding the essence of its very presence which directly relates to the fact “that machines work with strings, not things”. And the way web machines are evolving the need to understand things instead of strings becomes the biggest challenge.
Let’s understand the logic,
a sentence ‘Tigerlivesincorbett’ the one who speaks English can easily
understand the sequence of words as a tiger is a ferocious animal and inhabits
in a place name Corbett which many of us don’t know where exists, although we
can easily classify Corbett is the name of a place somewhere.
Those who know the place already they quite understand that Corbett is a tiger reserve in north India and famous for wild tigers.
Above is what a human understands;
let’s decipher how a search engine bot will decode the same
Search bots will save 19 alphabets in memory and look for further information. Search bots are not smart enough to understand things are associated with strings unless we are explicitly defining a vocabulary along with a set of rules which helps search bots understand and correlate those characters with meaningful things.
And typically we call that vocabulary with the specific and established rule set as ‘Structured Data.’
cannot imagine the web & the search smarter without the presence of
structured data markup, why?
When someone searches for ‘Tigerlivesincorbett’ search bot will return the result with a web page where the same term exist, however, if search appears ‘where do tigers live’ search bot is not able-enough to return the exact page even though they keep the answer in their memory.
We cannot imagine the web & the search smarter without the presence
of structured data markup, why?
Search bot without structured data vocabulary?
In the absence of vocabulary, or should we say precisely the available structured data, both the web and the search couldn’t have been smarter.
Semantic web and search
Semantic is the study of meaning in a given language, specifically
the study relates with the relationship
between the signifiers (words, phrases & symbols) in a language and the
concept is evolving since 1998.
a cumulative effort of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex
With the help of semantic, web understands the correlation, importance & significance between things and strings. The concepts and relationship that signifies the importance of words with each other.
web search uses vocabulary and grammar both like humans do. And with the help
of semantics, search bots understand the
real relation between words & phrases,
Example with a Rich Snippet.
perform a search for ‘Mayor of London’ search engine bot can now easily
understand you are looking for ‘Sadiq Khan’ and vice versa as well, although
countless names associated with ‘Sadiq Khan’ are available.
engines results will show a rich snippet with the name ‘Sadiq Khan’ which you can see includes a picture, news
appearances and other details. Thanks to the structured data without which a rich snippet result couldn’t have been possible.
result with a rich snippet will not only help you avoid the extra clicks and
page browsing but also showing you the desired information within a fraction of
you doubt you can open google.co.uk and perform a search, thanks to semantic
web search which couldn’t have been possible without the meaningful or structured
Why is structured data markup essential for your web pages?
A rich snippet in search appearance is only possible when you are using a perfect schema markup in conjunction with page elements like content, images, links etc. PA & DA both play an essential role as well in achieving a rich snippet.
Search engines are smarter than ever and at the same time powerful enough to decipher human queries and return the exact result.
it is incumbent upon us to reap those benefits only if we understand and
empower our digital assets with the vocabulary search bots loves.
engines like Google gives edge to
those web pages using structured
data markup and
consider to display the content of their web pages in the form of rich snippets,
and that helps the user to avoid further
searches and clicks, See the example below.
return web pages enjoys approx… 30% higher CTR (Click through rate) as compared with their
Google Search works hard to understand the content of a page.
You can help us by providing explicit clues about the meaning of a page to
Google by including structured data on the page. Structured data is a
standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying
the page content; for example, on a recipe page, what are the ingredients,
the cooking time and temperature, the calories, and so on
What is a schema, Microdata, Microformats,
digital gurus are not unanimous which
results in emanating of different vocabularies & grammar, and thus different formats are born.
a most basic sense, information is conveyed through a language, whether machine
or human, in both the languages two
things are primary
Vocabulary (set of words)
Grammar (set of rules to use the vocabulary)
Example of vocabulary for structured data markup for SEO
Person: a person (alive or dead) described through the following properties
FamilyName: the family name of the person
GivenName: the first or given name
BirthDate: date of birth of the person
also require grammatical rules so that search bots can interpret and
understands the data correctly. Example
Enclose curly braces
Separate the value and its
properties using a colon and enclose them
in double quotes
Separate the value using
data markup example code
in mind the above we can classify digital jargons as follows.
Microformats is the only one to provide
both vocabulary & grammar.
What is the best combination of structured data for SEO?
search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo,
Yandex supports schema markup.
of a JSON-LD grammar used with schema to generate structured data for a local
Implementation of structured data mark up for SEO on your web page
Implementation of structured
data mark up for SEO on your web
pageYou can check schema for common and popular markups; however, Google also provides a markup helper tool to generate structured data for SEO for any
given web page in just three easy steps.
your website is using WordPress CMS, the plethora
of plugins are available, free and paid both. Perhaps not all of them are
viable. However we have observed Schema – All in One Schema Rich
Snippets with 90k active installs, doing regular updates and available
free, although they are not supporting all the schema types. E.g. service
schema, webpage schema. Etc.
Word press Structured data plugin
paid one is WP-Schema and cost $249 for a lifetime purchase. The plugin includes all significant schema tags except few like webpages.
Winning a Rich Snippet
Achieving a rich snippet is certainly possible yet challenging; Google will never award you a rich snippet without the assurance of establishing a proving authority over your competitor.
essential to winning the required trust
of a search bot, and they are quite
smarter after the presence of an established vocabulary through which they can very
well understand and determine smallest part of your digital assets in
conjunction with their meaning.
to win a rich snippet lies with the very fact of an established authority of
any given web page.
You can earn the
authority for your digital asset
through all the hard work and by taking a strategic approach.
though Google clearly says that the display of rich snippets is not guaranteed, a simple blue link can
be more powerful and enough to replace your rich
Elements to win a rich snippet in search results
On-page SEO is an essential part of digital marketing and serves
as a foundation to build a robust online presence.
Content is the heart and soul of digital assets as
well as digital marketing campaigns, and a
marketing strategy is vital to the success of your online assets.
PA & DA are page and domain authority respectively,
in below fig. if we consider alphabets as digital assets then try to answer
which one ranks higher and why?
Answer: C will rank higher even though receiving a single link from B which is an established and authority link because other digital assets are keeping a relation with B and hence accepting the authority of B. and B then passes the same jurisdiction to C.
Consider a redesign of your website should you wish to
seriously apt Speed score, which is something we cannot overlook
especially after July 2018 update from Google
in which they said, speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.
Common Mistakes using structured data for SEO
Schema of a webpage
often link our webpages
as articles by
accepting the webpage schema doesn’t exist. Which
exist and you can find the same in things > creative work > webpage with a
whole lot of properties available.
Structured data using plugins
the plugin and get, set & go. We sometimes wholly
ignored the purpose of installing the
plugin and forgot to test the structured data;
we can use the Google structured
data testing tool for the same and avoid common mistakes and errors.
The purpose is to define the webpage thoroughly and is readable and crawlable for search
engines so that they can index them with meaningful data.
will find a whole lot of plugins
available, free and paid both.
Defining the Webpage
the wrong vocabulary or
markup on the webpage can damage the reputation and
SERP (search engine results page). Make sure to determine
the page as accurate. You can use Google markup helper to structured data markup and generate a code
which you can use in HTML websites not using WordPress CMS.
A website selling cakes and setting the structured markup using recipe tags. A
travel website is showing a 7-day cruise trip and using the structured markup
of an event. The page is about the recipe of a ‘Pudding’ and defining the
structured markup of a ‘Cupcake’.
is recommended to use a plugin to markup structured data in WordPress websites.
Using hidden content
Markup should not be used to a
content hidden from the user as it creates a
deceiving search experience. Google never considers a misleading content, and in worst cases,
you may end up slammed with a Google penalty as well.
Main Webpage content
data markup should describe the given material
of the webpage. One
should not create a blank page for the sake of holding structured data.
E.g. a webpage is explaining the process
of a website design should not describe its structured data with ‘website
Avoiding to find out how google see
is not necessary that search bots see
your webpage exactly as it appears for you in a desktop or mobile. E.g. search engine bots require SEO
friendly images, and they may
appear blank for a search bot. No matter
you can see all of them.
someone searches for a local business, e.g.
a barber shop or a Spanish restaurant, search engine displays result with a knowledge
graph card with details, but only for those webpages keeping a well-defined map
of structured data and by following all the guidelines prescribed by Google.
specific types of webpage schema markup are also available, make sure to use
and define them in your pages, may I reiterate if you are using WordPress CMS,
you need a plugin to implement & define schema markup.
Webpage schema markup types.
Likewise, other important schema markup tags are also available such
for SEO works
well in conjunction with the scope of the main content of the webpage. Just make sure to avoid all common
mistakes as mentioned above. Google structured data markup testing tool and
helper both are brilliant, and you can use
URL inspection tool in search console to check how search bot sees your
Achieving a ‘Rich Snippet’ result can be challenging. However,
results are rewarding, especially a notable 30% increment in CTR may prove
to be a game changer in terms of business figures.
Keep searching & innovating because growth is
I will look forward to your comments.
Keep smiling & stay happy.
Structured data for SEO & winning Rich Snippets
Search engines uses a vocabulary & grammar, formally we call it structured data. And it helps search engines understand and classify your web pages and show results as a Rich snippet.
Hyder Ali Khan
Hyder Ali Khan Hyder Ali Khan has worked in the digital marketing industry for the past ten years, with the majority of that time spent in the role of Operations Director & head of digital assets creation & marketing at Pacific Infotech...Read more