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Structured data SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION 

Structured data, schema markup, JSON-LD and other keywords are heard more and more in the SEO scene. But what does it mean?

First and foremost, it is about the Google-compatible presentation of content. This is a decisive factor for placement and an attractive snippet on the largest search engine. A correct schema markup ensures, for example, that your website is placed before number one for certain keywords.

Structured data – what is it?

The term is actually self-explanatory. Every database consists of information that is put into a certain structure and must meet special conditions.

On the web, however, the term structured data primarily stands for special Google requirements for website elements in order to optimize them for web crawlers.

HTML, the markup language behind every website, also consists of structured data. The great advantage of search engines is that they can crawl through these HTML elements and obtain information about the content from them. Google is getting better and better at this – for example with artificial intelligence .

What is behind the schema vocabulary?

The schema vocabulary presents a uniform structure for web information . It is an important part of the comprehensive effort to standardize the Internet and to make access to information faster and more perfect. No one can ignore the structured data vocabulary established by Schema.org.

The aim is a global and cross-platform definition of names for all content on the web. First and foremost, the markup scheme helps search engines to display search results. But of course, this effect also affects the user.

The use of this schema vocabulary leads to demonstrably better results when displaying search results in the major search engines. There are fixed terms for almost all topics, the content of which can be standardized, such as:

  • Products
  • Individuals, organizations and companies
  • Recipes
  • Reviews
  • Events

The schema.org vocabulary is strictly hierarchical.  An example:

Thing > Creative Work > Article > News Article > BackgroundNewsArticle

If you want to publish a news article with a background character and structure it perfectly, you will find the complete vocabulary for all elements of your blog article under BackgroundNewsArticle .

Structured data and SEO

Structured data is particularly important for search engine experts. On the one hand, this applies to the placement of the page as a featured snippet for certain keywords.

With structured data, content from Google is prominently displayed – as rich snippets . These “enriched snippets” stand out clearly from the usual Google list entries. You catch the eye.

  • Rich snippet is the generic term for the optimized search results on Google, which differ from the conventional entries.
  • A featured snippet is the prominent placement of a page on position zero – i.e. before the first organic search results and the paid ads. Featured snippets provide quick answers to a question typed in the Google search field by the user.
  • When FAQ Rich snippets is one generated by Google drop-down list of questions and answers.

How are rich snippets drawn from the structured data?

Rich snippets do not necessarily require the use of structured data. But they are particularly helpful in this regard. With structured data, for example, it is easier for Google to display event dates in a user-friendly manner .

The advantage is obvious: the snippet looks clear, inviting and, above all, serious. It almost looks like an ad from Google Ads. With one subtle difference: the user did not pay anything for it.

Structured data and the CTR

Curse or blessing? On the one hand, Google is constantly pushing the use of structured data, on the other hand, many search engine optimization Delhi experts repeatedly warn against JSON-LD and Co.  Why is that? Very easily:

  • Users who search for information on Google or enter a question receive the answer directly on the results page, for example as an info box on the right edge of the desktop display.
  • This eliminates the need for the searcher to click on the page itself, because Google already presents the answer.

Because in the long term this type of information processing will prevail. And last but not least, thanks to schema markup, prominent Google entries ensure a positive reputation that affects the entire domain.

Coding and implementation of structured data

Google recommends three formats for the implementation of structured data:

Microdata and RDFa

  An example of an about me page:

<div itemscope itemtype="http://data-vocabulary.org/Person">Mein Name ist
<span itemprop="name">Marlene Mustermann. Ich wohne in</span>
<span itemprop="locality">Musterstadt im Bundesland</span>
<span itemprop="region">Musterländle.</span></div>

This is the actual scheme markup – a text markup based on a given scheme with tags . The disadvantage of this (somewhat outdated) method immediately catches the eye: The HTML code in the body area is unnecessarily bloated. This is an essential one, especially for web designers. RDFa is an HTML5 extension for linking data.

JSON-LD – recommended by Google

The abbreviation JSON-LD stands for “JavaScript Object Notation – Linked Data”. This format dispenses with the disadvantages of microdata and RDFa.  This fulfills an important programmer dogma: the separation of data (as a carrier of information) and design (i.e. the user-friendly representation of data on a website). The main argument in favor of using JSON-LD convinces all SEO experts: JSON-LD is expressly recommended by Google .

What does machine-friendly personal information look like on an About Me page in JSON-LD ? For example like this:

{
"@context": "http://www.schema.org",
"@type": "person",
"name": "Marlene Mustermann",
"address": {
"@type": "PostalAddress",
"addressLocality": "Musterstadt",
"addressRegion": "Musterländle"
}

Admittedly, compared to the example shown above with microdata, the JSON-LD code seems just as confusing at first glance. But the information is in the right place – in the head area of ​​the source text. And that’s the section in the HTML that is really only of interest to the crawlers (or the computer nerds). Machine-friendly code in the right place – the Google robots immediately recognize what it is about.

Tip: You don’t have to be a programmer to generate this code. A JSON-LD generator makes generating correct code very easy, even for non-JavaScript users.

Apply structured data correctly

The correct use of structured data supports Google functions such as question-answer lists or featured snippets . But be careful: In this area in particular, mistakes are made again and again, which are sometimes dangerous:

  1. Certain functions such as display in a special question-and-answer list or placement as featured snippets are made possible by structured data, but not guaranteed. In order to score here, it essentially depends on content optimization .
  2. Often it is technical inadequacies that stand in the way of the desired representation in the Google results. Google’s test tool for structured data shows these slip-ups.

Google expressly warns of so-called structured spam data. If this suspicion is confirmed, the Internet giant takes action. This can be, for example, a downgrade or the removal of a page from the Google index.

Structured data in WordPress

Content management systems make comprehensive websites possible even without programming knowledge. The most popular CMS is still WordPress. And so WordPress has developed Yoast SEO, the world’s most widely used SEO plugin. Of course, this tool also supports structured data. An advantage for WordPress users: Yoast SEO generates structured data in JSON-LD format . So in exactly the format recommended by the largest search engine.

What test tools are there for schema?

There are numerous possibilities on the web to test self-generated structured data, for example for the correct use of the schema vocabulary or compliance with format-specific requirements. Sometimes even a single wrong or not set comma with JSON-LD leads to an error message. If you want to track down bugs, it is best to use a page provided by the largest search engine: the test tool in the Google Search Console .Does a page support rich search results? You can find out on Google Rich Results .

Targeted SEO thanks to structured data

Today there is no way around structured data to SEO success. It is not without reason that more and more search engine optimizers are relying on JSON-LD to be particularly prominent in the SERPs. You don’t have to be a code professional to generate structured data, as there are many generators on the web for this. The most popular content management systems also support JSON-LD and Co.

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