What is structured data?
Structured data is a type of code added to the back end of your site that makes it easier for search engines to crawl and comprehend your site. It communicates to the search engines what your site means, and allows them to display and organize the content. The major search engines, Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo worked together to create Schema.org, in an effort to all “speak the same language” and gain a better understanding of websites. Through this site, there are a series of tags and properties that can be used to markup products, reviews, local business listings, etc.
Different Types of Structured Data
If you’ve visited Schema.org, you’ve probably noticed that there is a ton of information you could add to your site as structured data. However, it will not all be relevant to you. Choose the ones that best align with your site and business’s goal. If you are a retail store you might want to promote a certain product, a movie theater can display reviews and even have tickets available for purchase right in the SERPS, etc. There are many types of markups that may be beneficial to your business, but like anything with SEO, you don’t want to overdo it. Choose a few that will be most beneficial to you.
Why do you need it?
The goal of structured data is that if search engines can better understand your site, you may be presented better in search results. Since it tells search engines exactly what every part of your site is about, they no longer have to guess. Using structured data can also lead to rich results, formerly known as rich snippets. This can include breadcrumbs, social profiles, corporate contacts, job postings, products, and more showing up in the search results in addition to the meta description. This makes your site stand out above the rest, intriguing users to click your site first.
Is structured data important for SEO?
To put it simply, yes, structured data is important for SEO; the two go hand-in-hand. First, using structured data can help to increase your visibility in the search engine results. Additionally, with rich results, users will have a better understanding of what your site is about before clicking, and will be able to decide if you are a valid result for what they are looking for. This in return will lower your bounce rate, and increase your click-through rate, both important factors for SEO.