Ok, Google. What is Structure Data & Why is it Important for 2018?
Voice search is radically changing the way we search for information and is undeniably growing at a rapid pace. Unlike traditional web-based search where many results are displayed as a list – voice search is all about the one best answer. This answer is often the same information displayed in the form of rich snippets (images, knowledge graphs, charts + tables, etc) within the SERP mobile and desktop.
A website that implements structured data or Schema markup has a better chance of appearing in these rich snippets (aka Rank #0) because search engines can better understand, categorize and structure important information about your website and deliver it to users.
Structuring Data Using Schema Microdata Markup
Schema Markup is a vocabulary used by search engines to define the hierarchy and categorize the data on your webpage. It is a basically a set of tags added to the HTML that describes the important facts (or microdata) about your business, article or recipe that you want search engines to pay attention to.
For example, a local chef Vivian Howard recently opened a new pizza shop downtown and wants to markup the following information on the homepage.
Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria
Big, Fun, Tasty, and Italian
206 Greenfield St.
Wilmington, NC 28401
Phone: (910) 550-2525
Here is how we would markup the HTML with microdata tags in:
The itemSCOPE tag specifics the section of the page and the itemTYPE URL identifies the type or category of information (i.e., an article, recipe, restaurant, or local business).
- <div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Restaurant”><p></p>
ItemPROP tags are then added underneath to describe the properties or attributes of the item you want to identify.
- <span itemprop=”telephone”>(910) 550-2525</span></p>
Schema.org offers a very helpful guide on how to get started with microdata markup as well as a list of item types and property tags for each hierarchy. The Google Structure Data Helper will even show you where to update your site so that Google – and other search engines – can understand the data and images you want to markup on your site.
Markup Images for Visual Search
Schema markup and metadata are especially important for visual searches. Visual search is similar to text-based searches in that the algorithms look for alt tags and metadata to match the contents of a photo to an object online. This is because, with such minimal text used in the future of visual search, this data may be one of the only sources of textual information for search engines to crawl.
Search marketers and SEOs will not only need to implement clean structured data but learn to develop a strategy that delivers the right content to users in the right context and moment. The days of optimizing around keywords and phrases are gone. The sooner you adapt your SEO strategy accordingly the better prepared you’ll be to outrank the competition.