What is Structured Data Markup?

Structured data markup example

Structured data markup is additional piece of information we can add to our website to tell search engines what our website or a page on a website is about.  When search engines like Google crawl and index your website, they will try to guess what the site or each page is about.  Based on the content on a page, they make an educated guess.  Sometimes they get it right – other times they can’t figure out so your website or page is categorized as a “general” page in their index.

When you add structured data markup to your site, you are using pre-defined categories, properties, and attributes that search engines understand exactly what your site is about.

For example, if your business is a law firm, you’d use the Attorney markup that has the categorization of “Thing > Organization > LocalBusiness > LegalService > Attorney.”  From this, Google knows that your business is a local business in the legal service industry.  Not only that, now it knows that you are a law firm.  Together with an address or phone number it crawls from your website (again using structured data markup), Google now has enough information to show your business to end-users conducting relevant searches.

Same can be applied to e-commerce industry.  Within an e-commerce website, you can add markup to each product you are selling, increasing the likelihood of your products being found and seen by users.

Following example demonstrates how organizations are using structured data markup for e-commerce websites:

Structured data markup example

I searched for “lenovo thinkpad ultrabook” on Google.  As you can see, the search results showing additional information including star ratings and number of reviews have structured data markup implemented.  These results will likely have higher Click-Through-Rate (CTR) than others.

For e-commerce websites, it is recommended that you add product, ratings and reviews, pricing information, and availability as part of your overall markup effort.

This is just one example of how the markup can be applied to a specific product – Lenovo ThinkPad Ultrabook – to a specific website type – e-commerce.  If you go to schema.org, you can find out what markups are available.

Structured data markup is a fairly advanced SEO concept but when it’s fully implemented, you can really increase the likelihood of your website, pages, or products being found online.

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