structured data in seo

What is Structured Data in SEO? How It Helps in SEO?

What is Structured Data and How Structured Data in SEO help your business?

You’ve set up a new site and you’ve also covered all the basic technical things for your new site. You’ve done your research and done everything you could. But, your ranking pauses even when you’ve optimized your website. If so, structured data (advanced) can help you move the needle in Google SERP. Structured data in SEO is an add-on bonus to all of your hard work in SEO.

So, what is structured data, and how can you get benefits from it?

We’ll learn about that exact question in this article.

What is Structured Data? (In Layman’s Term) 

Structured Data are data that are present within a fixed field of a file or a record.

These markups can be in many formats; RDFa, Microdata, and JSON-LD which are beneficial in SEO.

We can use RDFa and Microdata, too, but I’ll be focusing on JSON-LD in this article because Google recommends it.

Before jumping into details, here are guidelines for structured data in SEO by Google.

In terms of SEO,  structured data are organized grouped texts that provide exact information that helps search engines understand the context better. 

It means web crawlers can understand your information in the way you want them to know.

Let’s take the example of structured data. 

Ram (A typical name, for example) has to go to Point A. Shyam (Another typical name, for example) is describing the path to Ram.

Shyam goes like; You need to go here. You’ll see a loooooong tree. Then, take a right.. go there.. come here.. do this.. do that… You’ll see a white house with three greeeat windows… Go to this shop… Go up to here. And, take right.  Walk… This and that… 

Shyam told Ram all the information he could to get to point A.

Shyam describes the path to Ram in a looong format which Ram understood but felt really bored while listening. (Everyone gets bored listening to a long talk)

We can view the above direction description as the general content of the webpage. 

Now, how could Shyam have described the direction to Ram?

Easy… He could have told Ram precisely what he needed to do. 

Go to this bus station. Take this bus. Find this landmark. Walk in the North direction for about 239 meters, and you’ll reach Point A.

The second description is exact, and Ram got all the information he needed to get to Point A. Ram is happy and not bored. Ram got what he needed, and now he can proceed in moving to Point A.

This exact information Shyam described to Ram is what I call structured data. (Of course, the markup structure is incorrect, but I’ll get into that a little later.)

As for SEO, we must feed the Google or Search Engine bots with this exact information structured in markups.

You get all the freedom to feed the data as schema, helping your content understand and rank better.

JSON-LD Schema for SEO:

Now, let’s talk about JSON-LD schema structure.

Using JSON-LD schema is common nowadays to serve mark up information to Google, Bing, and other search engine bots. 

It looks something like this:

<script type=”application/ld+json”>

{

  “@context”: “https://schema.org/”,

  “@type”: “Person”,

  “name”: “Praphulla Hada”,

  “url”: “https://praphullahada.com.np/”,

  “image”: “https://praphullahada.com.np/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/SEO-Specialist-Nepal-Praphulla-Hada.webp”,

  “sameAs”: [

    “https://www.facebook.com/praphulla.hada”,

    “https://twitter.com/praphulla_hada”,

    “https://www.instagram.com/praphulla_hada/”,

    “https://www.linkedin.com/in/praphulla-hada/”

  ],

  “jobTitle”: “SEO Expert”,

  “worksFor”: {

    “@type”: “Organization”,

    “name”: “Orka Socials”

  }  

}

</script>

There are multiple tools (easy) that will help you generate schema mark up. 

I’ll talk about them later.

Let’s learn how the structured data works from the above example.

The <script type ….. > is the type of the script. Here, it is JSON-LD.

Now, the part context is schema.org meaning the context/information/data used below belongs under schema.org vocabulary. 

The Person is a type, denoted by @type and all that comes under @… are the additional data properties for the type. For the above example, it is the name, URL, image, and Job Title.

I know it can be a little confusing, but it will get better. If you’re not that much in technical stuff, all you got to know is that a property has an expected type.

Again, if we take the example of Shyam from the previous section. 

Shyam = Person, 

He has:

Hands = 2

Eyes = 2

Heart =1

etc…

These are exact information we can give to bots to guide them about Shyam. All that is left is the structuring of the data.

Eeeasy right??

Now that you’ve gained a basic understanding of schema, let’s see how to generate structured data. 

Tools for Generating Structured Data

Online markup generators

Technical SEO Schema Mark up Generator by Merkle

Google structured data markup helper 

Structured data generator by J.D. Flynn

JSON-LD playground

I recommend going with Technical SEO Schema Markup Generator by Merkle. It is easy to use, and it covers almost all of the properties you will need for your schema markup generator.

technical seo schema generator tool

WordPress plugins for structured data

SEO Plugins like Yoast SEO, SEO Press, Rank Math, Smart Crawl, All in One SEO

WP SEO Structured data schema

Schema App

SEO plugins can generate a decent schema for your pages and posts. I personally use Rank Math SEO.

rank math plugin

Shopify Apps

SEO Manager

Smart SEO

Libraries for DEVs

JSON-LD on npm.org

After you’ve created a schema script, it is time to test it. For validating the schema markup, you can use the following tools. 

Note: Generally, while creating the schema from the above-mentioned tools, there might be warnings, but the probability of getting errors is significantly less.

Tools to Validate the Schema Markup

To validate the schema markup script, we can use any of the following structured data testing tools;

Google Rich Snippet

Schema.org Schema Validator (Previously Google Structured Data Testing Tool)

JSON-LD Playground

Yandex Structured Data Validator

I recommend using either Google Rich Snippet or Schema.org Schema validator as they both are easy to use. 

Both tools can quickly validate schema scripts showing errors and warnings (if present).

The Google Rich Snippet tool is helpful in validating schema structures like Recipes, Products, etc., while Schema. Org Schema validator is helpful for schema structures like Organization, Person, Local Business, etc.

To validate with Google’s schema validator tools, copy the schema code and paste it into the code section of the validator. Or, to validate the code for the live URL (already present in the webpage), copy and insert the URL in the URL section.

Now that you have successfully created and validated Schema Scripts, you must implement them on your website. 

There are several ways to implement Schema in the Website. 

Implementing the Structured Data for SEO

Insert Headers and Footers Plugin for WordPress

Sogo Header and Footer Plugin

Custom Code for a single page (for WordPress, adding custom fields is recommended)

Custom Code in header.php file (Not recommended) (it makes a specific code applicable to all pages)

For Shopify, the above-mentioned schema generating apps automatically add the scripts. In the case of custom code, 

you can add the code in header.liquid template section. (not recommended)

Get Shopify experts’ answers.

Once you’ve implemented the schema code, validate it again to see any additional errors and warnings. 

If there are no errors and warnings, 

CONGRATULATIONS!! YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY IMPLEMENTED STRUCTURED DATA.

That’s it. Your website is now ready to show structured data (schema) in the SERP.

TL;DR

Structured Data are data that are present within a fixed field of a file or a record.

These markups can be in many formats; RDFa, Microdata, and JSON-LD are the ones that are beneficial in SEO. Recommended by Google is JSON-LD.

You can use Technical SEO Schema Markup Generator Tool to generate schema.

Validate the Schema markup script with Google Rich Snippet Testing Tool or Schema.Org Schema Validator.

Implement the schema script on the website and validate again for any additional errors and warnings.