SEO Basics: How Does Structured Data Affect Your Search Engine Optimization?

What is structured data?

Structured data helps search engines like Google to better understand websites. It can provide the Google bot with additional information and detailed hints to better classify web pages, and thus target them for specific search queries. Structured data allows you to provide information about your website and classify page content. For example, for events, you can specify the date on which they take place.

Why structured data?

If search engines understand your website better through structured data, you will be rewarded by them. Because then it is possible that special search result functions will be enabled for a search query and the search results will be optimized for your users. Unfortunately, this is not 100% guaranteed. Nevertheless, it makes sense to create structured data to increase the likelihood that you will increase your visibility and thus clicks to the website.

Such optimized search results are called Rich Results because they are rich in additional content and information. Rich results are not tied to specific rankings, because SERPs on the second or third page can also be enriched with additional content.

How do I include structured data on my website?

To include structured data on a page, so-called mark-ups are used (mark-up = mark-up that structures a document). The search engine Google, for example, supports three formats to generate structured data and a rich result:

  • Microdata
  • RDFa

What is the difference between featured snippets and rich results?

Featured Snippets

A featured snippet is a short summarized excerpt from a website. The Featured Snippet is a highlighted search result that is displayed at the top of the search results (“position 0”). You achieve a Featured Snippet not through structured data, but through appropriate content. This means that the answer to a search query must be correct and comprehensive, in 1–2 sentences or a short list. Google draws here the text area directly from the content of the page.

Rich Results (Rich Snippets)

With Rich Results, the position of a search result is not important. They are more visually appealing and enriched with additional information that is displayed next to the title, description and URL. This can be, for example, opening hours, ratings, contact details, recipes or prices.

Effects of structured data on SEO & content

Highlighting structured data is not a ranking factor. However, if your result differs from your competitors in such a way that users are more likely to click on your website, it will naturally increase the click-through rate and the time spent on your site. Relevant, quality content and an attractively highlighted search result on your website therefore increase the chance of more visits from potential customers.

Clear structuring not only helps search engines understand and rank your content, but also encourages your users to click and stay on your site. Even though structured data has no direct influence on the ranking, a higher click-through rate has an effect on the ranking. So structured data does have an impact on SEO.

With the help of structured data you can achieve rich results that increase your visibility and click-through rate, and then also your ranking. So if you want to do good and sustainable SEO, you should consider structured data and implement it correctly.

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