What is Structured Data Markup and Its Importance

Posted on 21st Dec 2017 06:07 PM

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Google crawls, indexes, reads number of websites every day, every second. Thus lowering the burden of Google, webmasters are opting for structured data markup
Structured data is a code written by site operators in html markup. It is the data presented in the first page of SERP on the top summarising the whole content. It is written in a specific format in pieces of code so that it is understood by search engines. 
Structured data is found in the form of rich snippets at the top of the SERP, exactly matching to the relevant query asked in search engine. 
By submitting structured data doesn’t mean that Google crawls only the structured data but not the entire site. No, Google crawls each and every point and lastly Structured data, no one escape from indexing and crawling.
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When rich snippets are assigned to your website, there is lots of scope to show more of the information about the website like summary of the website, ratings, reviews, etc., it is easy for users to choose and click on the website based on these terms. 

How to add structured data/snippets

When structured data is found with the  rich informative forms by Google, turns as rich snippets.
How does a structured data is written.
Well, each and every page does not need structured data in the sense, data in the structural form like name of the person, place of the event/concert, date and time, name of the event, type of event, rates and reviews,etc.,
One need to have a web developer as they involve some sorts of coding, attributes, elements, etc.,
But for a wordpress based site does not need specifically to include rich snippets as they have several plugins. But for e-commerce system, it is done by developer to set up structured data markup.
One can add structured data with available Google tools like Google structured data testing tools,  Google structured data helper, Fetch as Google. Follow the guidelines as provided in it to create structured data format, build, test, fix errors and release structured data 

Does site appear in SERP after releasing structured data

The answer is no. As Google takes time for every website to crawl, read and rank, likewise snippets also has to undergo the process of valuation. 
  • First Google analyses and assess your markups only after 10 - 14 days of introduction of a website
  • If everything goes well, some pages are appeared, but after 5 days these are disappeared.
  • This cycle of appearing and disappearing continues for repeated number of times.
  • After 8 weeks, if any errors are not found, then, rich snippets are rewarded to your site
Structured data markups types
3 types of data namely
  • Microdata
  • Microformat
  • RFDa
The most popular one is Microdata, owned by website schema.org, collectively shared by 3 major search engines called Google, Bing, Yahoo. Microdata consists of 3 elements itemscope, itemtype, itemprops
Itemscope :This gives information about the item and it is added to html.
Itemtype : Identifies the type of content like event, concert, receipe, etc., This attribute is written after itemscope
Itemprops : name/place of the location.
If needed you can add date, time of the event in YYYY-MM-DD format with T prefix providing time along with data.
And hence can be written as
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Event”>
<span itemprop=”name”>A.R.Rehman</span>.
Concert will take place at <span itemprop=”location”>Gachibowli stadium Hyderabad</span>.
on <time datetime="2017-11-26T20:30">November 26, 2017 at 8:30pm</time>.
With these tags we are explaining search engine that on 26th november 2017 at 8.30 pm there is concert of A.R.Rehman at Gachibowli stadium Hyderabad
Microformats : This type of data uses conventional method with semantic information. Mostly class attributes are used. 3 types of Microformats are present
 hCard, hCalender, hReview
hCard : It is used for company’s and Organisation
hCalender : Adds information about events
hReview : Reviews about books, movies, restaurants, etc.,
RFDa : It is quite complexed among the 3. It uses properties to identify entities, html tags
and , to describe them. Eventually we have 4 types of RFDa 
voctype, type of, property, resource
voctype : vocabulary is used in structured data
type of : type of data about an event, person or restaurant
property : Information about person
resource : Adding a unique ID to the type of person

Structured data importance and SEO

In no way structured data was mandatory until Google announced it officially, that it might be helpful in the ranking factors(indirectly). But to compete in this fast track of web technology, structured data and snippets are rather useful.
Does structured data affect seo
  • Yes, directly or indirectly structured data affects seo. 
  • Users can easily identify the relevant query results, which they are looking for
  • The search engines able to mark it out with snippets and extract the actual content
  • Website providers are benefited with Click Through Ratio and returning visitors to site.
To wind up the topic, in the future days to come, structured data is taken as one of the ranking factors. Eventually, it is adopted by webmasters, as it is useful in Click Through Ratio, low bounce rate, Returning Visitors.