In today’s world of search engine optimization (or SEO), Google’s search ranking algorithm is comprised of hundreds or even thousands of ranking factors. Foundational SEO once only included tactics such as keyword optimization and populating the more popular elements like title tags and headers. To truly set the stage for long term success in SEO and provide search engines with the data they expect, experts today should not sleep on the lesser-known library of Schema.org’s structured data. This article will introduce the concept of structured data, highlight its ever-increasing role in SEO, and provide a few tricks to get started.
What is Structured Data?
Simply put, structured data is code crafted to better define for search engines:
- the format or use case of specific of web content (product, eBook)
- the purpose of a webpage (blog article, Service page)
- the type of data displayed on a page (phone number, address, event date)
- or the type of business being conducted by a brand’s website (physician, attorney)
How Can A Website Get Started with Structured Data?
There are three accepted types of code that can be applied to a website in order to share Structured Data with Google (and the other search engines): JSON-LD, Microdata and RDFa. We won’t cover the specifics of each type, as we will be using the recommended type by Google: JSON-LD. More information can be found at Google’s developers page on understanding how structured data works.
The most elementary piece of Structured Data and a great place to start is with Schema.org’s “Organization”. Organization Structured Data informs search engines of pertinent information about your company and is one of the main sources of data to populate what’s known as Google’s Knowledge Graph. The available properties, and what might be relevant to your business, can be found on the Schema library Organization page.
Creating the Code
In this exercise, we will examine a few properties of the Organization Structured Data using Blue Fountain Media as the example. Referencing the Organization Schema.org page, we’ll pick a few simple properties to get started: name, url, description, same as, address, email, image, logo, telephone. While most appear pretty self-explanatory, “same as” might be a bit confusing. The purpose of “same as” is to denote other web properties owned by your business and is normally used to reference Facebook, Wikipedia, or similar pages. Remember, the main purpose of Organization is to populate the Knowledge Graph, where many of this data will be displayed in the search results.
After having defined what you want to see for each property the code would be translated into the following:
"name": "Blue Fountain Media",
"description": "We merge imagination and technology to help brands grow in an age of digital transformation.",
"addressLocality": "New York",
"streetAddress": "102 Madison Avenue - Second Floor"
"email": "[email protected]",
"telephone": "(212) 260.1978"
After generating the code, you should always validate it with Google’s official tool to validate Structured Data.
Things to Consider
Organization Structured Data is best suited for main pages about your company, such as the homepage or the about us page. So, there’s where the code should be placed (remember, in the <head> section of the code).
Do not place the code on every page of your site, as this practice is discouraged by Google.
Organization Structured Data is an important and simple implementation that can help feed Google’s Knowledge Graph. Getting started with Structured Data doesn’t need to be complicated. It shows a willingness on the part of development and SEO teams to branch out from the more basic and understood optimization methods, creating an easy crawling and indexing experience for Google. When Google is happy, your users and customers will be happy.