A lot of SEOs are still leaving structured data out of their onsite optimization. If you’re one of them, you may be missing out on better rankings, and subsequently forfeiting targeted traffic to your competitors.
If you’re not familiar with structured data, I recommend that you first check out Schema and microdata for newbs. That will get you up to speed quickly.
Structured data has been around for a few years, with the dominant formats being RDFa and microformats. When the concept finally got on the radar of search engines like Google, it was seen as insufficient.
Search engines wanted to have more control over the structured data standard, and the introduction of Living Standard HTML (aka HTML5) and the new microdata attributes allowed them to create their own standard, known today as schema.org.
While RDFa and microformats are still used by search engines, their preference appears to be towards schema.org, so that’s what I’m going to focus on.
Why structured data makes sense
Without structured data, it’s up to search engines to parse and comprehend complex information. They do a good job of this, but it’s never exact and hardly ever perfect. For example, a page might list an event, but without structured data, there’s a very good chance that search bots will miss some vital data.
Schema.org fixes this by providing schemas for writing HTML in a way that doesn’t change how the user views the content, but simultaneously provides all of the pertinent data to the search bot.
Thanks to schema.org, there are now schemas for just about every type of structured data you can think of. Some of the most commonly used schemas include Person, Product, Event, Organization, Movie, Book, and Review – all of which can be easily created using Raven’s Schema Creator tool.
Why you should be using structured data
Perhaps the most compelling reason to use schema.org microdata is that Google seems to prefer it in their search results. More often than not, pages using structured data appear at the top of their organic results.
And usage of structured data continues to grow. Here are a few examples from Google that include results from pages using schema.org microdata.
Ticketmaster uses http://schema.org/Event
IMDB uses http://schema.org/TVSeries and others
Eating Well uses http://schema.org/Recipe
Get started with Schema Creator
We believe in the future of schema.org so much that we created Schema Creator a year ago to help SEOs and web designers start incorporating schemas into their pages. Schema Creator helps you learn how to properly format schema.org microdata by providing forms for the most popular schemas, and then creating the HTML for you.
I’m excited to announce that we have a big update coming to Schema Creator that’s going to make using schema.org microdata even easier. Visit http://schema-creator.org/ and enter your contact info to be the first to know!