SEOs, don’t ignore structured data
Written by Jon Henshaw and published
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.
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 Schema creation tools.
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