First of all, what is Structured Data?
The term structured data refers to data that is easily identifiable because it is organized in a structure. The most common form of structured data, or structured data records (SDR), is a database where specific information is stored based on a methodology of columns and rows.
Well, we all know that search engines have a hard time deciphering the content of a web page and elements that might be obvious for humans can be problematic for search engines.
In the context of Search Engine Optimization, structured data is used to assist search engines to identify and properly catalog the information presented on your website.
Implementing structured data will help them understand your content.
Search engines can use this information to generate rich snippets; small pieces of information which appear in the search results.
Rich HTML Snippets are the few lines of text that appear under every search result and are designed to give users a sense for the content on the page and why it’s relevant to their query.
Structured data is extra information that can be added to the HTML markup of a page. There are three types of structured data: microdata, microformats and RDFa. The Structured Data Markup Helper is based on the microdata markup.
How to add some structured data to our page.
Let’s add structured data to our page.
We can use this tool at google.com/webmasters/markup-helper/ or in Google Webmaster Tools under Other Resources > Structured Data Markup Helper.
There are two tabs in the middle of the page: a website and an email tab.
We can use the tool for emails that contain certain types of reservations (more information about structured data in emails can be found in the article Embedding Schemas in Emails).
Then we have to choose between several data types, such as:
- Local businesses
- Software applications
- TV episodes
There are other data types that can be used such as Landmarks, Books, Reviews, etc. but those are not yet available in this tool.
You can find a complete list of all data types can be found on schema.org.
EXAMPLE FOR MA-NO WEB DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT:
In the tool we selected ‘local business’ as a data type and entered the URL of the page I wanted to tag (http://ma-no.org/). Alternatively we could paste a piece of HTML code that can be used for tagging.
Let's Start Tagging
After we click the ‘start tagging’ button, Google will load the page into the tool.
Then, hit the cog wheel and select ‘Settings’. Choose the correct site language and (optionally) a different data format.
Now, on the left we see a visual representation of the URL, on the right the structured data information. As you can see in the right sidebar, a ‘name’ is required, hence a great starting point for our task.
If you accidentally use the wrong data type or tagged the wrong element, you can remove it by clicking the ‘clear tag’ button.
In case, you can delete all the tagged information by clicking the cog wheel in the top right corner and selecting ‘clear all tags from this page’.
For tags that can’t be highlighted on the page you can use the ‘missing tags’ function.
How to Create the HTML code
Let's implement the microdata in our code.
Click the ‘create HTML’ button.
Now in the right sidebar we can see the code of the page. The microdata is highlighted, making it easy to quickly see the changes.
Finally, we can download the HTML file via the ‘download’ button.
This file can be used as a guide to help you implement structured data on your website.