SEO: How Structured Data Tells Search Engines Exactly What to See
Structured data simply put is a way to tell search engines like Google exactly what you want them to see on a website. Organic web traffic still reigns supreme in terms of traffic volume, but how do you capitalize on organic traffic to get someone to convert on your site? Structured data is the answer.
Search engines like Google gather information a few different ways, but let’s talk about two. First Google indexes and crawls content and determines what is on a webpage. This is a great method and while Google is incredibly complex I like to compare it to how toddlers learn information. When explaining something, you have to be specific, otherwise, they may interpret the information the wrong way which is where structured data comes in.
Both branded and non-branded search queries apply to how structured pushes information to Google. Below we see a non-branded search term with structured data.
The first search demonstrates how structured data pushed relevant information to the top of the Google search. This achieves the ability for a user to preview relevant information related to their search helping the user find what they are looking for without visiting a website or enticing the user just enough to visit the site and learn more.
Now, let’s take a look at what a branded search query looks like with structured data: The search was “Apple Charger”
Here is the same search for “Apple Charger” without structured data:
From a high level, there is a significant difference. The result containing structured data builds trust with the user and the website through customer reviews displays the price of the product, shows the product as “in stock” and give a short concise description of the product. All these factors greatly help a user convert on your website by “preselling” the information.
There are lots of out of the box tools that help build SEO for more basic SEO features. A purpose driven structured data table needs to be built by an agency or person who is highly knowledgeable about schema and SEO. There is a lot of finesse and strategy in building structured data to drive people with the goal of converting. This is done through common formats like .json in schema formatting. When the data tables are built, they call out important features of a web site.
The data table helps search engines identify who your company is, what they do, how to contact, how to navigate your site, where to find things, information about your products, blog details and much more. All this is to help override what search engines see on their own by guiding them in the right direction.
A simple test to see how your website is performing is to visit https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/u/0/ You can simply paste the URL of your website to see what structured data is present. Looking at the test may not make a lot of sense but it will help you understand the formatting and identify any errors or warnings. Errors and warnings are Google telling you, it does not understand the information or it is not present. Again, it’s best to get some help from a qualified agency or person who is knowledgeable about .json, schema, and SEO. Below is an example of a B2C website, this is the structured data tables pulling from their homepage.
At Trellis we have seen organic conversion increases anywhere from single digit numbers to 30% after a full scale structured data audit and implementation. When you’re talking about page visits in the high hundreds or thousands that can translate into a big amount of revenue gained.
A little about the author Justin Whitaker: Justin is the Director of Marketing at Trellis and has over 15 years of digital marketing and strategy. He is an expert in technical strategy, AD management, and SEO. Have more questions about structured data or strategy, please feel free to email Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org