Google SEO Hot Tips On Structured Data
Google SEO for website owners and SEO agencies include offering detailed advice on a whole host of areas. The company gives plenty of information on how you can make your website more useful for potential viewers through reliable Google SEO services. However, some of the most important SEO tips are centred not on how to construct great content or easy to read pages for your target audiences, but on ensuring that the search engine can properly identify, crawl and index your webpages in the first place. Your website won’t rank highly in Google’s search results if your pages can’t be properly assessed for their quality. And this is where the concept of structured data comes in.
Broadly speaking, structured data refers to data that is organised in order to communicate specific information about a web page. This makes it easier for a search engine’s automated processes to ‘read’ a page, identify what it’s all about, assess it for quality and then present it to your website readers in a more specific, richer way. That means the end user is more likely to get the results they are actually looking for when they enter search terms on Google, thus enhancing the quantity and quality of traffic you attract to your website. In short, it helps boost website ranking in Google and allows your page to be shown as one of the most relevant results in Google search.
There are other forms of structured data that can change the HTML of a webpage, but JSON-LD is different. It is completely independent of the HTML and allows SEO experts to place it anywhere in a web page’s code. This means that JSON-LD can be placed at the head section of the webpage, the middle of the content, or even in the footer.
This advantage, and Google’s preference for it, means it’s in the best interests of any webmaster or professional SEO firm to gain a better understanding of JSON-LD structured data. There are two main aspects: the structured data Type and the Property.
Schema structured data contains one or several Types in a JSON-LD script, with each Type having its own Properties. So you can imagine the Type as a specific item (like a T-shirt you’re selling, for instance), while the Property can be imagined as the attributes that describe that item (like its size, colour and so on).
To use a further analogy, think of Type as a person. A person possesses attributes that describe them, such as their age, address, job status, educational level, and so on. So, by locating the phrase “Structured Data Type”, search engines can instantly understand what the structured data is all about.
There is a unique way of naming items in structured data. Take the following examples:
The way SEO agencies and website owners capitalise the first letter of each Type is called PascalCase. That means making use of compound words; that is, two words joined together with the first letters of each word capitalised. By using PascalCase, SEO experts and search engines alike will instantly know that a word configured in this way – such as NewsArticle – is a structured data Type.
Structured data Property is spelt differently. Instead of using the PascalCase, the Property is described by using camelCase. The camelCase style refers to writing the first letter of the first word in lower case while capitalising the first letter of the second word when naming compound Properties; again, which are two words joined together.
If, though, the structured data Property is only constituted of one word, the first letter should still be written in lowercase. So, for instance, a compound Property will be written as “articleBody” while a single-word Property will be written as “image”.
To understand structured data more, you can review the different Schema.org Types. You can also download the Schema Builder, a Chrome extension from Schema.dev.
Although the concept of structured data may seem easier once you have a better understanding of it, and all the code you need to use is available on the schema.org website, hiring professional SEO services can still be desirable for many website owners. Working with a professional SEO agency will give you access to their many years of experience and expertise, and they can implement the right code in all the right places. Google will then be better able to understand your website and score it appropriately to enhance your website ranking in Google while leaving you freer to focus on your business operations.
An Example: Structured Data For Local SEO
Many small business owners in particular can take advantage of structured data to help search engines read and pick up on information that’s vital to the target audiences in their locations, such as phone numbers, addresses, dates of upcoming events and so on.
The broad-brush approach is to consult the schema.org website to find the required schema data type – whether that’s a restaurant, a retail outlet, a doctors’ surgery or a solicitors’ office, for instance. Then, gather the local information related to the page you wish to include, and copy the relevant code for each property according to type, so the company name, the company website, the company phone number and so on. Apply the code to the relevant places, then test it with Google’s Structured Data Testing tool.
You can then crawl and test the entirety of your schema markup through Google’s Search Console, but it’s worth continuing to monitor all the changes you’ve applied on an ongoing basis with entity results reporting.
Note you should further enhance your web presence, your ranking and the ease with which prospective customers can find you by ensuring you claim your location through Google Places SEO services, and use Google Maps SEO services to make certain you are, quite literally, ‘on the map’ when users search for services of your type in their local area.
If all this sounds extremely time-consuming, it’s well worth hiring the services of an affordable SEO agency to do the job for you. The price you pay will be amply offset over time in terms of your increased visibility, increased traffic, and actual footfall, in your locality.
When Structured Data Is Not Necessary
In a Google Webmaster Hangout in 2019, John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, confirmed that it is perfectly acceptable not to include structured data in the AMP version of your website. However, he reminded all Google SEO optimisation services and webmasters that the content’s desktop and AMP versions should still match.
AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages are an alternate version of a webpage’s content which is designed to offer a better user experience to individuals viewing a website on a mobile device, which more and more of us are doing these days. One of the advantages of AMP pages is that they can be downloaded quickly, because (broadly speaking) they use a stripped-down version of HTML. But one of the key important things to remember about AMP pages is that they must have the same content as the regular version of the web page, so the end user sees the same content, no matter which of the two versions they’re looking at.
This makes perfect sense, because structured data is meta data, which is designed to be used by search engine bots and browsers, but is typically hidden from users. The only exceptions to this are meta titles and descriptions. So if structured data is missing from AMP versions, it won’t cause the whole site to be downgraded in Google’s eyes, provided that everything in the content, navigation, and internal linking is equivalent to the regular version. Again, it’s time to speak to a trusted SEO agency that offers an expert Google SEO service if you’re having problems getting your head around the difference.
Google Tag Manager is a platform that allows you to format the tags on your website without editing the code. Here are the steps for adding Google structured data via Tag Manager:
- First, install Google Tag Manager on your website.
- Then, add a new Custom HTML tag to the container.
- Next, paste the preferred structured data block to the tag content.
- Then, install the container as seen in the Install Google Tag Manager section of your container’s admin menu.
- To include the tag on your website, publish your container in the Google Tag Manager interface.
- Finally, test your implementation.
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