Many webmasters and search engine gurus have been asking the same questions about structured data recently. Does structured data affect your search engine rankings? And if it does, how?
It is important to find the right partner before embarking on an SEO journey. Agencies like Parxavenue’s Web Design Services, who enjoy tackling all the questions about the web, through taking the time to provide an answer by scrutinizing this topic can help clients and users understand the impact of structured data on their search engine rankings.
So where did it all start?
Once upon a time in the digital age, having an online presence as a business or individual was enough to bring in the sales and connections. But as many businesses got online, the competition as to who gets to the first page of search engines became scarier, giving birth to search engine optimization.
But Search Engine Optimization doesn’t come alone. There are many strings attached to SEO, including local, international, and industry specific tactics. Getting a better ranking on search engines through SEO is dependent, to a large extent, on the richness of the information you feed the search engines about your website or page – and that’s where Structured Data comes in. But before we go into how it affects your search engine rankings, let’s understand what it is.
So what is Structured Data?
Whenever you enter a search term into your search engine, you are greeted with the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The information that comes along with a website’s description, including office working hours, the pricing, location, and sometimes, customer reviews or ratings, represents Structured Data. It is also referred to as the schema markup and normally appears in the form of a snippet.
So how does Structured Data affect your rankings on Search Engine Pages?
, there is no direct relationship between your search engine rankings and your website’s structured data. Though we might take Google’s word for it, what about the indirect relationship that exists between rankings and structured data? Let’s explore this relationship further.
This is what John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google had to say when asked on Twitter about whether Structured Data impacts search engine rankings or not:
“There’s no generic ranking boost for SD usage. That’s the same as far as I remember. However, SD can make it easier to understand what the page is about, which can make it easier to show where it’s relevant (improves targeting, maybe ranking for the right terms)…”
As with all search engine optimization and ranking strategies, there is no one size fit all. Pointing a direct effect of structured data to your search engine rankings might be difficult. Nevertheless, it has an impact on how your pages compete with other pages on search engines. Here’s how:
Structured data gives context to your website content – thus it increases the level at which search engines understand your webpage or website’s content. Being able to put your content in context through structured data, search engines would know exactly when to show your content when search queries are entered by visitors. Technically, not only will this structured data help search engines to give relevance to your site, it will help your site’s rankings as well.
At the end of the search engine-website-ranking battle, the final goal for either party is to satisfy the user. Online users basically scan through a search engine’s page to find what they want and leave as soon as possible. When a site has a well-built structured data, which also makes it more understandable to search engines, users will be able to see basic information of a website through these snippets: contact information, location, and reviews. This reduces the search efforts of visitors as they can easily find what they want. Apart from increasing user experience, structured data also tells search engines how trustworthy your website is and in the long run, helps in website rankings.
For small businesses, especially those who are location-dependent, adding structured data that includes a location, contact information, an address, reviews, and probably a map snippet would help newcomers in locating places easily. This also increases a website’s ranking for local searches in their respective niches.
Putting your site on the first page of a search engine isn’t dependent on a single tactic and varies from industry to industry, niche to niche, and from site to site. Making sure that your site has a clearly defined data structure will spice up your ranking and put you in front of visitors, locally and internationally.