Using Structured Data and Rich Snippets for Rich Results

Have you noticed how some search results have become more advanced – displaying more information and interactive features for certain search results – like reviews, recipes, prices, shop products, search, featured pages/videos, top stories, etc? Those results are called Rich Results and they are driven by something called structured data that provides “explicit clues about the meaning of a page to Google”. Just keep in mind that even though you might implement structured data, Google still decides whether it will be displayed on your search result listing or not; and even though it might not ensure better rankings or traffic, it does indirectly make your site a better search result which means over time that could positively impact your optimization.

See below listing of a rich snippet for a recipe listing:

rich snippet recipe review example

Structured data rich snippet example of a cooking recipe with reviews, cooking time, and calories.

What is Structured Data?

Structured Data is data that is added to a website to make it easier for search engines to understand using a taxonomy of code called Schema.org which provides pre-determined tags and properties to mark up websites. To implement that mark up, JSON-LD is the programming language that gets embedded directly into the HTML of your pages. JSON-LD is a JavaScript-based coding format that is better understood by both humans and machines. It is also Google’s preferred method of adding Structured Data to your website. (The previous coding formats were RFDa and Microdata, but those formats were inefficient and error-prone.)

By correctly implementing Structured Data, search engines gain a better understanding of what is on your website. As a result, Google could present your listings in an enhanced way in search results in the form of Rich Snippets, Rich Cards, and Knowledge Graphs. However, if done incorrectly, you could end up with a penalty; so we strongly recommend you hire a developer to handle this task.

Examples of Rich Results

See below example of all three types of rich results and their explanations below that:

structured data rich results exampleRich Snippets: These are the additional lines of information underneath search results; often consisting of breadcrumbs, product information, prices or reviews.

Rich Cards: Present themselves in a carousel or a vertical three-pack like the Top Stories section in search results (examples could be recipes, movies/videos, articles, shop products, etc). Although AMP is not necessary to get this type of rich result, if you do add it to the equation you can get even more interactive features on mobile. [refer to AMP post]

Knowledge Graphs: The big block of information on the right-hand side in Google. In order to be considered for the Knowledge Graph, you must have a validated company or be an authority on a certain subject. This block may show your name, logo, social media profiles and more.

How to implement Structured Data and who should use it?

Before you add structured data, you must first have a good foundation for a website which includes a responsive mobile-friendly site with quality keyword research, strong keyword architecture, and optimized keyword-friendly content. Once that is done, you can then use structured data to mark up important elements of your site to make it easier for Google to understand what it is all about. And don’t forget to register your site with Google Search Console and Google My Business, so that you can take advantage of performance reporting and manage your business information.

  • For businesses, structured data is good for displaying more business details, sitemap, services, social profiles, reviews, and local SEO.
  • For eCommerce, it would be wise to use Product Schema.org to mark up product data with pricing, reviews, availability and images.
  • For blogs and news sites, it is helpful for marking up articles with dates and authors.
  • For restaurants/chefs, movie theaters, and educational courses, it is helpful for marking up recipe (reviews, cooking times, calories), showtimes, and course information, etc.

Basic WordPress Plugins that Aid in Structured Data Implementation:

  • Yoast SEO plugin (FREE) Adds information about your site search, your site name, your logo and your social profiles to your web pages using the Google-preferred JSON-LD coding.
  • Local SEO plugin ($69/year) Marks up your local business or organization so that customers not only find you based on specific searches, but also in searches based upon their current location. However, a developer can add this code manually to your site to avoid this ongoing fee. See our Local SEO Package

To implement more advanced structured data you must contact a developer. Contact Us »

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