Structured Data

Structured Data is a standardised format for providing machine-readable information about a page and classifying the page content. There are various vocabularies (viz. schema.org, data-vocabulary.org, and more) and various formats (viz. JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa). And even for the same vocabulary and format, different providers could have their own recommendations for implementation.

Structured Data Formats

Most SEs support follow the schema.org vocabulary for Structured Data and support following formats: –

JSON-LD

JavaScript Object Notation – Linked Data is based on widely adopted JSON format, and is the most popular format. It wraps a JSON object in ‘<script>’ tag. JSON is the widely preferred means of data exchange used in web development features such as AJAX & API and allows nesting, appending items in array, and more. For large sites managed using Content Management Systems (CMS), this makes it possible to automate the page creation including embedded JSON-LD based Structured Data.

Microdata

HTML specification that defines HTML attributes to embed machine-related data in HTML documents. This however has limitation of internationalization and is generally less expressive compared to other two formats and hence is not the preferred format for Technical SEO.

RDFa

Resource Description Framework (RDF) in attributes is an HTML5 specification consisting of attributes that maybe used to express machine-readable data in Web Documents like HTML, SVG, and XML. And like Microdata, it is an inline markup syntax.

Google and Structured Data

Google looks are Structured Data for both – better understanding the intended content of your web page as well as for its Rich Results feature on search page. And Google prefers a JSON-LD format in schema.org vocabulary.

To be eligible for your web content to be displayed on the Google Rich Results, webmasters need to follow structured data guidelines by Google. Having a structured data does not ensure the same being displayed on Google SERP. Also, Google might display rich results based on content other than structured data. However, incorporating SD in your web page content vastly improves the odd of better page rank as well as rich result display.

Google provide following tools for Structured Data: –

  • Rich Results Test to test publicly accessible page to see which rich results can be generated by the structured data it contains.
  • Structured Data Testing Tool to validate structured data syntax for any publicly accessible url.

Structured Data for WordPress sites

Structured Data is not natively included in the WordPress core. However there are many SEO plugins that help implement this functionality. For larger sites, and for sites with niche content, custom implementation of custom post types (CPTs) with JSON-LD will be critical for Technical SEO boost.

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