How structured data makes you easier to find organically?
Google’s search results page is constantly changing. For a long time there were advertisements on the right side of the search results, but last year Google made big changes. These changes make it more difficult to be found organically. But did you know that Google (together with other major online parties) also ensures that you can become more relevant in the free (organic) search results? And that only a few websites make use of these possibilities?
In this article, I will explain how you become more relevant, take up more space in the search results, increase your CTR and at the same time gain an advantage over your competitors. I’m going to talk about structured data.
Nowadays, the top search results are dominated by ads (sometimes as many as four), which also take up a lot of space due to all the ad extensions and the new extensive advertising forms. As you can see below, this causes the organic search results to be pushed down sharply.
What is structured data?
By default, a search result (snippet) consists of the following elements:
- a header or title (the title tag)
- a visible URL
- a description (the meta description)
Of course, you can already do fun things with this to clearly distinguish yourself from your competitors, but more is possible. Take a look at this example:
You can see a lot more than just the standard result.
This is also called the rich snippet. The standard search result, in this case, is extended with:
- Reviews in stars and the number of reviews
- number of minutes you need to prepare a recipe
In order to get such a result, structured data was used. This is extra code that you add to your web pages, to communicate directly with Google (and for example Bing, Facebook, etc.). This helps search engines to determine even better what your web page is about. In fact, it is a form of metadata. By using this strategically, you can become very relevant.
As you can probably imagine, there is an infinite number of ways to use this as a company.
Imagine, for example, what it would mean for your organic traffic if the following things were already directly visible in the search results:
- your logo
- your address details
- your opening hours
- your social media icons
- the type of services you offer
And for e-commerce sites:
- your product images
- your product prices
- your delivery time
- your product reviews (including the number of reviews)
First of all, you offer your potential customers, even before they are on your website, all the information they want to know (and possibly even more). This makes you highly relevant, which will result in very relevant traffic on your website.
Secondly, your result takes up a lot more space on the results page, so there is less room for your competition.
Thirdly, you’ll notice that, because you’re more relevant, your click-through ratio increases, which ultimately results in a higher position.
And fourthly (perhaps the most important one at the time of writing): your competition is probably not working on it yet, so you’ll get an immediate head start!
When shouldn’t you use structured data?
If you want to see quick results and score fast. Structured data is not meant for that. You should see it as an extra tool to tell Google what your web page is about. So it is and remains important that you create relevant content for your target group. If you do that, structured data can help you to communicate that to Google.
How do you use structured data?
There are several possibilities to implement structured data. For example, you have multiple mark-up languages that you can use, you can include it in your HTML code or just above or below it. You can add it manually, via plugins and via Google Tag Manager. The most important thing is that you provide each page with the metadata that is relevant.