Structured Information or Structured Data is code used by SEOs and Webmasters to highlight or annotate important machine-readable facts embedded in HTML code that describe a webpage.
The creation of quality Structured Data that clearly describes the content on a webpage enables Search Engines to collect and index information for later retrieval and present information in Search Engine Results Pages to Search Engine Users in the most pertinent and meaningful way.
In the past, headings in the form of title and description helped Search Engines with this process, but in our brave new world where the highest quality Search Results rule, Google and other Search Engines prefer the use of quality Structured Data to help them both index and present your ideas.
Using HTML 5 code or Microdata, you can annotate content with machine-readable labels in order to communicate your ideas with non-human website visitors.
I am not going tell you that Structured Information is the new holy grail of SEO that will boost your organic search traffic. I have not seen that happen. I will not have quantifiable research data until the end of 2013.
However, please take note that all major search engines collaborated as schema.org to develop a standard mark-up vocabulary to help them index pages and deliver better Search Results to Search Engine Users.
Taken from the schema.org website:
‘’schema.org is a collaboration by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! to improve the web by creating a structured data markup schema supported by major search engines. On-page markup helps search engines understand the information on webpages and provide richer results. A shared markup vocabulary makes it easier for webmasters to decide on a markup schema and get maximum benefit for their efforts.’’
Google states that use of Structured Information or rich snippets of information that describes what is on your webpage may equal more traffic.
Search Engine Marketing People manage websites that provide information rich Microdata and others that use Google’s own Webmaster Tools to add Structured Data. I see no appreciable change in those websites’ rankings even post Google’s Hummingbird update that I can clearly attribute to Structured Information.
Some clients opted to make their own updates due to cost (and of course many failed) and Google did not penalize their websites – so far. Their sites with typical Meta titles, descriptions and keywords are still ranking well.
You may already know how search engines collect information from your webpages – if not – we explain how search engines work in an earlier fact sheet.
My advice, to save time and resource, is to add your ‘’Rich Snippets’’ to your HTML code.
My team use MICRODATA.
MICRODATA is HTML5 markup language used for structuring and presenting content for the World Wide Web. Think of it like this – Microdata as a machine-readable summary statement that tells Search Engines exactly what a webpage seeks to communicate.
I am not going to describe how to add Microdata to code your webpages with Structured Information – however, I do have a fact-page to send you if you would like more information. If you would like to discuss the use of Microdata and Structured Data on your website I am happy to discuss your requirements and invite you to contact me – email@example.com.
However, if you are a non-technical webmaster and want to learn more about the use of Rich Information Snippets, I highly recommend you read – Google’s Structured Information recommendations May 2013
Google wants to understand exactly what your website’s content is all about. Why – to present your content how you intended and deliver the best possible search results to its users.
In May 2013, Google made recommendations to Webmasters about using their online tool to help Google understand and present your content accurately and attractively to users.
Webmasters would be crazy to ignore this extremely valuable insight.
Google launched Data Highlighter in December 2012. This simple point-and-click tool enables Webmasters to provide detailed instructions on what a webpage is about and how Google might presents data — without even having to edit your site’s HTML.
What Google said, ‘’For example, our algorithms can enhance your search results with “rich snippets” when we understand that your page is a structured product listing, event, recipe, review, or similar. We can also feature your data in Knowledge Graph panels or in Google Now cards, helping to spread the word about your content.’’
I strongly suggest that Webmasters take a careful look at Google’s Data Highlighter and Structured Data Markup Helper.
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