Structured data

As a business, you have to deal with an incredible amount of information about all kinds of things. It is therefore important to subdivide these things into both structured data and unstructured data. What is structured data and what use is it to you? On this page, I explain this to you.

What is structured data?

Structured data is stored data in a database. It is easy to process and interpret. This is the opposite of unstructured data: data that does not follow a specific format.(1)

The forms of structured data

There are many different types of structured data you can add to your Web site to help search engines understand what your pages are about and what information is on them. Here are some examples:

  1. Reviews: structured data for reviews includes information such as the name of the reviewer, the rating (e.g., 4/5 stars), the date of the review, and the text of the review itself. This can help search engines understand the relevance of your pages and display them in search results with reviews. (2)
  1. Recipes: structured data for recipes includes information such as ingredients, preparation method, nutritional value, cooking time and type of cuisine. This can help search engines understand what is in your recipe and display it in recipe search results.(3)
  1. Events: structured data for events includes information such as the date, time, location, ticket price, artists or speakers and a description of the event. This can help search engines understand what events are happening and display them in event search results.(4)
  1. Products: structured data for products includes information such as the name, description, price, brand, availability and reviews. This can help search engines understand what kind of products you sell and display them in product search results.(5)
  1. Organizations: structured data for organizations includes information such as the name, address, contact information, logo and a description of the organization. This can help search engines understand what kind of organization you are and display it in search results with businesses or organizations.(6)

These are just a few examples of structured data you can add to your website. There are many other types of structured data available, depending on the content and purpose of your website.

For which websites is structured data (Reviews) of interest?

Structured data for reviews is especially interesting for Web sites that sell products or services and display customer reviews. This could include web shops, restaurants, hotels, travel agencies, bookstores, electronics stores and more.

By adding structured data for reviews to these websites, search engines can better understand what products or services are offered and what ratings customers have given. This allows search engines to display this information in search results with reviews. This can help potential customers make decisions and can help improve website visibility and reputation.

Moreover, structured data for reviews can also help improve search engine optimization (SEO) of the website because search engines use structured data to assess the relevance and quality of a website’s content. Adding structured data for reviews can therefore contribute to a higher ranking in search results and thus increased traffic to the website.

How does structured data affect CTR?

Structured data can have a positive impact on a website’s Click-Through Rate (CTR). By adding structured data to a page, search engines can display additional information in search results, such as reviews, prices, images, star ratings, and so on.

This additional information can attract potential visitors and help them make better decisions about which results to click. For example, if a search result includes additional information about a product’s reviews, this may encourage people to click on these results earlier compared to results without this information.

There is also research showing that search results with structured data have a higher CTR than results without structured data. This is because the additional information displayed in search results better communicates the relevance and quality of the page to potential visitors, making them more likely to click on these results.

However, it is important to note that structured data is only one factor that can affect a website’s CTR. Other factors, such as page title and meta description, also play an important role in attracting potential visitors and improving a website’s CTR.

Does it also directly affect your position in Google?

Structured data does not directly affect a website’s position in Google. However, using structured data does have indirect benefits that can contribute to better ranking in search results.

First, using structured data can improve the relevance and quality of a Web site’s content because it helps search engines better understand what a page is about. If a page contains clear and accurate structured data that corresponds to the content of the page, it can contribute to better ranking in search results for related searches.

Second, using structured data can increase a Web site’s visibility by displaying additional information in search results. This additional information can attract potential visitors and encourage them to click on the link, which can contribute to a higher CTR and indirectly lead to a higher ranking.

Third, using structured data can contribute to a better user experience because it can improve the presentation of content on a page and help visitors understand the information more quickly and easily. This can contribute to better visitor engagement and satisfaction, which in turn can contribute to better ranking in search results.

So while structured data does not directly affect a website’s ranking in Google, it can indirectly contribute to better rankings by improving a website’s relevance, visibility and user experience.

The forms of structured data and its impact on SEO

Type of Structured DataImpact on Google PositionPriority
1. FAQ ScheduleThis can help generate a comprehensive FAQ-rich snippet in Google search results.Medium
2. Review/Rating ScheduleThis can help display star ratings in search results, which can contribute to a higher click-through-rate (CTR).High
3. Product ScheduleFor e-commerce Web sites, this can help display product information directly in search results, such as price, availability, and reviews.High
4. Recipe ScheduleFor recipe websites, this can help display cooking time, ingredients, and ratings directly in search results.Medium
5. Event ScheduleThis can help show event information such as dates, locations and ticket information directly in search results.Medium
6. Organization ScheduleThis can help show organization information such as logo, contact information, and location in search results.High
7. Person ScheduleFor personal brands or celebrities, this can help display information such as occupation, colleagues and contact information.Low
8. Local Business ScheduleFor local businesses, this can help show information such as opening hours, location, and reviews.High
9. Article or BlogPosting Schedule.This can help improve the visibility of news articles or blog posts in search results and in Google News.Medium
10. Video ScheduleThis can help show video previews, duration, and descriptions directly in search results.Medium

Three examples

Below I show three examples of structured data written for RalfvanVeen.com.

An example (Organization) for RalfvanVeen.com

{

“@context”: “https://schema.org”,

“@type”: “Organization”,

“name”: “Ralf van Veen”,

“url”: “https://www.ralfvanveen.com”

“logo”: “https://www.ralfvanveen.com/logo.png”,

“description”: “Ralf van Veen is an expert in SEO and helps companies improve their online presence.”,

“contactPoint”: {

“@type”: “ContactPoint”,

“telephone”: “+316-23969957”,

“contactType”: “customer service”

  },

“sameAs”: [

“https://www.facebook.com/ralfvanveen”,

“https://twitter.com/ralfvanveen”,

“https://www.linkedin.com/in/ralfvanveen”

  ]

}

An example (FAQ) for RalfvanVeen.com

{

“@context”: “https://schema.org”,

“@type”: “FAQPage”,

“mainEntity”: [

    {

“@type”: “Question”,

“name”: “What is SEO?”,

“acceptedAnswer”: {

“@type”: “Answer”,

“text”: “SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, or search engine optimization. It is the process of optimizing a website to rank higher in the organic (non-paid) search results of search engines such as Google.”

      }

    },

    {

“@type”: “Question”,

“name”: “How does SEO work?”,

“acceptedAnswer”: {

“@type”: “Answer”,

“text”: “SEO works by optimizing various elements on a website, including content, structure, technology and backlinks. By optimizing these elements and meeting search engine guidelines, a website can rank higher in search results.”

      }

    },

    {

“@type”: “Question”,

“name”: “What are backlinks?”,

“acceptedAnswer”: {

“@type”: “Answer”,

“text”: “Backlinks are links from other websites that point to your website. They are considered an important ranking factor in SEO because they indicate that other websites find your content relevant and valuable.”

      }

    }

  ]

}

A sample (Reviews) for RalfvanVeen.com

{

“@context”: “https://schema.org/”,

“@type”: “Product”,

“name”: “Example product”,

“description”: “This is a sample product with 71 ratings of 5/5,

“aggregateRating”: {

“@type”: “AggregateRating”,

“ratingValue”: “5”,

“bestRating”: “5”,

“worstRating”: “1”,

“ratingCount”: “71”

  }

}

Data generation by people and machines

Structured data refers to data captured within a file. This information is not only well organized, but also analyzed and entered in a proper way. It is therefore easy to retrieve this data. Among other things, programming language SQL makes it possible to manage this data. Both humans and machines produce structured data:

  • Human generated data: this includes entering data from people onto a computer
  • Machine generated data: this includes sensor data, weblog data from servers and applications and more.

The impact of structured data on SEO

Structured data does not directly impact the SEO of a website or page. It does provide a company with potentially interesting information about customers; in addition, this data often allows you to understand consumer behavior a lot better. Without this data, it is difficult to gain knowledge and insight. Therefore, with structured data, it is more possible to make certain decisions and changes to achieve better results.

My advice

I recommend using both structured data and unstructured data. It not only provides very interesting knowledge, but also ensures that you make certain valuable changes that will help you achieve better results. No knowledge about data and everything related to it? It is always possible to take a course or hire a professional with the right knowledge on the subject. That way, you yourself will know much better how to handle such information.

Resources

  1. Intro to How Structured Data Markup Works | Google Search Central | Documentation | Google for Developers. (2018c, March 10). Google For Developers. https://developers.google.com/search/docs/appearance/structured-data/intro-structured-data
  2. Review Snippet (Review, AggregateRating) Structured Data | Google Search Central | Documentation | Google for Developers. (s.d.-c). Google For Developers. https://developers.google.com/search/docs/appearance/structured-data/review-snippet
  3. Recipe Schema Markup | Google Search Central | Documentation | Google for Developers. (2018b, March 10). Google For Developers. https://developers.google.com/search/docs/appearance/structured-data/recipe
  4. Learn About Google Event Schema Markup | Google Search Central | Documentation | Google for Developers. (s.d.-b). Google For Developers. https://developers.google.com/search/docs/appearance/structured-data/event
  5. How To Add Product Structured Data | Google Search Central | Documentation | Google for Developers. (s.d.-b). Google For Developers. https://developers.google.com/search/docs/appearance/structured-data/product
  6. Organization Schema Markup | Google Search Central | Documentation | Google for Developers. (s.d.). Google For Developers. https://developers.google.com/search/docs/appearance/structured-data/organization

Frequently Asked Questions

What is structured data?

Structured data is called (a more familiar term) structured data. Structured data is used by SEO specialists to name certain parts of a website toward Google. This essentially allows Google to communicate with website owners and gain clarity on parts of this website.

What is the impact of structured data on SEO?

Structured data is not directly relevant to SEO. But it can help you better understand consumer behavior. It can help you make changes so you get better results.

What are the benefits of structured data?

As an SEO specialist, I use structured data, as this allows me to name certain parts of a website towards Google. You could think of it as allowing Google to communicate with website owners in this way. This will also clarify various parts of the site. It is important to learn more about this yourself.

In fact, this data allows you to better understand consumer behavior. When making changes, it is also helpful to then respond to this in turn. Better results can also be achieved in this way again. When looking at long-term goals and SEO, structured data is very useful.

The better you know what consumers want and do, the better you can respond. There are several ways to do this and it is important that you take advantage of them. As an SEO specialist, I can help you with that, and you can also completely outsource it to me. I am at your service and can provide you with customized advice and also perform all the work that is needed for you.

Does structured data help me better understand my customers?

For SEO, structured data is not of immediate importance. However, it can help you better understand consumer behavior this way. If you need to make changes it can help you I know from experience. This allows you to get better results. If you know how that makes customers think, it affects the process of making changes.

So to answer the question, yes the structured data will help you understand your customers better. The better you can respond and empathize with the customers, the better this is going to be for your search engine findability. But not only that, customers will feel better understood by you if you start responding to what they want, what concerns them.

So you can see that structured data is of great importance for seeing customer behavior. So you got more out of it that you probably thought before. I can also further help you work out all the data and areas for improvement.

Do I need a specialist to work with structured data?

If you have no knowledge of structured data yourself, seek advice from an SEO specialist or take a course. Then it just depends on what you like better. If you feel you can learn it yourself then it may make sense to sign up for a course. Then you can then apply what you have learned in practice.

However, if you find that it takes too much time or that you are not interested, then it is a good idea to outsource it and an SEO specialist can work out the data for you. You could also approach me for advice and then work it out yourself, that’s entirely up to you. But from experience, I can tell that most people approach me for explanations and making changes.

Sometimes it just takes a little more specialized knowledge, and then it’s nice when SEO specialists like me exist. Take advantage of this too because I’m here for you too.

How can I collect structured data with my website?

The structured data can give a company interesting information about customers. By using the data, you can also better understand consumer behavior and thus respond accordingly. You can easily organize, analyze, enter and retrieve the structured data. It is usually managed with the SQL programming language. This is designed to manage and retrieve data.

There are plenty of ways to collect structured data from your website, you have special programs for that and you need to know how that works. Therefore, the advice is to hire a specialist to do it for you if you do not have the necessary knowledge. Possibly you could take a course in which you can learn it, but you should only do that if your interest lies there.

The structured data of the website can be quickly collected by an SEO specialist and then everything can be worked out further as well. Clear points emerge from it that are sure to be helpful in further optimizing the website.

What tools are available to incorporate structured data?

Structured data is all the data stored in the database. This can be easily processed and then you can interpret it. So in this, the data is captured within a file. The data can be queried using, for example, the SQL programming language, this way you can also manage the data. But then there is unstructured data, there is no set format for that.

There are other tools available to handle structured data, but everyone will do it in his or her own way. Therefore, you need to see which tool fits your needs and capabilities. You may even prefer not to get involved and outsource the work to an SEO specialist.

This is also a possibility, of course, and I would be happy to explain to you what the possibilities are in this. I can also explain what tool I use and what I can do for you with this information. If you want to know more about that you can contact me directly for that.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 75 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 19 April 2024. The last update of this article was on 19 April 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.