When it comes to the SEO of the website most webmaster focuses on having targeted keywords in the title, description and the content of the page, which is a must need thing to do. Also some spend a lot of time and money on building backlink for their website, which is a complete waste of time and money. But one thing most webmasters and SEO analysts often miss is the importance of Microdata instead spend more time on other things.
Structured Data or Microdata is actually a way to represent what kind of data is present on a particular page of a website. You can see the list of different kind of structured data or microdata list at the official site Schema.org. Now, let’s say you have a blog where you post your articles. After adding structured data to your individual article page you are actually saying the search engines which exact part of that page represents the post title, which part represent the whole article, who is the author of the post, which part of your page represents the breadcrumbs etc.
Now if you have an eCommerce website, you might wanna structure your product page with the details like which section of text represent the product name, product brand, SKU ID, average review, number of people reviewed the item and many other thing.
Why should you care about microdata?
Most people often ask that as their site is running smoothly for years without microdata why they should bother to add these microdata on their site. It’s not something that users can see on that page. But the question they forget to ask is how they can improve the search engine experience for their website.
As we all know that Google (the search engine that almost everyone use) has more than 200 factors in their search algorithm which decides the position of your website on the search page. Now obviously proper page title and description is the most important thing, but one of those ranking factor also includes how well the content of the page has been structured. If you do not use microdata on your website when Googlebot will crawl, it has to decide everything by itself and many times it can lead to wrong information on the search result (like wrong title, description etc.).
But if you use structured data Googlebotr will have the exact idea what part of your website represent what thing and in return googlebot will give higher SEO score to your website and in the end you site will be listed within the first few pages of Google search.
Does it really improve SEO?
Yes, of course it does. Don’t believe me? Well here is a real life example. If you ever visited the Genesis Framework website, you would have seen that they claims to improve your website SEO tremendously if you use genesis framework for your website design. Also you will find a lot of reviews on the web saying that how easily Genesis Framework themes for WordPress helped them to improve their search presence and SEO.
But a very few people ask that how do they do it? Besides giving the place to customize your page title and descript what more does it have? Well, the answer is structured data or microdata. You can use plugins like Yoast SEO to add the page title, description customizability but it doesn’t add any microdata to your site.
This is where Genesis themes gets the boost. If you create a website using Genesis Framework every single page you will create will have the structured data added to it by default. Though it is not perfect every time, but in most time it does this and this is where Genesis based websites gets their SEO boost.
I’ve been using structured data on my website for years now and I’ve seen tremendous improvement in terms of search presence and click through rate. It has almost increased about 400% compared to my earlier site that doesn’t had microdata in it.
How to add these Microdata/Structured Data?
Well, this is the hard part, there is no such plugin exist to add microdata in your website just by one click and the reason bind that is every site is different and has different kind of data in it. So, one set of microdata which might be perfect for my website is not necessarily mean that it will be perfect for your website too.
Though there are certain themes for CMS like WordPress which comes with preloaded microdata, but still it is not always perfect for all website. The reason behind that is these themes often use some generalized microdata, but if you add your microdata manually within your theme’s code, you have the chance to use much more exact microdata that is perfect for your business or site niche.
I know, it’s really hard to do this if you are not well familiar with programming and that is why Google has made a Structured Data Markup Helper website which will give you a very basic idea how to add microdata in your website and what things you should add in your existing code. The website is very simple, you just provide the URL of your existing page and then mark what section represent what and it will show you the section where you need to add your code. Here is a brief video showing what is microdata and how you can add it in your site. I hope it will give you the basic idea about using microdata in your site.
Structured data can be added in two ways in any website:
- Adding Markup to the HTML
- Adding Markup as JSON format
But you must keep in mind that Google always prefer the HTML based microdata and for a hand-few number of cases it actually supports the JSON based microdata. Google is expanding their structured data support and in very near future it will support both of them for all scenarios.
But if you are still confused and don’t wanna get into all this trouble, here are two best option I can give you:
- Get themes which already preloaded with Structured Data Markup properly, like Genesis Frameork, Divi Themes Microdata.
- Hire a developer to edit your existing theme to add appropriate structured data in it.
I’m really sorry that I do not have any better option to add microdata in your website at the easy way, because it isn’t easy at all.
What extra benefit will I have with microdata?
If you have a blog kind of website then the only visual change you might see is showing your website breadcrumb in the search result instead of the whole link and may be showing the date on which it has been posted and if it is a review post, Google will show up your review stars along with the reviewer name (these are called Rich Snippets). That’s it, for general blog and article based website you will not see any more visual changes to your search result besides the fact your site SEO is now boosted a lot and it shows up at the beginning pages of Google search.
But if you have an eCommece based website, you can show up a lot of things in the search result itself besides the product name, description and breadcrumb if you add all microdata properly at the proper place. An eCommerce site with properly added microdata can show up the product review, number of reviews, in stock details and even brand names (these are called Rich Snippets). It’s pretty cool and trust me all this changes to your search result increases a lot click-through rate to your website.
If you don’t trust me, ask yourself if you search for anything on Google at it returns 10 search result, and 3 of it has some review star rich snippet showing on it, which one will you click? The answer is the one which is showing the cool rich snippet. And this is the same for other too because this is how human psychology works.
How to test if Structured Data is working properly?
After you implement structured data in your website you must test every single of your site to make sure your microdata markup does not have any errors in it. Those microdata doesn’t look like any programming language but it has a proper order of category and subcategory which you must maintain always.
You cannot add anything you want under any markup category, every mother category support a list of child category, so you must have to choose from them. You will get more details about microdata and it’s listing at the official website Schema.org.
Now it’s time to test your microdata. Visit Google Structured Data Testing Tool and fetch the URL that you wanna test. On the right hand site the tool will show you the list of structured data that Googlebot has identified and if any of them contain any error. This is really useful to check if everything is working fine and to debug microdata issues.
If you have spent tons of money to various SEO agencies scaring you with you have wrong title, description or maybe you need more back links – these kind of stuffs, take a step back and spend that money on adding structured data support to your website. In near future this is going to be a very important thing in terms of SEO. As in this current time only Google takes advantage of structured data, but in very near future search engines like Bing, Yahoo will also implement it. And trust me when I say it, structured data can boost your website SEO and search presence hugely.
So, have you ever thought have microdata or structured data are so important thing in terms of SEO and improving search presence? Do you use microdata in your website right now? Does it helped you to boost your site SEO? Have you added the microdata manually in the theme or purchased some theme that comes preloaded with it? I’m so excited to hear your thoughts about this in the comment section below.
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