Humans don’t have any trouble in understanding images and texts that happen to be the primary components of a webpage. But for robots like search engine crawlers, it can be a serious challenge for them to properly interpret such elements. In the hopes of helping search engines, leading sites use descriptive information that ambiguously tells them what a specific content is all about.
Robots, however, can never interpret any kind of description just like that. The information should be organized and formalized for it to make sense. This is where structured data becomes necessary.
What is Structured Data?
Structured data generally pertains to any organized data. In a website context, structured data refers to extra information in a “formal” language that has been agreed upon that allows search engines to have a better understanding of a page’s content.
This concept is not really a new one. For the longest time, search engines are using data not seen by humans to extract additional meaning regarding a visible content. The perfect example of this is XML Sitemaps. This isn’t rendered on a webpage itself, which means that it isn’t directly seen by the human eyes. However, search engines read the XML files to gather more information regarding the URL structure of a domain and learn more about every individual URL.
Today’s biggest search engines rely on and use structured data more and more to better understand every content they spider and index. As a result, it allows them to improve all the results they display for particular search queries and help people better in finding whatever it is they are looking for.
Why Should Your Website Use Structured Data?
Why does your website need structured data? Take note that structured data is what tells the search engines the exact things that are found on every page you’ve got, allowing them to identify crucial pieces of information that they need. Of course, this is still worth putting and useful on your site as it is. However, people are more after what a search engine does with the structured data.
There are some who believe that this structured data can help with their ranking or have an effect on where content shows up on search engine results pages. But, there isn’t any actual evidence that this is really true. What it does instead is that it gives search engines the chance to get a complete understanding of your website for them to more accurately recommend content once a person types in related search queries. On the most basic level, structured data serves as a tool to assist with SEO and help search engines for them to more accurately provide relevant content.
The moment search engines determine the exact thing that is found on your web page. It allows them to do some really neat things with the data. There are instances when they will show the content of being rich results in search engine results pages. These rich results refer to enhanced search results showing your content in a completely different way which depends on the content being used. The rich results go into further detail compared to traditional search results and often contain images as well as other forms of visual content.