Structured data and your findability

Tuesday 16 august 2022

Structured data is a concept in the world of online marketing. As a starting entrepreneur and at the same time the first time you build a website, you might not have any idea what this exactly means and what it will bring you. So what exactly is structured data? And what will it give you? Does it really have a positive effect on the SEO of your webpage? And how do you apply it exactly? 

In recent years, it has become increasingly important to have your own website. Companies and consumers are now mainly searching online. Research shows that no less than 96 percent of people search for products and services online. About half of them use search engines. So a large part of your target group is present here. If your company is not visible online, it will cost a lot of potential customers. They may even go to the competition. That is why it is all the more important that you not only have your own website, but that you also end up high in the relevant search results. That way, you will attract more traffic and you will see your customer base grow. In order to be more visible in Google, it is important that the website is SEO optimised. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. There are various aspects that come into play here. Each part cannot exist separately, but reinforces each other in order to improve the findability of a site. Structured data is one of the techniques you can apply to make the site SEO proof. 

In this article you will read what structured data exactly is, how to apply it and what the advantages are. 


What exactly is structured data? 

Most people are not familiar with the term structured data. Especially not those who have not done much in the world of online marketing or have never had their own website. To understand the benefits, it is first important to understand the concept. Therefore, first a short explanation.

Structured data is a special coding language that is used to make a website more readable for search engines. You use different codes to mark up the content. That way, search engines know what is meant by the content. Be aware that there are not thousands of people sitting behind a screen to check every website for quality and to sift through all the information. This is impossible with the amount of websites that are online nowadays. That is why robots are used to scan the websites and assign a quality score. Of course, these robots do not understand our ordinary language. They read the websites in a completely different way. For instance, they see whether there is duplicate content, what the navigation structure is like, whether the right headings are used, what the loading speed is and they try to understand the content delivered to a certain extent. You can make this easier for the robots by using universal codes. This structured data offers many advantages for your position in the search engines.

Search engines naturally like it when time and attention is paid to improving the content on the site and making it easier to read. With structured data you show this. Moreover, your company will stand out much quicker within the organic search results. Not every website uses structured data. Often from a lack of technical knowledge or simply ignorance of the benefits. Applying structured data is therefore a good way to stand out. Here are your opportunities.  

Part of technical SEO 

There are many different ways to improve the findability of your website. Nowadays, a lot of attention is paid to improving content, but less to the technology behind the site. That is a shame and a lot of opportunities are being wasted. The technique behind the website is the basis for the entire site. When the basis is not good, it has disastrous consequences for the entire SEO of the site. When we look at improving the findability of a site, it is therefore essential that we first check whether the basis is correct. So first we have to tackle the technical SEO before we look any further.

There are many aspects to technical SEO. Think for example of the loading speed of the website, the navigation structure and the possible amount of 404 pages that are present on the website. Next, everything is done to improve the user experience of the visitor. However, technical SEO is not only about the visitor, but also about the search engines. Is your site readable for the robots of the most popular search engines? 

Structured data can help with this and is therefore an important part of technical SEO. Several studies show that adding technical SEO has very positive effects on the CTR (Click Through Rate) of a website. Sometimes there is even an improvement of more than half of the previous percentage! This means that not only the positions within the search engine have risen, but that this has also had an effect on the amount of traffic. This shows again how important the use of structured data is and what it can mean for the SEO of your website. 

Benefits of structured data 

It is now clear that adding structured data has a positive effect on the findability of a site. But what other advantages does it have? At the end of the day, adding structured data provides a lot of extra benefits. These advantages all contribute indirectly or directly to the findability of your site. Are you not yet convinced of its use? Or are you not sure whether you should invest extra time and attention to it? Then read more about the five most important advantages. We have listed them for you below.

Extra tip: it requires quite some technical knowledge to add structured data in the right way. Don't have this knowledge and little experience with website building? Leave this job to experts who do it every day. This way, you can be sure that the basis of your site is correct and that you can indeed benefit from the advantages below. 

1. More attention from search engines 

The biggest advantage of structured data is that it makes you stand out more in the search engine results. Remember that search engines have endless lists of search results. All companies do everything they can to end up higher in the results and to outsmart their competitors. However, Google's robots don't care about sentiment. They want to see hard facts. Reasons why one site deserves a higher position in the results and another site does not. 

It is important for the quality of the search engine itself to immediately show the best answers. After all, that is how they attract users. Google would never have been so big if it had not had such an advanced algorithm. If the results were not properly filtered for quality and relevance, it would take much longer to find the right answers. This makes using a search engine a lot less attractive. That is why it is so important that Google can see at a glance which websites are of sufficient quality and share good content. Which websites should be seen and rank high in the search results? 

By applying structured data, you add extra value to your website. You show that the website is extra valuable by adding so-called rich snippets. This can be anything. From photos to textual information or even reviews. By adding extra information and using the right codes, this is also visible to the robots. Because of this, they quickly see that your website has something extra to offer. This has a positive effect on your position in the ranking of search results. 

2. A higher position within search results also leads to more clicks 

The CTR, or Click Through Rate, is very important in determining the findability of a website. This value is often used to show how effective a marketing campaign has been. It is one thing to be more visible in the search results, but it should also lead to more traffic. After all, the more people click on your website, the more likely it is that they will take action. After all, that is the ultimate goal: attracting and retaining people. 

Because you get more attention in the search results through the use of structured data, you will also notice that the CTR increases quickly. In fact, in a very short time. By applying structured data, you will see that the technical SEO of your site will make huge leaps. So will the visibility of the site. This immediately results in more traffic. With all the consequences this has for the popularity of your company. 


3. You convince the customer faster 

Of course it is important to be visible within the search results. You can build such a beautiful website, but if it is hardly found, it will hardly deliver any results. Yet you should also keep in mind that you never build a website for a search engine. It plays an important role in the traffic that will be sent to your website, but the most important role is always the user of the site. The potential customer. It is up to you to convince him or her. 

Structured data ensures that you are more visible in the results and will therefore get many more visitors. However, the game is not over yet. Because being found by potential customers is one thing, now you also have to convince them. Visitors are fortunately also more likely to make use of your services or products if you apply structured data. 

This is mainly due to the extra additions that make your site stand out from the competition. The choice is easily made when your company has a lot of clear, good reviews and products are provided with attractive pictures and good descriptions. This sets the tone for the entire image of your company. And that is literally worth its weight in gold. 

4. Win a free premium place in Google 

SEO is all about creating organic search traffic. It's about all the things you can do to drive additional traffic to your website for free. This is very different from SEA, where it is all about placing paid advertisements. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to beat the competition and you need to use Google AdWords to get higher in the rankings. However, this is certainly not free and can sometimes even cost a lot of extra money. 

But did you know that the use of structured data can also lead to a great premium place in Google for free? We see that companies using structured data stand out in such a way that they get a place of honour in the search engine. For example, because they are shown in a featured snippet. This is a short list of several companies to just one search result that temporarily deserve extra attention according to the search engine. 

Potential customers who see your company in this list will immediately see this as a sign of reliability. Keep in mind that competition is high these days. This not only makes it harder for you to stand out, but also for the consumer to make a choice. How do you know if a website is of sufficient quality? With the help of such lists you show that your company has sufficient quality and trust. This leads to more traffic to your website, a higher CTR and more conversion. 

5. The website is also visible in voice searches 

We don't always realise it, but there are also people with bad eyesight who search for products or services online. These people are usually not able to type by themselves. Therefore, they often make use of so-called voice searches. Incidentally, this is also increasingly done by people who are not visually impaired. After all, a spoken search is very easy, because you do not have to stand still to tap or do anything. You can quickly record the search query to save time. 

However, the search engine works a little differently with voice searches than with written searches. It scans the information on the World Wide Web differently. If it is not immediately clear what is described or what can be seen on the site, these results will not be visible. The search results that Google shows consist mainly of featured snippets. In order to be displayed here, you must make use of structured data. 

With a bit of luck, you will be one of the few (or maybe even the only) companies within your sector that will be shown in these search results. Use this to your advantage. 


How to make use of the different structured data types 

Applying structured data (also called markup) can be done in many different ways. In this process, content is marked up in the right way by using special codes. You can take various types of content into account. Which type of structured data you should use, fully depends on the nature of your business. Who do you want to reach exactly? What do you want to show? And how do you want to do this? There are many different types of structured data that you can apply. We will briefly list the most common ones for you: 

  • Markup for webshops: when you mark up products in webshops, you ensure that product information is added to the search results. As a result, products will end up higher in the search results and you will enjoy more traffic and higher sales figures.

 

  • Markup for company-specific information: Do you think it is important that people can immediately find out more about your company when entering a search query? Then a markup for company-specific information is important.

 

  • Markup for local SEO: Is it very important for your company to be found by locals? Then it is important to apply structured data for local SEO. That way, you mark your physical location and your business will be found faster by people who live nearby. 
Brandon Bessem
Online marketeer

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