Structured Data is a data format that when embedded in the code of a website, gives specific details about the website, business type, the business’ services and products, the geographical location, and much more. It can even include details about the time and place of creation of photos and other images.
All this is becoming more important now because Google and the other search engines’ robots are looking for Structured Data to get an accurate picture of what the website is about, where the business is located, what services or products are offered, and so on.
You might ask why this is necessary when you already have ordinary content in your website that gives this sort of information. The fact of the matter is that most websites today are made up of a huge conglomeration of various coding languages and dynamic interactions with backend databases. The result is a maze of code that the search engines’ robots “see”. Because of the complexity of the code that produces the web pages, it is not a simple task for the search engine crawlers to pick out what the real content is from the background of complex codes that determine the “look” of the web pages.
The search engines’ crawlers do not “see” as you or I see a web page. We see the final result, which is text arranged in a page with decorative headers, photos, videos, and so on. The search engines only “see” the code behind it all. If you want to get an idea of what this looks like, right-click on any web page, in the menu that pops up, select View Page Source. In the page that opens up, you will see the exact code that is creating the page you were looking at. Can you sort out what the main content is from what you see in that source code? If you can, it might be that you are on an old web page from the days of simple html websites. Ordinarily, what you will see is a daunting mass of letters, numbers, symbols, in no easily comprehended arrangement.
So, to make a long story as short as possible, your website will benefit from having a Structured Data recipe to serve your important details to the search engines when they come to visit, in a neat, search engine digestible dish.
You can see if your own website is providing adequate Structured Data by visiting Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Click on the “Fetch url” link and then enter your domain url, and get the scoop on how well your site is feeding your most important details to the search engines.
It appears that Google is more and more looking for the Structured Data and it is likely to become more and more of a factor in how Google ranks websites in their search results.
If you want to know how to put Structured Data in your website, depending upon how your site is coded, and if you are using a Content Management System, you may be able to install a plugin that will help you add Structured Data to your web pages. There are also some online Structured Data “generators” that can help you create blocks of code that you can add to your web page code.