Traditionally, businesses attempted to improve their organic search results by incorporating keywords and backlinks. While these are still good SEO tactics, they are not adequate alone. This is especially true as search engines continue to place more importance on structured data, making it the future of search engine marketing.
Without a coding background, it can be difficult to understand what structured data is and what it means for mobile search results. However, failing to understand structured data and its impact is a missed opportunity to improve a website’s rank in mobile Search Engine Results Page, or SERP.
What is “structured data?”
Formally defined according to PC Magazine, structured data is:
“Data that can be immediately identified within an electronic structure such as a relational database. For example, to retrieve the name of a city, the ‘city field’ is accessed.”
In other words, structured data is the information that allows search engines, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!, to crawl and understand a website. Structured data helps to effectively organize all of the website’s information that has been gathered from relational databases.
Structured data is added directly to a webpage’s HTML markup, where it lives and communicates with search engines. Search engines use this information to generate rich snippets, or additional pieces of information that appear under the search result, like hours, pricing, star reviews, and more. At the most basic level, structured data helps crawlers, also called spiders, robots, or bots, understand a company’s NAP (name, address, place).
Result in position 1 shows rich snippets – star rating, vote count, etc. Result in position 2 does not.
Vs. unstructured data?
Essentially, unstructured data is the opposite of structured data; It is data that lacks organization and makes computer communication more difficult. Unstructured data could be considered “human” language, whereas structured data is “computer” language.
If a website contains unstructured data, it is more difficult for search engines to determine relevant information according to a search query, which negatively effects rank in search results, both on desktop and mobile.
What is Schema.org?
Launched in 2011, Schema.org was developed to create a common language between search engines and websites via structured data markup on webpages. According to Schema.org, “a shared vocabulary makes it easier for webmasters and developers to decide on a schema and get the maximum benefit for their efforts.” Data in the Schema.org vocabulary may be embedded in an HTML page using microdata, RDFa, and JSON-LD.
In lay terms, Schema.org is a formatting language used to organize unstructured data into structured data. It translates text-heavy “human” code to computer-literate information.
How does structured data improve mobile search results?
First and foremost, structured data is an important factor in improving mobile search results by making a website’s search result snippet richer, thus increasing Click-Through-Rate, or CTR.
According to SearchEngineLand.com, there is a 13% lift in CTR for rich media results in position two over non-rich media results in position one. This means that, even if a website does not rank in the number one position, it can still be a “better,” more effective search result.
In addition to improving mobile search rankings through enhanced search engine readability, structured data also increases a website’s “clickability.” Clickability is the likelihood that a mobile searcher will click a link (CTR). By increasing the space a search result occupies on a mobile device, clickability is improved. This is done through structured data rich snippets, authorship tagging, and using Schema.org formatting.
The Advice Mobile solution for unstructured data.
Advice Mobile creates structured data for every website it builds. After collecting both structured and unstructured data from the Internet, Advice Mobile organizes it into intelligent computer information useful to search engines. With no coding or frustration, all businesses partnered with Advice Mobile can improve their mobile search results – and more – using structured data.
Interested? Request a demo today.