Structured Data: What and Why

What is Structured Data?

Structured data is an umbrella term that refers to markups that follow a set of predetermined rules including the definition of different data types as well as their relationships with each other. While RDFa,, microdata and microformats are all examples of structured data, Google has been pushing for an increased usage of microdata for several years.

Google’s Relationship with Structured Data

While Google has long pushed websites to use structured data in an effort to help its search engine bots return more intuitive results, there are other advantages to increasing its usage. Search engine results also become more user friendly. Short snippets of the website’s content are displayed, giving the user instant feedback as to the usefulness of each individual search result without requiring them to click on each link individually to decipher that information.

Advantages of Microdata

Microdata, as a structured data type, supports a range of different types of data. Its range of ability to support data from music, products, videos, social media shares and other trending events put it on the preferred radar quite early from a Google standpoint. After the last update to Google’s algorithm, the search engine giant began to remind coders and SEO gurus about the validity of structured data.

Structured Data and Google

With Google’s push for more high quality content on websites in order to make searching the Internet a more user friendly venture, structured data became an industry buzzword once again. Google is so serious about the implications of such data for their long term plans that they added a structured data markup helper to their stable of webmaster tools. This tool makes it simple to add, test and preview a page’s HTML code once structured data has been added to it.

Easing Into Structured Data

Google’s markup helper for structured data literally walks users through the fairly uncomplicated and straightforward process of adding such data to a website’s HTML code. Before getting started, it is important to note that not every website can use all aspects of structured data. However, more websites are implementing the possibilities into their own code, and that number is only expected to increase.

Using a series of drop down menus, Google’s tool makes the process of ticking boxes to designate the appropriate tags a no-brainer. They have even included an option to add more tags in order to customize the webpage even further. Using their handy testing tool, the added structured data tags can be easily tested for validity before actually being published. Both the testing tool and the markup tool work with HTML and URLs for ease of use.