Site Audit: Structured Data 2021

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Marketing managers and SEO professionals are always looking to find that next element or strategy to sharpen their campaigns. Have you incorporated structured data into your strategy? If not, then you should consider the impact structured data can have on your SEO efforts, particularly if you have the capacity to develop more sophisticated onsite technical strategies.

Search engine optimisation has a lot of elements within it that are subject to very rapid change. This article is about one particular element of SEO, this is structured data. In particular, how structured data will develop in 2021. 

So if you’re interested to find out more about implementing structured data within your SEO strategy, read on below.

What is SEO?

SEO is short for search engine optimisation. It is a digital marketing channel that focuses on improving revenue or KPIs by people coming to a website through their searches on search engines, such as Google and Bing.

The main strategy is to understand what an organisation’s target buyer is searching for online and creating a website that will appear in the search result pages for the keywords they type. There are multiple ways to make your website appear for target terms, with techniques falling into three broad strategies of technical SEO, onsite and content, and offsite.

Structured data falls within the technical aspect of SEO. This department concerns itself with making sure a website is built and coded in a way that is compatible and actively encourages search engines to crawl a site, directing them to where they need to go to access important information.

What is structured data?

Structured data involves organising information on a web page in a particular way to help search engines quickly understand the contents of a page and display it effectively. 

By implementing structured data well on a website, you can improve your chances of appearing for particular terms. You target your web page towards particular terms and then make it easy for Google to see what is there and display the information to users.

But more than this, with structured data, your pages appear in featured snippets on search results. These are the sections that have additional information, or images from your site directly in Google. These featured snippets have an increased clickthrough rate which is great for SEO.

Structured data is also sometimes known as Schema, although they are slightly different terms. Schema is in reference to schema.org, which is a common vocabulary that search engines subscribe to. There are alternatives to schema markup which can be used for structured data, but schema is the most popular.

What is a site audit and how to use one for structured data?

A site audit is where you analyse your website underneath a particular set of criteria. Usually in SEO you can undertake a complete site audit or target it for a specific analysis. In this case, if you are looking to implement structured data, you would run a structured data analysis.

Below is a quick rundown of how to do a structured data analysis.

Check for structured data

The first thing to do is check for structured data already deployed onto your website. You can do this by inputting your URL into Google Search Console. Search console will also tell you what errors there are currently in your structured data. You can use this as a list to work through, validating your fixes by recrawling your site in the search console.

Find featured snippet opportunities in site content

Analyse the type of content on your website and see if it fits within some of the broad categories that featured snippets appear for.

Apply schema types to content

You want to add the correct markup to your pages, so find the most accurate one on the schema.org website. Two of the most common ways people apply schema to their website is with Google’s Structured Data Highlighter Helper tool and the Structured Data Markup Helper.

Applying structured data can seem like a complex task, but it doesn’t have to be. By simply following online guidance and best practices it’s possible to apply structured data effectively and efficiently. Using structured data proficiently within a wider SEO strategy can have a big impact on organic traffic and help to drive the revenue for a business upwards.