Structured Data is the next step to prove relevant data to the search engine spiders. Structured Data provides synthesized data to the web spiders when they crawl your website so that rich and informative snippets can be generated for the viewer. This whole process streamlines the search and the user gets more refined information. Today, the whole world is information hungry. Everyone wants more information at a much faster rate. But, search engine crawlers have limitations of understanding the content on your page.
They are not humans but bots and hence cannot understand the interpretations of the words. But, finding the best and the most relevant result for the searchers is still their task. This limitation is now playing a major role in the selection of pages to be shown in the search engine results pages (SERP). The search engines have started adopting a proactive policy to synthesize this information on relevancy level so that the end user gets more accurate information and doesn't have to scavenge though multitudes of useless results which seem to be similar.
With the increasing dependence on mobile searches this has become all the more important as the patience, time and resources at the end user's disposal have got quite demanding. Structured Data allows the search engine spiders to crawl your website and locate the relevant information with the same 'intent' as per the requirement of the searcher.
So what is structured data?
Structured data is the refined and categorized data which makes it clear to the crawlers the content of the page. It categorizes the content of the page under predefined parameters so that the search engines know what is being served to the searcher. Structured data lays stress on making the search engines actually understand the content of the pages accurately so that they just do not remain the medium to display random snippets of the page deceived by artfully placed keywords but actually know the content of the page in detail. Structured data is made available for the crawlers in the HTML markup of the page from where they can generate rich snippets of the page for the viewer. If your web page has structured data then more accurate information can be displayed to the viewer.
How it works
Google's Structured Data Markup tool can be the starting point for you if you are completely new to this concept. It lets you identify different types of information and tag data fields accordingly. Structured data focuses on explaining the intent of the content on the webpage. Like if your webpage is telling about an event then it'll show it broken down in form of itinerary so that the user spends lesser amount of time in searching for the exact details. Hence, Semantic markup is used to quantify the information provided by you in a coded language which the search engines can infer easily and turn up relevant data.
How it is done
Search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. have come forward in a coordinated way to promote structured data so that the user can get the most relevant information easily. To this end Schema Markup uses a systematic data so that information can be made available in an easily gulp able way and remains highly relevant.
How does it help SEO
Providing structured data on your websites can be the best way to remain in the good books of the search engines as it has multiple advantages.
• High relevancy: Structured data enables the search engines to pick up highly relevant pages for the searches. Now this saves a lot of time of the user. But, it helps businesses too. Businesses get relevant traffic which is highly interested in their product, services and information. This can be of great help to your SEO campaign as you get qualified traffic.
• Low bounce rate: Because of the increased relevancy level the bounce rate of the visitors goes down considerably. This is really important as a high bounce rate can negatively impact your search engine ranking which no company would want to have.
• Greater conversion rate: The increased qualified traffic brings higher conversion rate as an added benefit which is a good news for any business. The whole SEO effort is usually directed to bringing qualified traffic which can be converted into business. The traffic given by structured data helps you in this effort. It gives your boost to your overall ranking because Google and other search engines see conversions as a sign of approval of your products and services.
If you're not already using structured data already, start doing it now. Structured Data is the future which has immense potential. The way information is being perceived by the search engines and the kind of important they are giving to relevancy the time is not far when websites displaying indecipherable or incoherent information will be lost in oblivion. Providing relevant information is the essence of internet when around two decades ago Bill Gates wrote that on the internet 'Content is King', he had categorically visualized this in his prediction. Search engines are taking it one bit further and focusing on not only providing content but relevant also content to the users.
Has around a decade of experience in Search Engine Optimization and observes the changes in the SEO trends very closely. He likes to share his experience and expertise on the subject for making SEO easier for people.