Structured data and GoogleThe key to any good relationship is effective communication. That’s as true in the world of SEO as it is in our interpersonal relationships. If you’re a local business trying to rank well for search, the use of structured data is an important way to communicate with Google.

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Clear Communication

Google’s ever-improving accuracy in search results make us think the search engine’s crawlers have an infallible ability to produce the best possible response to a query. Still, your website isn’t going to rank well – no matter how relevant the content is – unless you clearly communicate to the crawlers what your pages are about.

That’s where structured data comes in. Put simply, structured data tells Google what type of content is on your page. Is it an organization? Is it an article? Is it a recipe? There are numerous ways to identify your page. Do it properly and give your business the best shot at being included in anything from rich snippets to local 3-packs to a carousel of images. You may even end up with your business information (location, hours, etc) listed prominently on the right side of the search results.

The use of proper HTML code is the means of letting the crawlers know what your page is about and it looks like this:

structured data html screenshot

WordPress Widget Makes It Easy

If you’re not a tech person, or if you’re a small business without a full-time IT person, don’t worry. There are ways to implement the code that don’t require any coding skills at all. If you run a WordPress site, there’s a widget that takes two clicks to install, and each page on your site will then have this form on the back end…

structured data widget screenshot

All you do is fill out the form and let the WordPress/Google combo do the rest. The blue row across the top is where you identify what sort of content is on the page. Forms below include everything from description to address to author to site logo and a lot more. You only need to add the information relevant for your page and your business.

Test It

You’ll then want to be sure that Google is getting your communication as you intend it. Once again, it’s easy – they offer a free testing tool where you simply enter in the URL. You’ll then see something like this…

structured data testing tool screenshot

The left side is the area to key on. If you see no errors, as is the case on this page, you’re good to go.

Honesty Is The Best Policy

When you enter your information in the WordPress widget, don’t try and mislead Google. This won’t work with structured data any better than it will with keyword-stuffing or any other black-hat tactic. Even if you gain a short-term advantage, their crawlers will figure it out sooner rather than later. Remember, the hardest thing to overcome in any relationship is a loss of trust.

Google is powerful but not omnipotent. No matter how relevant your content is to a search query, it won’t rank well if the search engine doesn’t understand what it’s crawling. Communicate to Google through the use of structured data and everyone comes out ahead.

Google loves fast sites. How’s yours?  Call us and find out. (443) 475-07787 or Contact Us online.