In last week’s Reddit AMA with John Mueller, he reminded site owners about the importance of the use of structured data on websites. Google has been pushing structured data for a few years now, but in the past year or so, they have stressed how useful it is not just for search features but for helping Google index pages better by utilizing the schema to better understand those pages.
Most site owners are aware of visible schema enhancements, the ones that appear in the search results and can often increase the CTR of those pages. This includes features such as recipe enhancements, review stars, pricing, events, and more. But there is importance in adding schema to pages that don’t result in those features in the search results, because they also play an important role in ranking content by Google.
Mueller says “we do use [structured data] to understand a page better, it helps us to rank it better where it’s relevant.” This reaffirms what Gary Illyes said last year at Pubcon which caught many SEOs by surprise.
He does stress that this isn’t a huge ranking boost, or as he puts it, “you’re not going to jump to #1 just because you have [structured data] on a page.” But any edge you can get that helps Google better understand a page so that it can rank it better is something SEOs should be paying attention to. Because if the structured data helps Google understand it better, then it can open up the possibility that Google will either rank those pages higher for current keywords, or be able to add additional keywords to the ones it is ranking for.
He also adds “try to be reasonable” when it comes to those other types of schema that aren’t visible. It is important to remember that if you cross the line to spamming with structured data, you can receive a manual action which will result in losing all your structured data from the search results, even for parts of structured data you aren’t spamming. So do be careful with how you markup.
If you are looking to add structured data, yet aren’t too familiar with it, start with any relevant markup that will have an impact in the search results, such as pricing or review stars. Google also offers the structured data markup tool to help site owners markup their own content. They also have many help documents on adding structured data as well.
Here is the full quote:
I don’t think there’s an absolute answer for this. I’d primarily focus on the SD that brings visible effects (that’s where you have a cleaner relationship between your work & the outcome), and for the rest, try to be reasonable. We do use SD to understand a page better, it helps us to rank it better where it’s relevant, but you’re not going to jump to #1 just because you have SD on a page.
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