Utilizing data formats to prompt featured snippets in your web page content is an advanced step toward a dominant online presence. It may seem daunting, but adding microformats or JSON-LD coding to your existing URI is increasingly common and will continue to steadily push old, text only content down the results page. Adding a data markup language to your pages – and maintaining efficient URI/URL stylization – allows for additional display options on the search results page called up after a searcher inputs something into the text box.
The answer generated on the SERP is a rich result that drives far more traffic to your page than those of your competitors lacking in this additional capability. Simply put, this data type is a coded set of instructions for the Google search algorithm so that it knows to add rankings, list items, map locations, or suggestions – among many other possibilities – to your page’s result.
Google’s structured data testing tool is a great way to test your results pertaining to an existing code snippet. But what about novices: are you forced to take manual action in learning to format your pages all over again? And what about eligibility, can anyone utilize this data type and the associated data testing tools (SDTT) to improve their site’s hit rate?
Formatting your content in this manner may take some getting used to, but mastery of this new wave of online content creation – both in writing and navigating data testing tools – is essential to maintaining your competitive edge into the future of digital dissemination. As well HTML microdata is open – and more importantly easily accessible – to anyone willing to take this leap into the future of online media creation.
Feature snippets simply work: in two separate reports traffic to the website in question increased dramatically with the addition of this markup while the pages evaluated were featured as answer boxes or primly positioned rich snippet results. One study found an increase in revenue generated through organic traffic of an astonishing 677%. Leveraging this data tool not only increases your visibility, by extension it lends explosive growth to your viewership over the long term, improves your position on the search results page, and boosts profits even faster.
Josh McCoy of Search Engine Journal puts it like this: rather than publishing your piece and waiting for the crawler to analyze the page, utilizing structured data to control your content is like “sitting down with Google or Bing and thoroughly walking them through your site so that they truly understand every facet of your content.”
Markup language designed to generate additional, contextual data on Google’s search returns can do a lot. And that is frankly a wild understatement; the versatility of this feature allows for an outpouring of creativity in the presentation of your page and its associated content.
Think of it like a traditional blog tag that goes above and beyond, not only directing your viewers to grouped content, but also helping to build schemas for the searcher. In the traditional sense, this is a “cognitive framework or concept that helps organize and interpret information.” It’s no wonder then why the primary driver in building out this phenomenon on the digital plane would adopt ‘schema’ as its name as well.
This treatment of microdata driven content to optimize search-ability has hit the mainstream and it is only growing more widespread. The more usage these XML, HTML, or JSON-LD inclusions see online, the better able Google is to provide an offering of rich results to its users: a win-win situation for everyone involved and a fundamental and direct use of logos to appeal to your prospective viewers’ logical brain.
When a user queries Google for “easy chicken parm recipes,” “10 US Dollars to Euro,” or “The Amazing Race” the returned search results page – or SERP in the lingo of search driven web pages – calls up some pretty amazing additional features that we have come to take for granted.
The resulting suggestions look fundamentally the same, but at the top of the page (and sometimes down the right-hand side or embedded within a search result item itself) we are presented with additional data items that typically give us a snippet of a page’s cooking instructions, answer our question directly, or suggest cast members or other thematically related shows we might like as well. Google does all this using the data format implemented on the pages it finds in response to any given search parameters and then feeds this data to its users.
The ability to deliver additional features to your readers through the Google results page was born out of the creation of schema.org, a collaborative effort to improve user experience on the internet and founded by members of various search engines’ parent companies and through broader community support.
What it does is deliver a richer experience to your users by giving them advanced knowledge of what they are likely to find on your page. If you run a growing cooking blog, for instance, the addition of microdata lines in your content will give viewers a preview of what is in store for them before navigating to your page. Rich snippets are invaluable for increasing click through rates on, say, your Sunday roast line of recipes.
Google users are looking for rapid fulfilment when browsing for something to throw in the oven: so directing the search engine to include quick descriptions of two or three choices or a picture of your favorite meal in this category will convert that nascent viewer into a routine browser. Ultimately this increased capacity for conversion will jump your pages higher up the rung and boost your ability to capitalize financially on your written word.
The addition of structured data to your page is a crucial new SEO tool that webmasters are just beginning to command. This means that it is more important than ever to familiarize yourself with this powerful data capability. Thankfully, in addition to the schema resources, the Yandex and Bing markup validator, along with the Google structured data testing tool are all available for public consumption in order to weed out data errors before they are crawled and frozen temporarily into these search engines’ caches. As well, open source structured data code can be found in abundance to simply insert into your text – nearly as is.
These prepackaged data items are available from schema.org and elsewhere, however, remember that some slight tailoring must be done to add the finishing touches. You will need to make sure that you enter in any specifics you need and run the code through a rich results test tool to verify it before publishing – just as you might edit text content.
Google has made it public knowledge that its preferred data format is JSON-LD, and thanks to a community effort, professionally designed examples can be copied or modified for your personal use, even if you are not proficient with HTML or – ideally – JSON-LD yourself. For simpler applications of microdata, using a testing tool to validate your work (the Yandex structured data validator or its automated API to validate your microformats for instance is a great way to quickly view your page’s test results) is all you need to ensure that your URL is operating efficiently and can be read by Google’s crawler so that your additional data codes are formatted on the search result page to your liking.
Additionally, as you begin to experiment with your own data code operations, it will become clear that expanding your online presence across platforms will be necessary to gain market penetration and routinely catch the attention of the search engine crawlers.
This is where opengraph consideration will play a role. Opengraph is a Facebook initiative to expand sharing, liking, and other Facebook innovations across the internet. This data format allows a page to exhibit the same properties as any Facebook page when it is shared on a social media platform. Using SDTT to validate these data codes is just as vital to your online success as using a structured data testing tool to verify rich snippets for Google results, but these functions will improve your online presence in two strikingly different ways. Rather than augmenting your search result entry, opengraph additions will ensure that your shared pages are rendered with the correct data items; all too often viewers follow links from Instagram or Twitter only to be brought to a site’s homepage.
Or even worse: your site begins seeing a decline in click through rates because you posted an article about the perfect pulled pork recipe, but the picture and description associated with your headline would have your reader believe they are about to view an article describing Thanksgiving turkey instead. Utilizing open source coding and data testing tools will ensure that you never fall prey to this sort of oversight again.