Web browsers are getting smarter, they process more information and are faster, but how do they manage to improve the millions of searches done every second?
A section to better understand how they do it is the structured data within web pages, used by the browser to understand the content and its context. For example, a recipe website will have ingredients, cooking times, nutrients, etc. A web store will have products, prices, comparisons, and payment methods. A business blog will have names, articles, …
Each type of website has its differentiating elements. They are elements that we (humans) can process at first sight and decide their relevance, but an AI will not have the same facility to show us the same results instantly. It requires key bookmarks to rank and understand which content is more relevant than the previous one.
What is structured data?
First and foremost, let’s explain the concept of “structured data.”
Structured data is the information that is usually found within a database. They are filed in text type to be displayed in rows and columns.
This information is stored in the source code of the website and it is the browser that has to search, extract, analyze and identify the data to classify and display (or not) the website in the search result.
JSON-LD is the syntax used by Google to centralize this metadata so that it is faster and easier to determine the content of the page and index it in the search result.
What is JSON-LD?
Unlike other structured data like RDFa or microdata embedded in web code, JSON-LD is placed inside a <script> tag within the code. This makes easier to find and extract the basic data for indexing. This structure uses a series of keywords that serve to provide context to the data so that browsers can more easily understand what they are reading.
For example, if we look at a website related to the creator of this method, Manu Sporny, we first find:
"name": "Manu Sporny",
For a human being it is easy to identify that Manu Sporny is the name of a person and “homepage” is his website. In order for browsers (artificial entities) to understand that the keyword “name” refers to the name of a person, it is necessary to indicate the context of the data contained in the structure:
"name": "Manu Sporny",
In this example it is easy for both, the human eye and the machine, to understand that this structure refers to a person by adding the @type keyword. With this structure, you can define any element, links to websites, content, keywords for search, social networks, etc.
If a website is provided with this data, it will be much easier for Google to understand the content and classify it within the search, achieving a better SEO position and climbing in the SERP, something essential today to have more visibility in the face of a web search with keywords.
To cite some examples of types currently supported by JSON-LD:
You can find the full list here.
Each marker described above helps to position your website because you are marking relevant points about the function that your website fulfills, which means that a client, when making a specific search, such as, for example, a hairdresser near his home, obtains more results from Google. around keywords such as “LocalBusiness”, “Place” or “Product”.
Do they really help web positioning?
The reality is that we cannot depend on structured data to position our website against others. In short, structured data is a way of classifying the information that our website contains to facilitate identification by the search engine, but they are not the first thing that the search algorithm looks.
Within its developer center, Google has a complete section for structured data within SEO, so it seems that they do consider it part of the life cycle and operation of the search engine.
However, Google has never made official what level of relevance it should have within an SEO strategy, opting instead to mark the importance of other different points within any common SEO strategy.
Is it then necessary to use it? Again, it’s hard to tell at first glance. What is certain is that the information we present seems to show that it has a positive impact and, if Google dedicates so many resources to learning about and structuring data within a website, it must have some positive effect for all three parties: search engine, web page and potential user.
What does JSON-LD and structured data bring me?
With JSON-LD we can provide our website with more relevant information for browser searches in semantics that are easy to understand for both humans and machines.
This has a positive impact on SEO positioning and makes it easier for the web user to enrich the content with data that is not visible, but is essential for browsers to understand, classify and display the page.
If you want to read a little more, JSON-LD has its own web con apartado propio para desarrolladores.
Learn more about the importance of having working computer code here.
Javier Moreno Morales – Software Developer at Itequia