Structured Data Content (SDC) is the result of collaboration between all the major players in the search engine market (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.). The goal of this is to make it easier for search engine crawlers to understand your websites content. In the past this was typically done with keywords, descriptions and other meta data. That process worked to some degree but it was still hard for crawlers to fully understand your sites content. Structured Data Content allows you to define your website with a specific set of attributes based on you website type (Local Business, Article, Restaurant, Movie, etc). This detailed data make it very easy for search engines to understand and display your site in results listings.
I will use Local Business for an example. Prior to SDC a crawler would scan your website and do it’s best to determine website type and pick out relevant information for results listings. SDC gives you the ability to tell the crawlers exactly what you want search engines to know about our site. For example defining these values in your SDC allows the search engine to display exactly what you want potential customers to know about your site and its contents.
- Name: Local Hardware Store
- Address: 101 Main Street, Small Town, USA
- Hours: Monday to Saturday 9AM – 6PM
- Image: StorefrontPicture.png
- Phone: (555) 123-4567
- Rating: 5 Star Customer Service
There main benefits to having good SDC built into your site are…
- Improves search engine understanding of your site content.
- Better formatting/layout on search results pages.
- Higher click through rates.
- Possibly higher search ranking, results have been mixed in research on this.
On the upside SDC is just regular HTML so just about anyone can add this content to their site. There are several great tools out there to help you build the SDC you’ll need to insert into your site. Google has these options to build and test your code and I’m sure there are many more out there.
For more information on this check out http://schema.org/