Adding “Structured Data” To Your Website

Boost your search rankings and add richer information to your search results

Using Structured Data on your website will allow google to present valuable information to your potential customers in search, including product details like price + rating, carousel lists, and article information that will help users sort through your site data, and ultimately click into your website to view more.

If you have not yet, before starting I recommend reading my previous post on the Background and Impact of Structured Data.

In this post I want to give you a general outline on the process of adding structured data, as well as specific details on how to implement structured data to boost your rankings + get more traffic.

Below I will describe the general process for you, with links to improve your knowledge of the topic, then I will recommend a couple tutorials for Webmasters in different industries.

The General Process

At the time of this post (May 2019) I will recommend only adding JSON-LD to your website. This is because it is currently accepted and endorsed by Google (the primary search engine that most of us are seeking to optimize for) and because it is relatively easy to implement (you will find out why as soon as you talk to your development team about this).

Another thing I want to mention here is that there is so much variation in Structured Data implementation depending on the type of website or web content that you are trying to mark up. Therefore I will describe the general process, and then add tutorial links for different industries below. The general process of adding Structured Data is as follows:

  1. Map out your page categories
  2. Find the corresponding category template + fill in with your sites data
  3. Test your Structured Data
  4. Add it to the website (or give to developers)

1. Mapping out your pages

For most of you you will need to start by mapping out your website. This means categorizing the relevant pages of your site according to the guidelines of the Google SD Framework, or the Schema.org framework that it is based off of (Page categories are things like “Products, reviews, ”).

Create a graphical or folder representation of the site pages. You should all know what a sitemap is if you are in SEO, so if you have that then you can use that to model your website. If you aren’t familiar with/don’t have access to your companies sitemap, you can create your own organized representation of the pages on your site (see below).

Then, you can take each type of page and categorize it into one of the following types: Article, Job Posting, Product, Occupation, Q&A Page, etc. (view more on the google structured data website.)

For example, in the image above, the “Painting Detail” pages would each be categorized as “Products”, because they are purchasable items with prices + ratings. Do this for each of your pages, overlaid on top of a graphical representation like the one above.

Most every modern website will use the general Corporate Contact + FAQ + Social Panel categories for high level pages. The content level pages will likely be very industry specific (if you have a news site you will use the “Article” type, whereas an e-commerce site will likely not.)

Once you are done figuring out the categories, you are ready to begin.

2. Using a template, add your site’s actual data

This step is the most confusing, and you will need to frequently refer to step 3 (testing) during the process, but basically it means taking the SD template provided for your category, and adding your companies info.

I would recommend a tutorial by google for help getting the gist of the process before you get started.

For example, let’s say I have article pages on my website and I wanted to add Structured Data to them. The first thing I would do is reference the Article Structured Data example on the Google page for information about this category. Then I would open up the testing tool with the Article example and fill in my companies information, testing to make sure after I change the info my data is still valid. The result would be something like this:

For some pages, like your homepage, the info you enter will be static data (your companies name will not change depending on different parameters) and for others the data will be dynamic (depending on the product displayed on the product detail page, the product name in the Structured Data will need to change). For Dynamic data, come up with some convention and stick to it. For example, you could use {{Product_Name}} to refer to the name of the product, whichever it is.

Here’s an example I set up for a website that sells language lessons to students. I would have one page which is a list of teacher profiles. This page would reference the “List” category. It would look like this:

I would then have another page, a teacher detail page, which references the “Product” category because each teacher is essentially the product of this business.

If you do this correctly, you will essentially create a model for the Structured Data on every page of your site, that you or the developers can use to input the data later.

3. Testing your model

This is probably the most important part of the process, because if you add invalid JSON-LD to your site it’s worse than having no data on your site at all. Essentially what this means is constantly referring back to the Structured Data Testing Tool from Google to make sure the data you add is going to be readable by Google and other crawlers.

4. Adding the data to your website

This step can be completed by the developers on your team, and is basically the implementation of the plan that you just created.

I would recommend talking to your developers about this, because it will require accessing your companies code base directly. It would also be possible to complete with Goole Tag Manager, but would be a more complicated process.

So supply the Structured Data framework to your development team (wait for feedback + corrections because no one is perfect) and then release to your live site. Google helpfully reminds us that re-indexation may take several weeks, so be mindful of this.

Thank you for reading. As promised I have also included a list of tutorials for particular industries.

Happy Coding! Alex Zito-Wolf

Tutorial List (By Google)

How-To Page SD Example

Recipe Page SD Example (Tutorial by Google)

Product Manager + Software Developer. Interested in Travel, Culture, and the Internet.