POV: Structured Data Use & Implementation

Evolving digital marketing strategies have the potential to be overwhelming and seem complicated. These tactics can change often leaving you to figure out which ones will work for your dental practice. A challenge many dental brands face is identifying how to implement these best practices and new strategies. Wonderful Dental implements best practices in its digital marketing strategy to ensure the best experience for users. Pairing advanced SEO strategies like structure data with best practices of basic dental SEO will help give you that competitive edge.

What is Structured Data

Structured data is a type markup for a website that gives extra information to search engines about specific content. With the proper use of structured data, your site may qualify for rich snippets in the search results. Rich Snippets show up in the search results as extra information formatted different than the typical title/Meta description. A few examples are below. Structured data tells the search engines what your content means, not just what it says. Search engines read the code and present the most helpful information to a user, based on the query.

Technical Terminology

You have three different types of structured data to choose from:

  • Microdata (Schema)
  • RFDA
  • JSON-LD

From there, you apply Schema.org vocabulary about the attributes. Learn more: https://developers.google.com/structured-data/schema-org

Finally, if properly applied you can then qualify for rich snippets to show up in the SERPs. 

Why Should You Care About Structured Data?

There are two main reasons why Structured data is important:

  • Structured data is a way of providing the best and most relevant information to users.
  • Sites with structured data typically rank higher than websites without the markup according to a 2014 Searchmetrics study.
    • Note that this may be an issue of correlation rather than causation.
  • Structured data provides your website an opportunity to furnish better information and create differentiation from SERP competitors.

How to Use Structured Data

  1. Easy Method (Limited, and potentially buggy.)

Google provides a Structured Data Testing Tool: https://developers.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/ The tool allows you to input your source code or URL, and generate your preferred

Structured data. You can use this tool if you have edit access to your site’s HTML. No

coding knowledge required.

  • Go to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
  • Select the type of data that you plan to markup
  • Highlight and select the type of elements to be marked up.
  • Continue adding markup items.
  • Create the HTML.
  • Add Structured data to your web page.
  1. Advanced Method (Requires some familiarity with coding.)
  • Visit http://schema.org/docs/schemas.html.
  • Find the schemas that are most relevant for your website. (Full hierarchy is available here: http://schema.org/docs/full.html)
  • Add the relevant markup items to your site code.

What Types of Structured Data Are Most Useful for SEO?

The answer to this question depends on two things:

  • The nature of your web page. What product, service, information are you providing that has a corresponding structured data item?
  • The types of schema that Google currently supports. Although there are thousands of potential structured data sets Google only supports a limited number. 
    • For current information on which structured data Google supports, please visit this page: https://developers.google.com/structured-data/schema-org?hl=en

If your website features recipes, there’s schema for it.
If you publish reviews, you can mark them up with schema.
If you sell products, you can use structured data.
Note: Credit Cards are indeed products! 

  1. GSC Data Highlighter (Hybrid Method) 
  • Log in to Google Search Console
  • Find the areas of the site you’d like to “highlight” in the SERPs (much like structured data) 
  • Use the Data Highlighter to select on-page elements that match certain structured data types

Using this method, we can sample which on-page elements google will allow to be displayed in the SERPs. Since marking up your pages with structured data does not guarantee a rich snippet being displayed in the SERPs, we can test a few different pages without adding any new code to the pages and then determine which pages need additional structured data placed on them. 

For example:

Using the Data Highlighter, you can markup pages similar to one another in similar ways (such as the Business Listing pages). Eliminating the need to add code to a variety of pages one-by-one. 

Recommended Next Steps

Choose the structured data you’d like to add to your site.

  • Use the Data Highlighter to Markup specific sections of your site in bulk without needing dev resources. 
  • Add other markup using Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper or using your development team’s coding skills.
  • Test the schema using Google’s tool (https://developers.google.com/structured-data/testing) or by inputting relevant search queries.
  • Monitor your structured data markup in Google Search Console (https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2650907)

Additional Information

  • http://schema.org/docs/gs.html
  • http://searchengineland.com/schema-org-7-things-for-seos-to-consider-posthummingbird-172163
  • https://blog.kissmetrics.com/get-started-using-schema/

 

In today’s digital age, it is important to ensure your website is user and Google friendly. The best way to convert users is to provide them with the answers that help drive their decision. With the internet available to you, you have a multitude of marketing resources you need to market and grow your dental practice. Partnering with industry leaders like Wonderful Dental can help you stay up to date on the latest trends and ahead of the competition. 

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