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Structured data: Our ultimate guide for 2022

Want to liven up your site’s appearance in search results? From product ratings to recipe cards and more, structured data is how to do it. In this guide, we’ll explain how to markup the relevant data, what types of rich results are available, and troubleshoot some common errors.

Rich results are a really exciting way to display your webpages in search engine results. They use so-called “structured data” to generate recipe cards, product reviews, FAQs and lots more, and can turbocharge your clickthrough rates.

Of course, the name structured data sounds very technical and bureaucratic. However, it’s simply data from websites that has been standardized and classified with so-called “markups”. That’s all it is!

These HTML or JavaScript markups tell search engines what category the information on your webpages belongs to, or how it should be classified: for example, “house number”, “picture” or “author”.

This makes it much easier for search engines to process, accumulate, and prepare information on your webpages, then display it as a rich snippet in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

There are over 30 types of rich result possible, including product reviews, event details, cinema times, FAQs and lots more. For the complete list, head here.

Search engines like Google benefit enormously from providing this structured data, as it means they can better present users with the exact information they’re searching for.

Where does Google use structured data?

Almost every time you perform a Google search, structured data comes into play. Google is constantly testing new display options and expanding its capabilities.

Here are some examples of in Google’s SERPs:

1. Recipes:

Google can read out marked-up recipe information (including ingredients, cooking times and nutritional info), and present the data in the search snippet:

Figure 1. Rich snippet for recipes

2. Rich video snippets

These videos are displayed directly in the Google SERPs with a play button. The user learns when and by whom the video was published, and how long it is:

Figure 2. Rich video snippets for YouTube clips

3. Movies and films

Google can extract the screening times of movies, and display them in the SERPs:

Figure 3. Structured data for cinema screenings

4. Rich snippets for event dates

If events (concerts, sports matches…) are correctly marked up, Google can use this information to display a rich snippet:

Figure 4. Rich snippets for events

5. Google Featured Snippets

With Featured Snippets, Google provides users with quick and easy answers to specific questions, and displays them prominently on page 1 of search results:

Figure 5. Google Featured Snippet.

IMPORTANT: Even if you mark up content on your website with certain formats for displaying structured data, there is no guarantee that Google will use it.

However, the use of correct syntax and designation in the markup is a prerequisite for displaying structured data at all!

Why is structured data important?

As you can see from the example above, it enables your website to become much more attractive and visible in the SERPs.

These extra elements – whether rating stars, pictures, or prices – encourage users to click on your search result, therefore increasing your CTRs in the SERPs. This effect should not be underestimated. Think about your own experience when searching for articles. Wouldn’t you rather click on a search result with a picture or star ratings?

Google is now very good at reading and processing content on websites. Keep in mind that you can facilitate Google’s indexing of information not only with the help of markup. Therefore, pay attention to the following aspects when optimizing your webpages:

  • Use bullet point lists for a short summary of a product or article highlights.

  • Create overview tables for product comparisons.

  • Use h-tags to mark your headlines.

  • Offer Google short definitions and summaries on specific issues.

  • Formulate specific questions in headlines. Use questions that a user could actually ask.

As you can see, there are other ways to make it easier for users and Google to search for information besides structured data. So you should not lose sight of these aspects!

What formats are available for structured data?

There are over 30 types of rich result possible, including product reviews, event details, cinema times, FAQs and lots more. For the complete list, head here.

And in terms of how to actually markup structured data, Google supports the following:

  • JSON-LD: This is JavaScript that is built into the source code of the target page. The script refers to text visible to users and gives search engines useful additional information about what data is on the page. The advantage of JSON-LD is that structured data can be integrated dynamically.

  • microdata: microdata are HTML elements that can be used to mark up visible text on a website. The elements always refer to a so-called “type,” which in turn contains various “properties.”

  • RDFa: This format is an extension of HTML 5. The HTML attributes are added to the visible text elements.

How do I implement structured data on my website?

The corresponding content must be marked with markup on each page.

To configure markup for your URLs, you can use Google’s Markup Helper. It will walk you through the process of creating markup for you in microdata HTML or as a JSON-LD script:

Figure 6. Google Markup Helper

For many Content Management Systems there are now separate plug-ins to help do this. For example, WordPress plugins include Schema App Structured Data and WP SEO Structured Data Schema.

If you run an online shop with Shopify or similar, many developers offer plugins or extensions. The advantage of these is that they’ve already been tested by others, so the error rate is lower.

You can use the Google Code Lab to try it out.

Q: Why is my structured data not displayed?

A: Rich results are not guaranteed

Just because you’ve added structured data to your page does not guarantee that it will be shown in the SERPs as a rich snippet.

Why? Google is constantly testing the performance of snippets in the search engine results pages. If, in these tests, the rich snippets does not produce a better search result, Google may forgo displaying it.

Since the search always depends on the user, the location and the device used, it’s not guaranteed that your users will see the same results in the SERPs every time they search.

A: It may be implemented wrong

As a matter of principle, Google always checks whether the data marked with markup reflects the content of the page. If this is not the case, the rich snippets will not be displayed.

The same goes if you’ve marked up data, that is not visible to users on the frontend of the website. For these reasons it’s important that you always check your structured data after embedding.

Structured data guidelines

In order for rich results to be displayed in the Google search results, certain guidelines must be followed. If you violate Google’s policies and use structured data for spam purposes, you risk losing rankings.

  • Use RDFa, Microdata or JSON-LD

  • Let the Googlebot crawl your data. Make sure that the crawling is not hindered by the robots.txt or a “noindex” tag.

  • Make sure that the content you tag is up-to-date and correct.

  • Follow the general Webmaster Guidelines.

  • Do not publish fake reviews or ratings

  • Do not tag any illegal content

  • Use all required properties

  • If possible, use all recommended properties

  • Try to use the most suitable type and property names from schema.org for your content

  • If you mark up images, they must be crawlable and indexable

  • If you mark up elements in lists, all other elements must be capable of markup

A detailed overview of Google’s technical guidelines can be found here.

Structured data for ecommerce websites

We recently published a complete guide to this topic, so don’t miss that.

If you run an online shop, you should use structured data for products. This allows you to display ratings as well as prices, price ranges, and availability.

Of course, it’s important that products have ratings to display. Therefore, you should make sure that you have rating options in advance.

Google can now also display structured data in Google Image Search. This increases the chances that your products will be clicked on there as well.

Structured data for publisher websites

If your website has news or editorial articles, you should definitely use the article markup. In addition to the structured specification of article information and information about the author, AMP data can also be marked so that your articles appear in the “news carousel” of the web search.

Structured data for local SEO

It’s particularly suitable for local companies. Google can then use this data in Google Maps and web search. It’s important that you consistently use the same name, address and phone number (the so-called “NAP rule”).

How to check your structured data

You can easily validate your page’s schema markup with the Ryte Structured Data Helper. It will clearly show you syntax errors, missing required properties, and all nested data in one location. You don’t even need to leave the page!

To start, install the Chrome plugin. You’ll then see the Ryte logo appear in the extension bar. Visit any webpage, and click on the Ryte Structured Data Helper to see the structured data on the page.

The parent item types will be highlighted and labeled in blue, and errors are marked in red when a required property (for Google’s rich results) is missing. When a recommended property is missing, it will be flagged in orange.

Structured Data in the Google Search Console

The Google Search Console can help you control your structured data. This free tool detects markup on your site and shows you if there are any implementation errors. It is best to check it regularly. The GSC will automatically create a new section in the menu if the corresponding markup is included.

Figure 8. Error message for the category "Products" in the Google Search Console


Structured data is a great way of improving your presence in the Google SERPs, making your snippet much more attractive and useful to users, and ultimately increasing your clickthrough rates.

Remember – it only makes sense if the content created is up-to-date and offers value to the users. If that’s the case, structured data is an awesome choice for improving your website’s performance in search results!

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Published on Mar 11, 2022 by Editorial Team