Adding structured data to your website can be a wise move for your digital marketing if you want to gain organic traffic from search engines. In this article, we will discuss the reasons why nowadays you need structured data to compete on the SERP, what’s the impact of structured data and what’s its usage around the web.

The ROI of Structured Data

A short premise

Marketing is all about intercepting the right potential clients to increase sales of products or services. Under the names of different techniques and tactics, that’s it really. Digital marketing and SEO are no exceptions to this rule. In the end of the day, marketers and business owners need to know how the marketing effort is going to pay back.

Structured data and knowledge graphs are the core of our SEO services, here at WordLift, and working with a wide range of clients from different countries and industries, there are a few questions that occur quite often:

  1. What’s the impact of structured data on my site in terms of ROI?
  2. How do I measure the impact of structured data on my SEO strategy?
  3. What’s the real business value that comes with structured data?

The point, behind each of these questions is: how does structured data impact my bottom line?

Although the answer can be very specific for each business, combined with the characteristics of its website and vertical, it’s generally true that structured data nowadays can create a competitive advantage SEO, content findability, and content reuse.

What’s the impact of structured data on SEO?

Recently, Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, clarified that structured data is optional and does not impact search rankings. Although the context of this conversation was very specific (adding the property “calories” to a recipe), the case can be considered paradigmatic of Google approach.

If fact, the official Twitter account of Google Search Liaison states that structured data is an option and that it is not required for rankings, BUT also adds that…

  1. “Using it may simply help pages that already rank well appear more attractive to potential visitors” — In fact structured data allows Google present content as rich results which highlight that content on the SERP and therefore results in more clicks.
  2. “Aside from web page listings, Google Search may have some special features where certain basic structured data is required to be eligible to appear, such as carousels.”

As John Mu said once…

So, there is actually an impact in SEO results when you use structured data as schema.org markup makes your content eligible for specific rich results and SERP features — which help your pages gain a higher CTR. Moreover, as suggested by John Mu within the tweet above, structured data helps search engines understand web content and serve them to the right users at the right time.

The advantages of structured data go far beyond SEO, and also include opportunities of content reuse, internal findabilty, and semantic analytics.

How many sites are using schema.org in 2020?

Our partner Woorank has crawled more than 20 million websites and checked how many of them are using schema.org today.

As you can guess from the graph below, the web is adapting quite slowly to structured data. Worldwide schema.org usage covers less than one third of the websites — and frontline runners, USA and France, are just slightly above the 40%.

This statistic alone can say that in this context schema.org markup can create a competitive advantage on the SERP. But there’s more.

It’s not just about quantity, it’s about quality

Many sites use schema.org to add a very basic markup. What can make a difference here is:

  • How much granular and accurate the structured data is?
  • What do you do with the data you are publishing?
  • Are you building a knowledge graph that allows you to reuse your data and content?

When you move from a quantity to a quality perspective, a whole new world opens up.

“While Google is sunsetting the support for data-vocabulary.org and we see an increasing usage of structured data in general, the focus becomes data quality. Are we prioritizing the highest converting content on our website? Is the data that we’re adding to our pages both clean and useful, from a search engine perspective? What story are we trying to tell with our data?”

Andrea Volpini, CEO at WordLift

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