A big part of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is to make sure that Google crawlers can easily parse your web pages and correctly understand its content. One way to reach that goal is to use the HTML tags properly, to provide a meaningful title, use well-written content, etc.
There is a less known way that can help us to convey at least the critical information to the crawler in a clear, plain, and non-ambiguous way. This technique is called Structured Data. It’s not an alternative to proper use of HTML tag, and good content. It’s and optional but powerful complement. Structured Data can boost your website in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
What is Structured Data, and what is JSON-LD?
JSON-LD is an on-page markup that helps Google’s crawlers to understand the content of your web page.
A JSON-LD Complete Example
The JSON-LD example below was generated by the product page template I created for the Novedge eCommerce website. The product described in the JSON-LD is Rhino 3D. It’s a popular software tool for industrial designers developed by Robert McNeel & Associates. You can find this code or an updated version live on the Rhino 3D product page on Novedge eCommerce website.
The meaning of this snippet should be transparent even for a non-programmer. What you see is a JSON description of a product made of SKU, Name, Url, Image, Description, etc. When the Google crawler comes to get the latest version of the web page, it reads the HTML code and recognizes the snippet as a semantic description of the page content. If the JSON fragment is syntactically correct, then it acquires the information and uses it to improve the classification of the page and the comprehension of its content. Differently from pure HTML pages, the crawler doesn’t have to guess what product the page is about, its selling price, or brand. The Structured Data provided with the JSON-LD snippet clearly and unequivocally describes the content of the page. No guessing or complex analysis required.
JSON-LD and SEO
When a page supports Google crawler by providing machine-readable information, such as JSON-LD, directly inside the HTML, the page is rewarded by Google with preferential SEO treatment. The page receives a small but essential push in the page ranking. SEO performance improvement is noticeable.
a page that includes JSON-LD snippets gets rewarded by Google with higher Page Ranking
On the snapshot below (where I intentionally removed the ads), you can see the same web page showing up on the 1st page for one of the most popular searches related to the product offered, after the manufacturer page and Wikipedia.
Many websites are not yet implementing Structured Data, while some others provide syntactically incorrect JSON-LD. While this is regrettable, it is also a great opportunity. My recommendation is to take advantage of this opportunity and add this information to all your pages!
- Before deploying a new JSON-LD snippet, you can test it online on the JSON-LD Playground, a powerful JSON LD checker.
- Once the JSON-LD snippet is included with the HTML of the page, it can be validated with the Google Structured Data Validation Tool.
- If you like to learn more about JSON-LD uses and syntax and also access complete examples, I would recommend the JSON-LD Primer.
- For richer snippets, and to implement cross-references among objects described on different pages, you might need to allocate some time to understand the reference Schema.
- You can also manually generate s JSON-LD snippet using a powerful but simple schema generator online.
A few words from the most famous Google SEO guru: John Mueller.