Structured Data Markup
Structured data benefits
Structured data markup or rich snippets is a new and improved way of communicating your website data to search engines. If implemented properly your search results will show up rich snippets with various information such as product ratings, product prices, event listings, or it makes your local address “machine readable” etc. While structured data doesn’t give you a direct boost in ranking, these rich snippets help users recognize when your site is relevant to their search, and may result in more clicks to your pages. Only 1% of business owners take advantage of rich snippets structured data, which you can use to your advantage.
Structured data implementation
There are two ways of implementing structured data in your website.
- Tell your developer to implement it in the code which provides the snippets for Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
- Google now offers an option in webmaster tools where you can highlight the data without any coding knowledge, however this will show only in Google’s search results
You can test if your website uses structured data using Google Structured Data Tool. Please note that you may need to test a product page or event page.
Meaningful Document Outline
Document Outline benefits
Document outline shows how the content in your website page is organized by sections and importance. It is created by the headings in your document (H1, H2, H3, H4 etc). The main advantage is that people with disabilities using screen readers can better navigate your content. A clear document outline at the moment doesn’t lead to an increased ranking, however not implemented properly could decrease your ranking in the future.
Document Outline implementation
To help you create a meaningful Document Outline, here’s a page structure I have personally researched and tested.
- Add h2 in the website header and footer the shift them off screen which is SEO friendly technique.
- Within Page content keep only one H1 then use H2, H3 as needed. Multiple H2’s, H3’s etc are allowed and recommended.
After implementing a clear structure this is how the outline looks on my website home page:
In contrast, here’s a bad example of document outline that a generic WordPress theme generates:
Here you can test your website with the document outliner tool and see if the structure makes sense for search engines and users. Please note that if you’re using a template it is hard to have control over the document outline.
Faster website loading speed
Website performance has an influence over SEO ranking and plays a major role in user experience. One of the main benefits of the SEO coding is that you can use optimized coding techniques for speed enhancement. Using those would prove to be difficult to implement if you choose to go with a template. Some of these optimization techniques were described in my other article regarding performance.
Explaining your content to search engines using SEO friendly coding techniques such as structured data, keeping your website organized using a meaningful document outline, and last but not least making your website load fast helps more potential customers view your website.