Structured data on a website is data organized in a precise and standardized way, usually in the form of tables or databases. They allow information to be stored and managed efficiently and made easily accessible.
Structured data can include information about products on an e-commerce site, articles on a blog, events on a calendar, and more. They are generally used to populate web pages and can be used by computer programs to carry out analyzes and automated processing.
There are several reasons why it can be useful to have structured data on your website:
Facilitate information management: structured data allows information to be stored in an organized and standardized manner, which makes it easier to manage.
Improve the quality of information: By using structured data, it is easier to ensure that data is accurate and up to date, which can improve the quality of information presented on the site.
Optimize SEO: Search engines are placing increasing importance on structured data, and can better understand and index site content if it is organized in a structured way.
Facilitate access to data: structured data is easy to query and exploit by computer programs , which can be useful for setting up advanced functionalities (advanced search, personalized recommendations, etc.) or for carrying out analyzes and automated processing.
Improve user experience: By presenting information in a structured and organized way, it is easier for users to find and understand the information they are looking for, which can improve their experience on the site.
It is true that structured data can help improve a website's ranking in search engines. Here's how :
Make page indexing easier: Structured data can help search engines better understand page content and index them more accurately.
Provide contextual information: Structured data can provide additional information on pages (such as the price of a product, the date of an event, etc.), which can help search engines better understand the context of pages and rank them more relevantly in search results.
Promote the display of rich snippets: Structured data can be used to display rich snippets in search results, which can attract user attention and improve page click-through rates.
However, it is important to note that structured data is only one element among others that can influence the SEO of a site . It is also necessary to take into account other factors such as the quality of the content, the presence of quality external links, the performance of the site , etc.
Structured data can also be used to improve the presentation and display of content on social networks. By using structured data tags (such as those offered by Facebook's Open Graph data schema, for example), it is possible to specify how content on your site should be displayed and presented when shared on social networks. . For example, you can specify an image to use as illustration, a title and description for sharing, etc.
By using these tags, you can control the appearance of your content when shared on social networks, which can help improve its visibility and attractiveness to users. This can be particularly useful for e-commerce sites, which can use structured data to attractively present products for sale.
Here are some best practices to follow when it comes to structured data on a website:
Use standardized data schemas: there are several standardized data schemas (like schema.org) that allow you to describe in a precise and standardized way different types of information (products, articles, events, etc.). Using these schemas makes the data easily understandable by search engines and other computer programs.
Ensure data is accurate and up-to-date: It is important to ensure that structured data is accurate and up-to-date so as not to mislead or disappoint users.
Use structured data tags on web pages: for structured data to be usable, it must be "marked" in the HTML code of web pages using special tags. It is important to respect the syntax and rules of these tags so that the data is correctly interpreted by search engines and other computer programs.
Do not overload web pages with useless structured data: it is useless to "overprice" web pages by adding too much useless structured data. It is only necessary to add structured data that is relevant and useful for the user and for the computer programs.
Test and validate structured data: It is important to test and validate structured data to ensure that it is correct and that the tags used are correctly interpreted by search engines and other computer programs. There are several online tools that can help you test and validate your structured data.
Concretely, we have an example of structured data to describe a product of an e-commerce site, using the schema.org standardized data schema:
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Product">
<h1 itemprop="name">Organic cotton T-shirt</h1>
<img itemprop="image" src="tshirt-coton-biologique.jpg" alt="Organic cotton T-shirt">
<p itemprop="description">A comfortable and eco-friendly T-shirt, made from organic cotton.</p>
<p><strong>Price:</strong> <span itemprop="price" content="19.99">€19.99</span></p>
<p><strong>Availability:</strong> <span itemprop="availability" content="InStock">In stock</span></p>
Here is an example of structured data to describe a service (a yoga class) offered by a website , again using the schema.org standardized data schema:
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Service">
<h1 itemprop="name">Online Yoga Classes</h1>
<img itemprop="image" src="cours-yoga.jpg" alt="Online yoga classes">
<p itemprop="description">Online yoga classes suitable for all levels, to improve your flexibility and well-being.</p>
<p><strong>Price:</strong> <span itemprop="price" content="49.99">€49.99</span></p>
<p><strong>Duration:</strong> <span itemprop="duration" content="PT1H30M">1h30</span></p>
In these examples, the structured data is "marked" in the HTML code using "itemprop" tags which indicate the type of data (name, image, price, etc.) and "content" tags which contain the value of the data.
Here is an example of structured data tags using Facebook's Open Graph data schema, which can be added to the HTML of a web page to specify how page content should be displayed when shared on Facebook :
<meta property="og:title" content="Organic cotton T-shirt" />
<meta property="og:type" content="product" />
<meta property="og:image" content="tshirt-coton-biologique.jpg" />
<meta property="og:url" content="https://www.mon-site.com/tshirt-coton-biologique" />
<meta property="og:description" content="A comfortable and eco-friendly T-shirt, made from organic cotton." />
<meta property="og:site_name" content="My e-commerce site" />
<meta property="og:price:amount" content="19.99" />
<meta property="og:price:currency" content="EUR" />
In this example, "meta" tags with properties "og:title", "og:type", "og:image", etc. allow you to specify the title, type, image, URL, description, site name and price of the product to display when the page is shared on Facebook. There are many other Open Graph properties that can be used to describe different types of content (articles, events, etc.).
In short, it is useful to use structured data for a service or e-commerce website to facilitate the management and organization of information, to improve the quality of information presented on the site or on social networks, to optimize the SEO of the site, to facilitate access to data for robots & to improve the user experience by making information more easily accessible and understandable.
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