“One day Google will flip a switch, and all of the structured data you added to your page will light up like a Christmas tree. Your competitors will be left in the dust.”
I once uttered this phrase while giving a talk on schema.org and structured data to a group of SEO professionals in Philadelphia. My talk covered the basics of structured data, and how to properly implement the code.
As expected, most of the questions I received revolved around “what type of code should I bother with” or “what type of code will get the best results.”
Even though at the time I knew that most implementations of structured data would have little to know value (based on testing), I always knew that one day all of that hard work might actually pay off.
It simply makes too much sense – organized, well-categorized information that helps with disambiguation and entity identification simply has to be useful to Google in some way, especially as technology evolves.
There is no way that a page with nothing other than plain HTML could properly communicate the same level of “certainty” that a similar page with a huge payload of extra meta information could provide.
My generally philosophy has been to focus most of my efforts on implementing the types of structured data that Google recommends.
That being said, the amount of “Types” that can be found on schema.org far outnumbers what Google actually seems to care about. Also, in what I considered to be a very disappointing Hangout from last year, John Mueller and friends basically admitted that Google ignores most structured data that they simply do not know what to do with, or if there is currently no rich snippet available.
Still, adding schema.org code to a page just seems like the wave of the future.
This week, it was reported in several articles on SEMPost that Google will be ramping up its use of structured data:
At Pubcon yesterday, Gary Illyes confirmed that Google is planning to implement more search features to the search results that are pulled from structured data found on webpages.
As part of a longer conversation about schema being used to help Google better understand and rank webpages, he said that Google will be focusing quite a bit on structured data and the types of schema they use for search features.
Here is what he said:
Next year, there will be two things we want to focus on. The first is structured data. You can expect more applications for structured data, more stuff like jobs, like recipes, like products, etc.
Earlier this year Google disrupted the job search market with a new job search box that completely took over the top half of search results. However, “jobPosting” has been listed on schema.org for years. This was a perfect example where anyone that decided to just go with it and implement the proper code might have been first to the market with the new SERPs.
However, this particular implementation required a bit of extra work on the part of the webmaster including adding a jobs specific sitemap.
The point is that structured data is not going away, and it’s going to advance more and more in the year 2018 and beyond.
Most businesses, publishers, and bloggers should look to upgrade their websites to get ahead.