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Structured Data and How It Works

Jamie Dinning

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Graphic showing a website in blocks and text 'A guide to structured data and how it works'.

An introduction to structured data

Structured data is one of the best tools available for your web pages.

Want to get your content in front of as many people as possible? SEO is the answer, but you might be wondering:

  1. Is schema the same thing as structured data?
  2. What’s the difference between those two terms and SEO?

We’re here to help.

Schema, structured data, and SEO are all slightly different entities, with their own definitions. But they all have one important thing in common: they can help increase traffic to your website by making sure it’s easier for search engines to find your content.

Head over to our SEO Glossary to learn more SEO definitions.

Structured data refers to a type of code called “semantic markup” that you add to your HTML, which helps search engines understand what your content is about. Schema is a type of structured data vocabulary that covers various types of schema markup (which are different types of structured data) and gives you the opportunity to add more context to your content. And SEO is the overall practice of improving your rankings on Google through a number of different tactics—but both schema and structured data, also known as metadata or structured query language (SQL), are helpful when it comes to practising good SEO and appearing in rich results and search results. This includes providing information such as the calories on a recipe page. Understanding the concept of structured data and its role as a data type is crucial for optimising search engine rankings.

The biggest benefit of schema and structured data? It makes it easier for search engines like Google to understand what your site is about, which helps them serve up your content when people enter related keywords into Google.

What is schema?

You’ve probably heard of schema, and maybe you even know that it helps with your on-page SEO. But do you know what it actually is, or why it’s needed?

The term “schema” refers to a structured data markup that can be added to a webpage’s HTML in order to improve the search engine’s ability to understand what the page is about. It’s also used by other platforms—like Facebook—to determine how a link should be displayed when shared on social media or in an article.

Schema markup is made up of tags – it’s a bit like a vocabulary that the search engines understand – that allow the search engine robots to understand the meaning behind the words on your page. When you use these tags, you’re helping search engines like Google understand what your content means—and not just what words are used.

When search engines better understand your content, they will be able to more accurately match it with relevant search queries, increasing traffic and improving your site’s ranking. and Its Role is a collaborative effort by major search engines to create a common vocabulary for structured data. Websites use markup to provide detailed information about their content, such as product details, reviews, and event information. This standardised approach enhances the consistency and accuracy of data interpretation.

How can my website use Schema to improve my organic SEO rankings?

If you’re wondering what schema types are available for your website, you’ve come to the right place. There are numerous types (#1 is the most common), and we’re going to break some of them down here.

Types of schema

  • Organization (sic): describes your organisation and provides relevant organisation information such as length of time in business, telephone numbers, etc
  • Person: a way to describe, identify, or locate a person.
  • Product: a way to describe or review a product you sell.
  • Recipe: A way to describe the ingredients, nutritional information, and directions for preparing one or more recipes.
  • Review: A way to rate an item (product or business) and include opinions about that item.

The “person” type is used when there’s a human being at the centre of your content. You can use this type to add more depth to your page by providing information about an individual, like their name, job title, contact information, office location, and other important details.

Another type is called “place,” which refers to any physical location in the world. This includes things like cities or countries as well as businesses (like restaurants). It’s important that you include lots of data about these places on your website because Google wants to know where they are located so it can help searchers find them easily when searching online for something nearby! To do so make sure you have added schema markup with all pertinent information such as address phone number etc…

“Product” could be anything from a piece of clothing like jeans or shirts to electronics such as laptops or TVs.

Schema markup is a brilliant option for website owners to do two things:

  1. Give the search engine detailed information about your website
  2. Help your website stand out from organic SEO competitors

Schema provides the search engine with context to the information on your page.

What is Schema for SEO?

Schema is a form of microdata that can be added to a website. It was created following a collaboration between leading search engines – Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yandex – in 2011. Schema markup is especially important to provide search engines with context to the words on your website. This is particularly useful since the Google Hummingbird algorithm update in 2013, which has had a lasting impact on how SEOs and website owners need to adapt their website content to ensure clear, concise and most importantly, user focused content.

Schema specifically is a vocabulary that can be found at and used to markup pieces of information on your website to do just that. Take a look at the example in the below video that shows how Google reads Schema when it is inserted properly on your page.

How can my website use Schema to improve my organic SEO rankings?

There is a range of Schema types that you can use to markup different parts of your website. You can view a full list on the website.

Commonly used Schema types include:

  • Reviews
  • Organization (sic)
  • Products
  • Local Business
  • FAQ
  • Recipes
  • Legal
  • People
  • Articles

Help your website rank and look better by using relevant Schema to stand out in the crowd.

How to use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper

Let’s get to grips with one of several options available to website owners to utilise structured data.

If Google teaming up with major industry competitors wasn’t a big enough hint, then perhaps their step by step Structured Data Markup Helper tool is. Google, and other search engines, want you to use structured data on your website. It’s true.

  1. Visit Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
  2. Choose a type of data that you would like to markup.
  3. Add the URL of the page and select the Start Tagging button to continue to the next step.

How Smart Monkey Marketing can help your website stand out on the internet

Schema is a powerful way to get more targeted traffic from your content, but it shouldn’t be used as the centrepiece of your SEO strategy. You should focus on the four pillars of SEO — keyword research, content quality, link building and technical SEO — before diving into schema.

After you’ve laid the groundwork for your website, you’ll be able to make better use of structured data to help your business rank better in search.

SEO is a crucial component to many businesses, but the ever-changing landscape of search marketing makes it difficult for businesses to stay ahead of the changes required to improve SEO. Working alongside a dedicated search marketing team gives your business the best chance at benefitting from the new and improved search engine optimisation techniques available at any time.

Jamie profile picture

About Jamie

Jamie is an accomplished digital marketing expert with extensive experience in SEO across various industries, both in-house and at agencies. As the leader of our SEO team, Jamie brings a wealth of knowledge and strategic vision to benefit our clients.


We have been perfecting our content marketing skills for over 16 years, using data and tools to know what content to write that will help your website get the results you are looking for. We know what makes content and campaigns work and what doesn’t in many different sectors. We know how to navigate the minefield of setting up campaigns that work on multiple platforms. We are always completely up to date with the different platforms, and we ensure our clients are making the most of their budget. We have a tried and tested process in place that generates results for our clients. There are thousands and thousands of guides, articles, YouTube videos out there that you could use to learn from. However, our clients see the value in using our specialist content marketing expertise, so that they can have confidence in achieving results and can concentrate on running their business.

Our fees for content marketing are based on providing professional resources for research, strategy, creative, implementation and optimisation. We agree with clients on the right amount of time spent each month to achieve the results you are aiming for. We are also proactive about optimising content and moving resource to the best performing campaigns Be wary of anyone quoting the cheapest fees. If a content agency is quoting you rock bottom prices, they are probably taking too many short cuts and they won’t deliver the results you need for your business.

Content marketing gets traction in a similar time to SEO work. It is a longer-term strategy which needs a minimum of 6 months to deliver early results, with the full benefits coming to fruition in 1 – 2 years. Developing content and link building over a period of time, especially through evergreen content, is a key way of establishing a strong position with Google and other search engines.

Our core service is organic SEO linked closely with content marketing, paid search and social – our digital services all work in sync together for our clients. What’s more, we have come from a full service marketing background and so bring a fundamental understanding of marketing – we know what makes audiences tick. The results we deliver show that we are really good at what we do and we are 100% focussed on delivering exceptional digital marketing results for our clients.

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