Technical SEO Guide: Writing Effective Structured Data Using JSON-LD | SEOblog.com

Technical SEO Guide: Writing Effective Structured Data Using JSON-LD

Cyrel Nicolas
Technical SEO Guide: Writing Effective Structured Data Using JSON-LD

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It’s no longer a secret: Using JSON-LD as an implementation format is one of the most effective, easiest ways to read and write structured data on the web. Thanks to the Schema.org vocabulary, you can expand your limits when it comes to linked data formatting and operation.

While a lot of developers and senior SEOs already use and revere this encoding method, many are left wondering how it all works. Beginners or curious SEO strategists have found it confusing when trying to use this method in reality. However, JSON-LD is easier to understand and to implement than most people think. Here’s what you need to know.

The Anatomy of JSON-LD

Before you can fully grasp using this method for marking on-page content, it’s essential to completely understand what makes the format what it is and how to identify its unique qualities.

As a developer, you likely have an idea of what the framework looks like and what it consists of. If you’re a budding SEO master, then you need to familiarize yourself with what structured data should be.

To start things off, know that JSON-LD should have a <script> tag. This immutable tag should be what you first see and what is considered your identifying factor for the data. Then, after the opening <script> tag and before the closing <script> tag, you’ll notice an open curly brace and a closing curly brace, respectively. You can check this script using Google Structured Data Testing Tool.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the braces just yet. Instead, keep in mind that in between these two curly braces is where you’ll find all the structured data. And as you build out your markup, you’ll likely need additional curly braces. This keeps things organized as you progress into the method.

Next in line would be quotation marks and colons for each time you call a Schema type or a property. The quotation marks are for wrapping information while the colons are for field separation. 

If there is more information coming, this is where and when you use commas. And, when you call a property with more than two entries, you can use an open bracket and enclose it with a closed bracket.

Finally, there’s the need for inner curly braces for enclosing information on a property that has an expected type.

Nest

Nesting is essential if you value accuracy when marking up JSON-LD. This process involves the nesting doll analogy as a means of organizing information in layers. It also works for objects which contain other objects.

Here are a few tips to effectively use JSON-LD nesting:

  • Use the item property that’s specific to the item type
  • Always put the value within curly braces
  • Identify the item type of the property
  • Do not add a comma before the closing curly bracket
  • Add a comma after the closing curly bracket only IF there are more item properties
  • Indent nested elements for better readability

Writing Structured Data

When it comes to creating structured data markup, there are many methods from which you can choose. One of the easiest ways is to use an online generator.

Whether you are an SEO freelancer or a beginner, online generators allow you to create a baseline markup to start and save time as well.

Search online for a markup generator and choose a page and markup type. Then, all you’ll need to do is fill in the required information to create the baseline for your home page. The online generator does the hard part for you.

Another option for writing structured data is through the use of a text editor, especially if you want to go beyond the presets that online generators provide. With a text editor, you can customize your structured data markup and take full control. If this method works for you and you’re happy to spend the money, you simply download a text editor and put the work in. Depending on the editor you choose, you can find a corresponding tutorial to help you do the job. 

Markup Tips

Here are some of the top things you should be careful of when creating and using structured data.

  • Properties Are A Priority

When using properties, make sure that they match the type you reference. This will ensure that you are giving the right information.

  • Never Use Unnecessary Characters Or Quotes

JSON-LD requires certain special characters for different purposes, and we’ve covered that above already. Apart from that, avoid using other characters and quotes as it will prevent Google from parsing the structured data.

  • Be Familiar With The Vocabulary

Use Schema.org as your reference for the most common vocabulary used for the method. Learn about the available types, properties, and interactions that are essential to get the most out of your structured data for your site.

  • Mind The Case

The JSON-LD framework is case-sensitive, as are Schema.org types and properties. Be extra careful on your capitalization.

  • Be Clear With The Information

Since you are creating structured data, it’s crucial to be clear when providing information on the page. Do not misinterpret or alter any information as this may lead to some issues. For instance, users may not see the code or the results at all because of vague or obscure information.

  • Test And Validate

To ensure that your code has no issues, consider using a markup testing tool that can allow you to explore the structure of your data. Use this tool to review what you did and help you debug any errors faster and easier.

Conclusion

For adding structured data to your website, using the JSON-LD format is one of the best for many reasons. It doesn’t affect page performance, it’s easy to use and can be reused, and it leverages on linked data. And ultimately, Google prefers websites that use JSON-LD form for structured data, thanks to the concept of becoming linked.

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