JSON-LD

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Definition

JSON-LD, which is an abbreviation of Javascript Object Notation for Linking Data, is a method for structuring data in a way that’s easy for machines, like search engine crawlers, to read and understand. It does this by providing search engines more context by interlinking data and formatting it efficiently.

It is used to help search engines better understand the elements on a page, allowing them to create more dynamic search experiences for their users.

What is JSON-LD used for?

JSON-LD is a form of structured data used by SEOs and web developers to help search engines understand the information and different elements on a page. This can benefit a site’s performance in the SERPs by making it easier for search engines to know when a page should be shown to their users.

Search engines use this structured data to provide users with more information about a page directly in the SERPs. These search results are also called rich snippets and make the results more dynamic, allowing searchers to better understand what a website offers before clicking through.

Some of the rich features search engines may add to search results with JSON-LD are:

  • Author name – The author’s name can be displayed in the SERPs if a given search engine deems it relevant.
  • Reviews – If there are reviews on your page or on an external platform like Google My Business, they may be displayed in the SERPs if relevant to that page.
  • Recipe information – More information on a recipe can be displayed in search results, making it easier for users to find the right webpage.
  • Product price – The price of products is commonly displayed in shopping results, improving the user experience by allowing them to browse products in the main SERPs.
  • Search engine knowledge panels – Knowledge panels provided by search engines generally take information from the Google Knowledge Graph, which uses structured data like JSON-LD.

JSON-LD

An example of the Google knowledge panel when searching for Chicago

The difference between JSON-LD and other structured data

JSON stands for Javascript Object Notation and is what JSON-LD is based on. JSON is a data format that’s very easy for both people and machines to read and process.

The main difference between JSON and JSON-LD is JSON-LD’s implementation of Schema.org. This makes it possible for web crawlers to better understand the information on a webpage. JSON-LD is the preferred method for marking up data according to Google[1].

Microdata is another form of structured data that can be implemented by web developers. Microdata is also compatible with most major search engines, but the use of JSON-LD is generally preferred by search engines and is therefore considered best practice.

JSON-LD is often added to the head of a page, whereas microdata is often added in the body.

Example of JSON-LD

The example article below has been used to generate the JSON-LD below on Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.

The article:

<H1>JSON-LD and SEO</H1>
<p>JSON-LD can improve your site’s SEO performance because it helps search engines understand what a page is about. It also helps your site stick out in the SERPs, helping to improve your CTR.
Major search engines like Google encourage SEO specialists to use JSON-LD to improve their performance.</p>
 
 
<p>Article written and published by John Doe on 10/05/2020, for CompanyABC.”</p>

JSON-LD

<script type="application/ld+json">
 {
"@context" : "http://schema.org",
"@type" : "Article",
"name" : "JSON-LD and SEO",
"author" : {
"@type" : "Person",
"name" : "John Doe"
},
"datePublished" : "2020-10-05",
"articleBody" : "JSON-LD can improve your site’s SEO performance because it helps search engines understand what a page is about. It also helps your site stick out in the SERPs, helping to improve your CTR.\nMajor search engines like Google encourage SEO specialists to use JSON-LD to improve their performance.",
"publisher" : {
"@type" : "Organization",
"name" : "CompanyABC"
  }
}
</script>

Google’s structured data markup tool

Google’s structured data markup helper makes it easier for webmasters to implement structured data on their site. The tool supports both JSON-LD and microdata and the final code can be tested using the Rich Results Test and the Structured Data Testing Tool.

Its importance for SEO

JSON-LD provides web developers and SEOs with a method of structuring data in a way that’s easy for search engines to process. This data helps search engines improve the way search results are displayed in the SERPs, improving a website’s click-through rate and other important user signals, making it an important tool for improving a site’s SEO performance.

References

  1. Understand how structured data works Google Search Central. Retrieved 27 April 2021.

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