Search engines and other digital tools that look at the content of web pages look at the underlying code that generates the web page. The attractiveness of the site is of little importance to such tools (mostly search engines) but the structure and layout of the resultant HTML code (after dynamic processing) is of utmost importance.

Structure The Data For Greater Visibility

In general, the formatting and text of a web page is what it is looked at the most by search engines to determine what the content is about. The formatting (bold, emphasis, titles, etc.) helps further highlight what the content is about, the topic of the content if you will.

While that if of great importance, there are other elements of a web page that have value. If a web page represents a product for example, the page could display several prices throughout out, but in general the search egine won’t know what the sale price is, unless of course it is formatted corrected.

This is called structured data. Using special tags to let search engines Google what the specific elements are, like price, ratings, amount, etc. can make the content bring new ways to present the data in search results.

When searching for recipes in Googl’es recipes search for example, a properly formatted recipe on your site might give you a better chance of ranking when a user searches for “recipes with seaweed.” Also, at a glance, users may see ratings for the recipe, or other valuable data (if structured properly) to further determine relevance.

Use Existing Tools To Structure Data

Google has a highlighting tool that was introduced a couple years back that lets you define the structures for a web site that has been claimed in Google Webmaster Tools.

Basically it lets you higlight certain sections of a web page, not the code but the “pretty” version, and tell Google what that particular piece of data represents. You can highlight a sale price for a product and tell Google that is the “sale price,” which it may never have known otherwise.

The highlighter is flawed in a sense, at least in terms of moving towards standardization. Sure, it is simple, but it doesn’t change the raw HTML, it only tells Google about the structure of the page.

Use The Structured Data Markup Helper

Google has recently launched a Structured Data Markup Helper tool that takes the Highlighter a step further. It works the same way initially but it also provides the “raw” code to allow web masters to edit their web site.

This has benefit so Google doesn’t have to index a different version of your web pages, plus it allows other sites to make use of the structured data.

Sites like Pinterest (who recently began indexing and structuring recipes) can utilize the standardized structured data to display content rather than force web owners to use proprietary code that does the same exact thing.

Now, with the tool you might not just want to copy and paste the resultant code that Google provides directly into your site. Depending on how your site is sturctured, especially if it is a templated content management system, the elements may have to be put in place one at a time. This tool should make the process a lot simpler than doing it all by hand though.

Now you can structure data like: Articles, Movies, TV Shows, Software, Events, Products, Businesses and Restaurants.