We will show you all the different ways to use structured data with WordPress and gain a serious SEO advantage over your competition. In recent years, Google has been making a shift towards rich results and with the booming use of smart devices, having structured data on your website is becoming more important than ever.

1. What is Structured Data?

You can think of structured data as a tool you can use to provide Google with more detailed information about a page. This will not only help Google get a better understanding of what your website is about, but it will also allow it to produce the so-called "rich results" that Internet users love so much.

Rich results (aka "rich snippets") are graphically- or informationally-enhanced results that include more details than the traditional Google search results in the form of a simple blue link.

Here is an example of what "rich results" look like. If you make a search for "world's best pizza recipe", you'd notice that Google would show several (in this case three) rich results at the very top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) that contain an image, the actual ingredients, the time to cook the recipe, and an average rating. These results are based on special type of structured data, called "recipe".

You got that right. Cooking recipes have turned into an actual structured type, and there are a number of other data types available.

Google Rich Results

2. What is Schema.org?

Schema.org was developed collaboratively by the largest search engines (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex) to "create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data on the Internet, on web pages, in email messages, and beyond." On the schema.org website, you will find the complete list of all the existing schemas along with the actual copy code examples that you can adjust and use on your own website.

Here is an example of the code structure for the Organization Schema markup (which we will cover later in this post), as defined by Schema.org in JSON-LD format:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
 "context":"https://schema.org",
 "graph":[
    {
        "@type":"Organiztion",
        "@id:"https://hectohost.com/#organization",
        "name":"Hecto Host",
        "url":"https://hectohost.com",
        "email":"[email protected]",
        "logo":{
            "@type":"ImageObject",
            "url":"https://hectohost.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/HectoLogo.png"
            }
    },        
    {
    "@type":"Website",
    "@id":"https://hectohost.com/#website",
    "url":"https://hectohost.com",
    "name":"Hect Host",
    "publisher":{
        "@id":"https://hectohost.com/#organization"
        },
}

3. Google's List of Supported Structured Data Types

Google is constantly expanding its list of supported features that can be displayed as rich results, so you should monitor it on a regular basis. Whenever a new feature is introduced, this provides a huge opportunity for website owners and marketers to take advantage of it as soon as possible and gain an edge over their competitors.

You can check out the complete list here. Some of the more widely used ones are: Article, Book, Event, FAQ, How-to, Product.

4. How Structured Data Can Help You

Structured data (Schema markup) is growing tremendously in terms of importance as search engines increasingly look for new and improved ways of presenting results to users. The thing is that not a lot of websites are making use of it, and that could be a huge opportunity for you to tap into. When utilized correctly, structured data elements can quickly shoot up your website at the top of search results.

In addition, your structured data content can appear on various voice search services, such as Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa, etc. That's another serious traffic source that's projected to keep growing in terms of popularity and usage. When users ask the Google Assistant something, your answer in a FAQ structured data element could come up as one of the results. Of course, Google adds a link to the website from which the answer was taken, and that's how people can find and go to your website.

5. Utilizing FAQ Structured Data

The FAQ structured data (or FAQ schema) is really easy to add to your WordPress website, yet its SEO impact can be significant.

As you know, a FAQ section contains a list of common questions on a particular topic and their respective answers. You'd notice that whenever you make a search for something, Google would show the adds, the actual results, and also a "People also ask" section, and that's where the FAQ structured data comes into play.

The "People also ask" section typically appears near the top of SERPs, and that's great for the overall CTR. It's powered by all these correctly implemented FAQ structured data sections on certain websites, and yours could be one of them.

There are a number of ways to create FAQ structured data type with WordPress. All these methods, however, revolve around using a particular plugin. It's quite likely that you are already using an SEO plugin, and if you are not, stop right here, and read our previous blog post on How To Improve the Google Ranking of Your WordPress Website – The ULTIMATE 2022 Guide.

So if you are using the default WordPress editor (Gutenberg) and YoastRankMath, or All in One SEO Pack, we will show you just how to add FAQ Schema to your page. And if you are using Elementor, we will show you an alternative approach as well.

But before we proceed, check out Google's guidelines for FAQs with structured data, and make sure you meet the requirements. Here are the ones that stand out:

βœ… An FAQ page written by the site itself, with no way for users to submit alternative answers.

βœ… Must contain multiple questions with answers.

βœ… Both the question and answer are visible on the page.

Basically, you need unique content for your Questions and Answers (not copied from another website), and you cannot use questions/answers submitted by users (such as a forum). It's also important to make sure that your FAQ section is visible on your website.

5.1 Adding FAQ Structured Data with Yoast

If you are using the Yoast plugin, it's really easy to add a FAQ schema to a post or page. Just click on the plus sign to add a new block, and make a search for "Yoast FAQ". Then, you will just have to enter the questions and the corresponding answers. Note that you can add as many entries as you want. Of course, you should look to add questions that are common, but it's also really important that you add value to the existing topic. You should look to provide quality answers that are unique and precise.

yoast add faq schema
If you are using Yoast, it's really easy to add a FAQ schema. Just click on the plus sign to add a new block, and make search for "Yoast FAQ".
yoast faq schema
The next step is to enter the questions and the corresponding answers.

5.2 Adding FAQ Structured Data with All In One SEO

The Authors of the All In One SEO plugin have taken a somewhat different approach to the implementation of FAQ schema in WordPress, and there are some serious drawbacks to it, at least in my book.

First off, if you use their plugin and decide to create a FAQ rich snippet, it would not be visible on your actual website. It will only appear in the schema markup source code of your post/page. This is in direct conflict with Google's requirements listed above, so it's really odd that the developers of this plugin have decided to take this approach.

Another drawback to using AIOSEO to create FAQ schema markups is that this particular feature is part of their paid version of the plugin. With that said, we would not go any further with step-by-step details on doing it. You can refer to their documentation linked above in case you have the Pro license for it.

Adding FAQ structured data with AIOSEO is only available with their paid/Pro version.

5.3 Adding FAQ Structured Data with Rank Math

The process of adding FAQ structured data with Rank Math is easy and quite similar to the one with Yoast. Basically, they have a specially designed Gutenberg Block for this task, so if you have the Rank Math plugin installed, all you need to do is add that particular block and enter the questions and corresponding answers. The plugin will take care of generating the necessary code structure for you. And, the actual FAQ section will be visible on the page or post where you've decided to add it.

Search for the FAQ for Rank Math block to easily add a FAQ schema to your post/page.
Afterwards, it's only a matter of entering your questions and answers.

5.4 Adding FAQ Structured Data With Elementor

Both the Yoast and Rank Math plugins provide a FAQ block that's only available for the Gutenberg editor for WordPress. However, if you've been using Elementor to build your WordPress website, then you won't have a direct block from Yoast or Rank Math to easily create a FAQ section on one of your posts or pages.

There is an alternative way to make a FAQ section with Elementor that Google will in turn identify as a valid FAQ structured data element. The way to do it in Elementor is by using the Toggle widget. In fact, we've used it to create the FAQ section on the Home page of our hectohost.com website. You can refer to the screenshots below to see the actual Elementor widget we've used and the output from Google's Rich Results Test that we will cover later in this tutorial.

When using Elementor, you can create a valid FAQ schema item by adding the Toggle widget.
Google's Rich Results Test confirms the validity of our FAQ section added with Elementor's Toggle widget.

6. Make An Entry In Google's Knowledge Graph Using Organization Structured Data

Our next example of putting the Schema.org markups to use is with the Organization structured data type. Its idea is to provide a description of the organization (a company, business or institution) or individual that's identified as the publisher of the website. Google uses the Organization structured data (along with other data) to generate the result you'd see in the upper right corner of the SERPs when you look up a company, for example. Of course, that's if the Googlebot is able to find that data on their website.

google knowledge graph
When you make a search for a given company, the highlighted result on the right side is generated from several types of data among which is the Organization schema.

Using the Organization structured data type will also make an entry in Google's Knowledge Graph. In fact, the result highlighted in red in the above screenshot is known as a "Knowledge Panel" and you can see that it takes up a lot of high profile real-estate on the results page.

If you are running a company, it's certainly a good thing to have an entry for it in Google's Knowledge Graph, as it will be used as an answer whenever someone makes a search for your brand. Given the prominent position of this particular type of result, it will help people easily find useful details about your business, such as your contact phone, address, and your actual website.

The logo used in the Knowledge Graph is taken from the "Logo" parameter of the Organization structured data. The Yoast plugin allows you to set the Organization name and logo from the Search Appearance menu > Knowledge Graph and Schema.org.

The actual description of the organization is usually taken from Wikipedia, so it's a good idea to add a Wiki page for your business.

With the All In One SEO plugin, the Organization schema is entered on step three of the initial configuration wizard. As you can see on the screenshot below, you will have to select between person and organization, enter the organization name, phone, logo, and you can also connect your various social media accounts.

All In One SEO Organization Schema
With the All In One SEO plugin, the Organization schema is entered on step three of the initial configuration wizard.

The case is quite similar with Rank Math as you are prompted to enter the Organization schema during the setup wizard - step 2 ("Your Site"). That's where you would enter your Business Type, Company Name, and Logo for Google.

rank math organization schema
With Rank Math, you are prompted to enter the Organization schema on step 2 of the setup wizard.

7. Create WordPress Posts With Article Structured Data

Using Article structured data for your posts, particularly if you are running a news website, can seriously improve your appearance on the Google SERP.

Have you noticed the "Top stories" results shown by Google? Well, they all use the Article structured data type. Now, we don't want to have your hopes too high for that one as when it comes to "Top Stories", it's really difficult to get featured there as the main competitors are news websites like CNN, NBC, BBC, NY Times, and so on. However, it definitely won't hurt your SEO ranks if you try, and you do have a shot at ranking for more local type of content/news, or basically any type of story that's not well covered.

Again, you can use any of the top three SEO plugins for WordPress to apply the Article structured type for all of your Posts and/or Pages, or set it explicitly per Post/Page. In fact, all three plugins (Yoast, AIOSEO, Rank Math) set Article as the default Schema type for all Posts and Pages. Of course, it's still recommended that you check and make sure that this option is active in your case.

With Yoast, this setting is under their SEO menu > Search Appearance > Content Types. There, you should expand the Posts and Pages menus to regulate each setting.

If you are using Rank Math, go to the Rank Math menu on your WordPress dashboard > Titles & Meta > Posts/Pages. There, select the Schema Type of your choice.

Again though, this option is limited to just the paid version of the All In One SEO plugin, so if you are using the free one, you will not be able to regulate the Schema type for your Posts and Pages in WordPress.

8. Earn "Star Ratings" in SERPs

Ever wondered how these star ratings are shown under some results when doing a Google search? The answer lies in the proper use of structured data.

It's a well known fact that a person's buying decision is often based on the experience that others have had with the product. That's the reason why people reading product reviews online pay close attention to the star ratings, even if they don't consciously admit it.

The Star ratings in SERPs are based on the Review Rich Snippet, but they are not applicable to all schema types. When the Star ratings were first introduced, they were quickly exploited by some marketers and the search results got filled up with all types of reviews, most of them being completely false.

Google pulled the plug on that in 2019 with the introduction of "algorithmic updates to reviews in rich results." To limit abuse, Google restricted the use of the Star ratings to the following Schema types: Book, Course, Event, Product, Recipe, Software Application, Movie. In addition, self-serving reviews were no longer allowed for LocalBusiness and Organization types.

In other words, it's no longer possible for a company to add a review rating of its own services. Of course, they could do it if they really want to, but it will not show up in the search results in this Review Rich Snippet format.

Here are some of the important features of the Rich Review Snippet as defined by Google:

πŸ“™ A review snippet is a short excerpt of a review or a rating from a review website, usually an average of the combined rating scores from many reviewers.

πŸ’‘When Google finds valid reviews or ratings markup, we may show a rich snippet that includes stars and other summary info from reviews or ratings.

⭐ In addition to the text of the review, a rating is an evaluation described on a numeric scale (such as 1 to 5).

πŸ“– Review snippets may appear in rich results or Google Knowledge Panels. 

This feature could be really useful if you are running some a review type of website. When implemented correctly, your review can come up as one of the results whenever a search is made for the actual product, book, software app, or one of the other applicable schema types.

Here is an example of how the Star Ratings system works with Google. In this case, we've made a search for "whiskey review", and Google has come up with a rich result at the middle of the page featuring the "Top 24 Whiskey" list.

The results in that list are taken from certain websites that Google views as authoritative on the subject, and the actual ratings are taken from the ratings on each website. The quoted ratings are "an average of the combined rating scores from many reviewers" as defined by Google as a valid rating from a review website.

When it comes to implementing a Star rating system (that would be eligible to appear in Google's rich results) to reviews in your WordPress website, Rank Math is the only way to go. The Yoast plugin does not support that feature out of the box, while All In One SEO offer a somewhat limited functionality with their licensed (Pro) version.

So your only shot at a straightforward integration of the Star rating review system on a WordPress website is by using Rank Math. With Rank Math, to add reviews to one of your posts or pages, open it for Editing, go to the Rank Math menu for that post/page which is in the upper right corner, and click on the Schema Generator.

A dialogue will pop up and that's where you can select schema type, so you'd have to select one that's compatible with the Star ratings (Book, Course, Event, Product, Recipe, Software Application, Movie). When you select one of these types, you will be asked to enter the name of the review author, the actual rating score (1 to 5 by default).

Once you've entered the required review information, you can add it wherever you want on your post/page by pasting the following Rank Math shortcode:

[rank_math_rich_snippet]

9. Check The Validity of Your Structured Data

Whenever you are working with structured data, it's crucial that you ensure that are no validation errors. Your markup code must be absolutely correct. Otherwise, Google will simply discard it.

Validating your structured data is really simple with Google's Rich Results Test. You just need to enter the URL of the page that contains it, and you will see if there are any errors or warnings. Warnings are safe to disregard, but you should definitely take care of the errors (if any).

10. Analyze Your Traffic Periodically

After you've added and tested your structured data, it's really important to monitor the performance of your website via the Google Search Console. The reports accessible via the Performance menu there will show you just how often your website comes up as a rich result on Search, how frequently users click it and what's your average position. You should also keep an eye for any errors.

Conclusion

Using structured data for your WordPress website will allow you to get a crack at those rich results that have been booming on Google in recent years. Your structured data content can also appear on various voice search services such as Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa. Ultimately, the use of structured data can help you bring more organic traffic to your website.

Another great thing about structured data is that it can help you get listed on the very top of SERPs in a rather short time frame. There are cases where Google would start showing a structured data result in just two days after its first crawl. Still though, you have to keep in mind that just because your website has structured data does not mean that Google will show it.

You would have to use a plugin to get the job done, and based on our experience with the top three SEO plugins for WordPress, Rank Math provides the largest number of options and overall support for structured data with their free version of the plugin.

Author

Filip Finkov has been working at ICDSoft since 2012. Whenever he is not working or writing about himself in third person, he likes to spend time with his family and venture into the seas and mountains.

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