Enhance your SERPs with JSON-LD

03 Apr 2017 - Graham Campbell

If you own or maintain a website that provides a revenue stream, then a large percentage of your organic traffic will be driven from Google Search.<br/><br/>This article will show you how to get a psychological advantage over your competition before users even hit your website.

Imagine this…

Bob wants to buy his girlfriend some “Lego Tape”. Mainly because Bob wants some Lego Tape. (Lego Tape is a real thing by the way. You should probably own some.)

He types this into Google and gets the following results.

Google SERPS for term Lego Tape

One of the results stands out from the rest though.

Google Individual SERP with extended info

We can see a couple of pieces of extra information here that don’t appear in the rest of the SERP listings.

  • US$14.99 - A Price
  • In Stock - Availability of the item.

At this point Bob is able to make a more informed decision as to what he can expect when he arrives at the other end of the Google Search result.

He knows the price, in a certain currency, and he knows that this shop already has this product in stock. But, the key thing is, he doesn’t know this about any of the other search listings, even for that sneaky first place Amazon listing.

If we imagine a scenario where we have 10 competing organisations in the first search result page, any psychological advantage to inform users as to what your proposition is before they arrive at your store will add footfall, increasing revenue, so you, or your client will have more money. Easy.

How does that work…

By providing structured data, in this case JSON-LD, that Google can digest as it crawls the website. JSON-LD allows you to describe the type, and individual attributes of your data, which is then available as a consumable object to Google et al.

The semantic web that was supposed to arrive with HTML5 was never really as contextual as it was meant to be, and for a while Microdata tagging of individual elements within markup was used for this purpose.

That was always a pretty messy affair, and meant markup of the site become a bit of a nightmare to maintain, and introduced bloat to an already crowded developer landscape.

JSON-LD does away with all of that.

Types and Attributes

There are many other properties of a product of page that we can annotate using JSON-LD too, and many different types that we can associate our data with.

Attributes

Here are just a few of the attributes that you can point out that have a good chance of appearing in user search listings.

  • Price (including currency)
  • Stock Availability
  • SKU of product
  • Breadcrumbs - show the position of this page within the wider context of your site.
  • Reviews - You can provide an overall rating, and count of reviews.
  • Organisation - The headline details for your shop or business(things like telephone number or geo-position).
  • Who created this document.
  • Created / Updated dates.
  • Special offers. including relevant dates when the offer might apply.

Types

“Types” allow us to hint at the possible object content of our JSON-LD. These provide context as to what the subject of the information might be.

Below are just a few of the types available. Check out the links at the bottom of the page for further details.

  • Product - sales sites
  • Organisation - all sites
  • VideoGame - many extended properties here that are VideoGame and Game specific
  • Article - A news story perhaps.
  • Course - A university, eLearning, college or school course.

Read our next post on how to implement this in markup

Further Reading

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