All that hard work optimising your site’s rich snippets, structured data, and structured mark-up will likely pay off in the future, as Google hinted these elements might soon be part of their ranking factors. This is good news if your on-page optimisation and other SEO services include site and content structure improvements.
Little Things Might Soon Pay Off
The search giant has said time and again that meta data, structured mark-ups and the like are not factors their algorithm uses to make web pages rank better. They said that having the rich snippets helps improve user experience as it gives them a glimpse of the page, but it won’t directly lead to pages ranking better on the SERPs.
That will likely change in the future.
Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller said in a recent Google Hangout (at the 21:40 mark of the video) that “…I think, over time, [structured mark-up] is something that might go into the rankings as well.”
Mueller reiterates that for now, structured data are still not ranking factors, but they do improve click rate if done right. Users are more likely to visit your pages if the rich snippets give them valuable information, and not just calls to action or contact details. This is one of the reasons structured data, rich snippets, and other content are part of any comprehensive on-page optimisation works. Professional SEO services include even the small things, anything that can help with user experience and site rankings.
Paints a Better Picture
Mueller explains that structured mark-ups may help users searching for “jaguar”, for instance, by providing a snippet that this is about jaguar the car, not jaguar the animal.
“If we can recognize someone is looking for a car, we say oh well, we have these pages that are marked up with structured data for the car, so probably they are pretty useful in that regard. We don’t have to guess if this page is about the car or the animal,” Mueller explained.
In the long run, it definitely makes sense to use structured data, but don’t assume it will result in automatic, drastic increase in rankings for your website. Any professional SEO agency that knows what they are doing will tell you that just like most SEO best practices, structured mark-up will play a small part in the bigger picture.