14
Jul
2016

JSON-LD, Schema.org, and the Future of SEO

by Joel Newcomer, Senior Developer
Online Marketing & SEO
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With more and more devices, cars, household items, watches, etc. sharing and accessing data, the need has emerged for a standard format for sharing data on the web. Developers are constantly working hard to make the information overload we face every day more connected and organized—by means of standardization.

Schema.org is the solution for a standard data format across devices and platforms. Launched in June of 2011, Schema.org was created through the combined efforts of Google, Bing, and Yahoo. It provides a standard format for categorizing, organizing, and linking data so that devices can share and link to important data across the web.

But what is JSON-LD?

JSON-LD (JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data) is a new way to implement Schema.org on the web and was recently endorsed by Google as the recommended method.

What makes JSON-LD so exciting?

A huge advantage JSON-LD has over previous methods of implementing Schema.org is that JSON-LD is not visible to site visitors and it can be inserted anywhere on the page. This makes implementation much easier and cleaner than in the past.

Why should I care about JSON-LD?

One of the primary reasons to jump on the JSON-LD train is because it affects your search engine ranking. But in the bigger scheme of things (pun intended) it opens up more possibilities for sharing and accessing data between websites and devices. For example, if you have an e-commerce website, eventually your products might be able to be pulled from other sources which would give your company more exposure and increase your sales.

An example of standardized data

When you play music in your car, on your home sound system, on your phone, etc. all of those devices can display the name of the song, the song length, the musician, etc. Imagine this sort of capability for every kind of data and making information about your company, your services, and your products more easily shared across devices, social networks, and more.

You most likely already benefit from JSON-LD

When you get an email with information about a flight, a hotel reservation, or an event, and your phone automatically detects that information and provides extra functionality, that was most likely accomplished using JSON-LD.

The future of linked data

I believe that linked data (JSON-LD) will become the new SEO and the businesses that embrace it first will see a boom in business because they will be found more quickly.

How do I add JSON-LD in WordPress?

Unfortunately, the solutions for implementing JSON-LD in WordPress are still in their early stages but I have no doubt they will grow and improve. The best WordPress plugin I’ve found to create JSON-LD is called Structured Data of JSON-LD.

Helpful Links:

Google’s Feb 2016 Announcement regarding support for JSON-LD
Google’s Tool for Testing your JSON-LD
Google blog post about using JSON-LD to have you data show up as Rich Cards in search results
What Schema Markup and JSON-LD Means for Local Business in 2016
Implementing JSON-LD in WordPress
Getting to know, and adding, JSON-LD to a WordPress site
JSON-LD’s Big Day at Google
What is Linked Data? (YouTube)
JSON-LD, the Google Knowledge Graph and schema.org SEO
Structured Data of JSON-LD (WordPress Plugin)