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Sep 14th, 2015
On September 11, Google webmaster trends analyst John Mueller revealed on a Google Hangout that structured markup could be “something that might go into the rankings” as time goes by.
Structured markup currently isn’t used to rank websites, but Google and other search engines use them to understand your webpages’ content and display it in SERPs in a relevant and helpful way. This factor also helps in creating rich search-result snippets which, in turn, can provide organic searchers with detailed information and convince them to visit your site.
Mueller explained it this way: “If we can recognize someone is looking for a car, we can say oh well, we have these pages that are marked up with structured data for a car, so probably they are pretty useful in that regard. We don’t have to guess if this page is about a car.”
He further clarified his comment by saying: “So I think in the long run, it definitely makes sense to use structured data where you see that as being reasonable on the website. But I wouldn’t assume that using structured data markup will make your site jump up in rankings automatically. So we try to distinguish between a site that is done technically well and a site that actually has good content. Just because it is done technically well, it doesn’t mean it is as relevant to the users as content that is not done as technically well.”
Barry Schwartz noted that Mueller’s statement surprised him since “Google has said time and time again that rich snippets and structured markup doesn’t help your site rank higher”. Some webmasters commented that these details might already be a “ranking factor” in the sense that they contribute to better user experience and click-through rates. Others pointed out that, though structured markup and data would most likely play a small part in rankings, adding these to websites must be a “best practice” for site owners and webmasters.
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