Introduction to Structured Data

Structured data refers to kinds of data with a high level of organization, such as information in a relational database. When information is highly structured and predictable, search engines can more easily organize and display it in creative ways. Structured data markup is a text-based organization of data that is included in a file and served from the web. It typically uses the schema.org vocabulary—an open community effort to promote standard structured data in a variety of online applications.

Structured data markup is most easily represented in JSON-LD format, which stands for JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data. The following is a simple JSON-LD structured data example you might use for contact information for your company:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
  "@context": "http://schema.org",
  "@type": "Organization",
  "url": "http://www.your-company-site.com",
  "contactPoint": [{
    "@type": "ContactPoint",
    "telephone": "+1-401-555-1212",
    "contactType": "customer service"
  }]
}
</script>
Structured data markup describes things on the web, along with their properties. For example, if your site has recipes, you could use markup to describe properties for each recipe, such as the summary, the URL to a photo for the dish, and its overall rating from users. Recipe Markup In Action

When you provide structured data markup for your online content, you make that content eligible to appear in two categories of Google Search features:

  • Rich results—Structured data for things like recipes, articles, and videos can appear in Rich Cards, as either a single element or a list of items. Other kinds of structured data can enhance the appearance of your site in Search, such as with Breadcrumbs, or a Sitelinks Search Box.
  • Knowledge Graph cards—If you're the authority for certain content, Google can treat the structured data on your site as factual and import it into the Knowledge Graph, where it can power prominent answers in Search and across Google properties. Knowledge Graph cards appear for authoritative data about organizations, and events. Movie reviews, and movie/music play actions, while based on ranking, can also appear in Knowledge Graph cards once they are reconciled to Knowledge Graph entities.

Common use cases

You can use some or all of our supported structured data types to make your content eligible for a variety of Search features, as described in the Search Features & Experiences guide. In addition, you can review the Data Type Selector to understand which combination of markup is required for specific Search features.

Markup formats and placement

You provide structured data markup in your HTML and AMP pages. The table below lists the supported formats, placement recommendations, and corresponding feature support.

Format Description and Placement Supported Data Types
JSON-LD (Recommended) JavaScript notation separate from the body of the HTML itself. Markup is placed inside a script tag in the head of the HTML page. The markup does not have to be interleaved with the user-visible text, which makes nested data items easier to express, such as the Country of a PostalAddress of a MusicVenue of an Event. Also, Google can read JSON-LD data when it is dynamically injected into the page's contents, such as by JavaScript code or embedded widgets in your content management system. All public data types except for Breadcrumbs.
Microdata An open-community HTML specification used to nest structured data within HTML content. Like RDFa, it uses HTML tag attributes to name the properties you want to expose as structured data. All data types
RDFa An HTML5 extension that supports linked data by introducing HTML tag attributes that correspond to the user-visible content you want to describe for search engines. All data types

Testing and publishing your markup

To verify that your markup is well-formed and can be processed by Google, paste the HTML source of your marked-up page (or just the <script> block) into the Structured Data Testing Tool.

When Google next crawls the page, its indexing algorithms will process the your markup and make its content eligible to be used in Search results. You can ask Google to crawl the page by following the instructions in Search Console Help. Note that this process can take up to a week.

Structured data guidelines

The following guidelines describe general policies on creating high-quality structured data.

Technical guidelines

  • Publish markup on a page on your official website.
  • Use the most specific applicable type and property names defined by schema.org for your markup. The data may be embedded in your webpage using any of the supported formats: JSON-LD, RDFa, or microdata.
  • Mark up all relevant pages. In addition to marking up your canonical pages (such as your desktop URLs), you should also mark up AMP HTML page equivalents. This provides the best experience across devices.
  • Pages with markup must not be blocked to the Googlebot by robots.txt.

Quality guidelines

At Google, our first priority is to help our users find relevant, engaging answers for their search queries. High-quality structured data must not create a misleading or deceptive experience for search users. It should be an up-to-date and accurate reflection of the topic and content already found on the page, such as text, images, and videos. For example:

  • A page about a dinner recipe may use recipe structured data to list the ingredients and describe the cooking steps.
  • Markup should not be used to hide content not visible to users in any form, since it might create a misleading or deceptive search experience. For example, if the JSON-LD markup describes a performer, the HTML body should describe that same performer.

We perform algorithmic and manual quality checks to ensure that structured data meets relevancy standards. In cases where we see structured data that does not comply with these standards, we reserve the right to disable rich snippets for a site in order to maintain a high-quality search experience for our users. Read our webmaster guidelines for more details.

Multiple entities on the same page

When you have multiple entity types on a page, we recommend you mark up all entities on that page to help Google algorithms better understand and index your content. For example:

  • A recipe page might have text describing the recipe along with an accompanying video. Each of these types should be marked separately with schema.org/Recipe and schema.org/VideoObject respectively.
  • A category page listing several different products (or recipes, videos, or any other type). Each entity should be marked up using the relevant schema.org type, such as schema.org/Product for product category pages. Marking up just one category entity from all listed on the page is against our guidelines.
  • A video play page might have related videos embedded in a separate section on the page. In this case, mark up the main video as well as the related videos.

Image markup guidelines

When marking up an image URL as a property of a type, make sure that the image actually belongs to the instance of that type. For example, if you mark up the schema.org/image property of schema.org/NewsArticle, the marked-up image must directly belong to that news article.

All image URLs should be crawlable and indexable. Otherwise, we will not be able to display them on the search results page.

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