Earlier this month, Google released an update to their structured data which analysts suggest points to an ever increasing rise in the importance of user experience, and usability. Structured data markup is a way of applying “labels” to various parts of your content in order to make it easier for computers to understand what that content is about.
For example, you could list your business hours on your website. But as far as a computer (and by computer here, we mean Google’s indexing robots) knows, that’s just a list of different times. Enclose those times in a bit of specialised markup however, and Google will know that they represent your business hours. Not only will they know this, but they’ll be able to show it directly in the search results if somebody searches for your business name and “hours” or “opening times” etc.
Structured data is an incredibly effective way of identifying specific content, and it has the great advantage of being readable by Google as well.
Google Structured Data Update
Following extensive feedback from a range of sources, Google has clarified exactly what structured data features it supports, and provided examples of how you can use structured data to mark specific items and enable search features like site links, site search, etc.
The specific Schema items that it supports have been expanded to include business logos, contact information, social profiles, rich snippets, site links, and Knowledge Graph event properties.
Google also offers a testing tool that you can use to confirm that they are able to correctly identify and use your structured markup.
You can follow the link to the Google Developer pages on structured data to find out more for yourself.