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Google On Which Structured Data it Prefers: JSON-LD or Microdata?

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Google On Which Structured Data it Prefers: JSON-LD or Microdata?

In a Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller was asked what kind of structured date Google prefers. John Mueller answered that Google prefers JSON-LD structured data.

What is JSON-LD?

JSON-LD is a scripting language that allows publishers to communicate important information to search engines.

According to the official JSON-LD website:

“Data is messy and disconnected. JSON-LD organizes and connects it, creating a better Web.

It is a way to create a network of standards-based, machine-readable data across Web sites.”

JSON-LD scripts can be added to a web page in a manner that can be templated within a website, making it easy to add, update and remove.

The official Schema.org structured data specification can be found at Schema.org (surprise!)

What is Microdata Structured Data?

Microdata structured data communicates the same information that JSON-LD does, but it is embedded within the HTML of the website. In my opinion, this could complicate the addition and removal of structured data.

Which Type of Structured Data does Google Prefer?

Someone asked the following question:

“What type of Schema markup is preferable for Google? Should I use Jason or… microformats? Which format is preferable?”

John Mueller answered:

“We currently prefer JSON-LD markup. I think most of the new structured data that are kind of come out for JSON-LD first. So that’s what we prefer.”

Google Prefers JSON-LD Structured Data

Google’s John Mueller made it clear that Google preferred JSON-LD structured data. Personally, I prefer it as well because it’s easier to implement. The scripting language follows a set of easily learned rules and can easily be added or removed from a site.

How to Implement JSON-LD Structured Data

The official Schema.org JSON-LD structured data Schema.org website has many examples of how to write the structured data code. Just take an example and use it as a template.

Here’s an image of an example without structured data:

screenshot of content without structured data

This is an example of the exact same content expressed as JSON-LD Schema.org structured data:

Screenshot of json-ld structured data from schema.org

Google’s stated preference is for JSON-LD. It may be in your best interest to consider switching over to JSON-LD structured data if you currently use microdata. But at this time it’s not actually necessary because Google can still read it and interpret it. But sometimes, it’s best to future proof content. It’s up to you at this time because Google isn’t actually requiring one format over another.

Watch the Google Webmaster Hangout here.

Screenshots by Author, Modified by Author

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Roger Montti

Roger Montti is an SEO consultant & web publisher with nearly 20 years experience. He offers Site Audits for ranking ... [Read full bio]

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