A Structured Data Example: Superman’s Bio

By November 3, 2015 August 4th, 2016 SEO, Structured Data
Drawing of Superman punching "Structured Data" for article

Keywords are the Past,
Structured Data is the Future.

Because this is our first article about Structured Data, I want to briefly go over why it’s so important. In the past, unstructured data ruled the web. Search engines indexed content with multitudes of keywords that had no connection between them.

The present represents the direction Google is taking, where structured data provides search engines with the ability to understand context between keywords. Basically, structured data works towards closing the gap between a search engine’s understanding of content and a human’s understanding of content.

Structured data is complicated.

I’ve found dozens of articles explaining what it is, and what it does, but implementing it ourselves has been a process. Finding a structured data example has been yet another arduous procedure.

In this sample Superman’s bio, Google will identify that the subject is Superman, and index keywords like ‘Superman’ and ‘Krypton’. What Google will not do is understand that Superman and Clark Kent are the same person, that his parents are John and Martha Kent, or that he is a reporter.

Adding structured data provides context to my data. Now my article of Superman’s bio is more relevant because search engines know that Superman and Clark Kent are aliases of Kal-El, and that Superman is a superhero who is affiliated with the Justice League; connections that would be lost without tagging my HTML.

We start with the article itself, the breakdown of what data you can markup, and the resulting HTML markup.

Example article for Structured Data.


It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s superman!

Superman drawing within article.As a part of the Justice League, a team of superheroes working for global peace, Superman has long been an uncontested savior of our Earth as the world’s most powerful superhero. The son of Krypton remains the focus of much controversy as his seemingly endless power is seen as a threat by a great many who share the planet.

However, at last, Superman’s true identity has been revealed: he is none other than the perfectly ordinary Clark Kent, a reporter for the Daily Planet. Clark Kent grew up in Kansas, raised by adoptive parents John and Martha Kent. He was a stellar student, making good grades and contributing as an athlete to Smallville High School’s very own football team.

It seems, after high school, Kent discovered his true identity as Kal-El, and the answer to his powers. He is an alien, the last survivor of the destroyed planet Krypton. Accepting his fate as the only Kryptonian on Earth, he took up the iconic suit, with colors of the House of El, and became Superman.

Now living in a fortress somewhere in the North Pole, he commutes to Metropolis daily for work. There has long been speculation that his colleague Lois Lane, official contact to the Justice League from the Daily Planet, has known Superman’s true identity. Now confirmed, the two have been dating for some years.

Despite his alias being blown, one thing is clear; Superman will keep protecting the Earth from villains, both native and alien to the planet.

This is a breakdown of each individual property, the corresponding value, and the markup of the value. We are marking up content related to a Person, so we used properties listed in Schema.org/Person, and tagged any content that included them.


PropertyValueMarkup
affiliationThe Justice League<span itemprop="affiliation">Justice League</span>
alternateNameSuperman<span itemprop="alternateName"> Superman</span>
descriptionworld's most powerful superhero<span itemprop="description">world’s most powerful superhero</span>
alternateNameClark Kent<span itemprop="alternateName">Clark Kent</span>
jobTitlereporter<span itemprop="jobTitle">reporter</span>
worksForThe Daily Planet<span itemprop="worksFor">the Daily Planet</span>
parentsJohn and Martha Kent<span itemprop="parents">John and Martha Kent</span>
alumniOfSmallville High School<span itemprop="alumniOf">Smallville High School</span>
Name<Kal - El<span itemprop="Name">Kal-El</span>
nationalityKrypotonian<span itemprop="nationality">Kryptonian</span>
familyNameEl<span itemprop="familyName">El</span>
homeLocationNorth Pole<span itemprop="homeLocation">North Pole</span>
workLocationMetropolis<span itemprop="workLocation">Metropolis</span>
colleagueLois Lane<span itemprop="colleague"> Lois Lane</span>
imagestructured-data-superman.jpgadd itemprop="image" within the <img> tag

This is your resulting HTML


<div itemscope  itemtype=”http://schema.org/Person”>
<img itemprop=”image” src=”superman.jpg”>
As a part of the <span itemprop=”affiliation”>Justice League</span>, a team of superheroes working for global peace,<span itemprop=”alternateName”> Superman</span> has long been an uncontested savior of our Earth as the <span itemprop=”description”>world’s most powerful superhero</span>. The son of Krypton remains the focus of much controversy as his seemingly endless power is seen as a threat by a great many who share the planet.

However, at last, Superman’s true identity has been revealed: he is none other than the perfectly ordinary <span itemprop=”alternateName”>Clark Kent</span>, a <span itemprop=”jobTitle”>reporter</span> for <span itemprop=”worksFor”>the Daily Planet</span>. Clark Kent grew up in Kansas, raised by adoptive parents <span itemprop=”parents”>John and Martha Kent</span>. He was a stellar student, making good grades and contributing as an athlete to <span itemprop=”alumniOf”>Smallville High School</span>’s very own football team.

It seems, after high school, Kent discovered his true identity as <span itemprop=”Name”>Kal-El</span>, and the answer to his powers. He is an alien, the last survivor of the destroyed planet Krypton. Accepting his fate as the only <span itemprop=”nationality”>Kryptonian</span> on Earth, he took up iconic suit, with colors of the House of <span itemprop=”familyName”>El</span>, and became Superman.

Now living in a fortress somewhere in the <span itemprop=”homeLocation”>North Pole</span>, he commutes to <span itemprop=”workLocation”>Metropolis</span> daily for work. There has long been speculation that his colleague<span itemprop=”colleague”> Lois Lane</span>, official contact to the Justice League from the Daily Planet, has known Superman’s true identity. Now confirmed, the two have been dating for some years.

Despite his alias being blown, one thing is clear; Superman will keep protecting the Earth from villains, both native and alien to the planet.


This is an excellent exercise to understand and practice structured data markup. Study Schema.org’s introduction and go through their various vocabulary banks. Write an example ‘About Me’ or Blog post, publish it privately, and see whether you can mark up that data correctly. Check your markup by inputing the url into Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. It’s hard, so don’t get frustrated or give up when Google doesn’t see the page as you’d like. The more you practice, the more intuitive it will get.

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg with structured data. I’ll have a more detailed explanation of the markup vocabulary and how it works in the Back End SEO section of my SEO eBook.

Happy markups!



Judson Abts

About Judson Abts