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Google’s Preferred Structured Data: JSON-LD vs. Microdata 


Google has been the center of the SEO industry for as long as we remember. There are several other search engines, but Google remains the industry leader with over 92% market share. People actively use Google to find information, services, and businesses.

Inevitably, your websites must be optimized for the Google search engine, and one way to achieve this is with structured data.


What is structured data?

Structured data in SEO refers to organizing information on a web page in a format that search engines can easily understand. Think of it as the metadata formatting that helps machines better understand the content and information by offering additional context. Using structured data, search engines deliver users more relevant and informative search results.

Structured data helps search engines interpret and categorize content on a webpage by using specific tags and markup. A typical piece of content on a website has different types of information, such as the title, author, date, reviews, and other details. With properly structured data, search engines like Google can create standard-size formats to better match content with searchers’ intent and display it more meaningfully in search results.

The primary benefit of implementing structured data in SEO is improved visibility and higher chances of appearing in rich search features like knowledge graphs, snippets, and answer boxes. These rich snippets enhance the visibility and attractiveness of search results, increasing the likelihood of users clicking through to the website.

Furthermore, structured data allows search engines to understand the relationships between different content elements, such as products and their prices, events and dates, or articles and their authors. This comprehensive understanding helps search engines provide users with more accurate and contextually relevant search results.

It is important to note that structured data can be implemented using various formats, including JSON-LD and Microdata. While Google favors JSON-LD due to its simplicity and compatibility with other web technologies, search engines also recognize other formats, ensuring flexibility for webmasters in choosing the most suitable method for their websites.

JSON-LD and Microdata

JSON-LD and Microdata are two distinct methods for incorporating structured data into web pages, each with unique characteristics.

JSON-LD, or JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data, is a scripting format allowing us to represent structured data easily understood by humans and machines. It is included in the HTML code using a script tag.

The JSON-LD that we use for SEO follows the principles of JSON, a lightweight data interchange format. To represent data in JSON-LD, you write key-value pairs enclosed in curly braces { }. A comma separates each key-value pair. The values can be strings, numbers, arrays, objects, or nested JSON-LD structures.

Here is an example of JSON-LD:

<script type=”application/ld+json”>



“@context”: “https://schema.org/”,

  “@type”: “Person”,

  “name”: “Ankit Pandey”,

“jobTitle”: “Web Developer”,

  “email”: “ankit@example.com”,

“telephone”: “+1-123-456-7890”,

  “address”: {

    “@type”: “PostalAddress”,

“streetAddress”: “123 Main Street”,

“addressLocality”: “Cityville”,

“addressRegion”: “Stateville”,

“postalCode”: “12345”,

“addressCountry”: “Countryland”




In this example, we are describing a person using JSON-LD. The special symbols “@” before some keywords has specific meanings in JSON-LD.

Google prefers JSON-LD as its format. It can be easily incorporated into web pages to include structured data enabling search engines to better understand the content. With proper use of JSON-LD structured data on websites, you can improve the visibility and accuracy of your web pages in search results.


Microdata is another widely used format for adding structured data to web pages. With Microdata, you can mark up different parts of a webpage with specific tags, allowing search engines to better understand the content. It enables search engines like Google to present content from your websites more meaningfully. Microdata uses HTML5 attributes to attach specific meanings to elements within the HTML code.

Here’s a closer look at microdata implementation:

<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Movie”>

  <h1 itemprop=”name”>The SEO Design</h1>


    <span itemprop=”director”>The Director</span> |

    <span itemprop=”genre”>Action</span> |

    <span itemprop=”datePublished”>2023-07-04</span>


  <p itemprop=”description”>

    This is a thrilling movie that provides deeper insight into SEO.



Here the “itemscope” attribute defines a scope for the movie data. It tells the search engines that the content within the `<div>` element is about a movie. It provides much more data about the type of content on the webpage. This enables search engines to display the movie information more detailed and relevantly in search results.

Difference between JSON-LD and Microdata

Syntax: JSON-LD is based on the JSON format, a nested key-value pair structure that is more concise and readable. Microdata uses HTML attributes to mark up HTML code. It is harder to read due to its complex structure.

Flexibility: JSON-LD offers greater flexibility in defining and combining structured data from several sources. Its modular approach allows reuse and integrate data from multiple contexts. Microdata, on the other hand, relies on predefined vocabularies, which significantly limits its flexibility.

Adoption: JSON-LD is a favorite of developers as it is based on JSON and has gained significant adoption within the search engine community. Its adoption by major search engines like Google and Bing has led to wider support and recognition. Microdata, although widely supported, has not had the same adoption.

Why Google prefers JSON-LD over Microdata? 

Google’s inclination towards JSON-LD is attributed to its perceived simplicity and cleanliness during implementation. JSON-LD separates structured data from HTML code, facilitating easier management and maintenance. Moreover, this separation ensures that the appearance and functionality of the webpage remain unaffected, leading to an enhanced user experience.

Additionally, Google recognizes JSON-LD as being well-equipped to handle intricate scenarios. Its versatility shines when marking up diverse content types such as events, recipes, and FAQs. By effectively conveying the nuances of such content, JSON-LD enables search engines to better comprehend and present relevant results to users.

However, you must not undermine the use of other structured data formats like Microdata. Search engines still acknowledge other structured data formats, and content creators and developers should choose the format that aligns with their preferences and requirements.


  • Ankit Pandey

    Hey, I'm Ankit Pandey, the Founder behind Ranklogs which is a culmination of my over 15 years of experience in the SEO industry. My journey has been fueled by a deep-seated passion for digital marketing when I founded SeoEaze, a leading digital marketing agency, in 2009, which has helped numerous businesses achieve their online goals. My expertise lies in crafting innovative SEO strategies that drive organic growth and enhance online visibility. Over the years, I have successfully worked on over 500 digital marketing campaigns for some of the largest brands in the industry. This extensive experience has honed my ability to deliver exceptional results and stay ahead of industry trends. When I'm not immersed in the world of SEO, you can find me sharing insights and connecting with fellow professionals on LinkedIn or Twitter (X).

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