Google’s preferred structured data: JSON-LD over microdata


Google uses structured data better understand what the website is about by sorting out the theme, identifying important parts of the website, such as logos and picturesand displaying web pages visible at the top of the page.

There are several types of structured data, but Google prefers only one, so it’s important to use the right format.

What types of structured data does Google support?

Google supports three types of structured data:

  1. JSON-LD.
  2. microdata.
  3. RDFa.

Each of these standards is a different way of communicating structured data and is set out on the official website.

Screenshot of the author, May 2022

The figure above shows that the structured data example offers examples in three formats.

There are three tabs. Each tab corresponds to a different format of structured data: microdata, structured RDFa data and JSON-LD.

What is microdata structured data?

Microdata is a way of adding metadata to HTML code and is part of the HTML specification, also known as the HTML standard WHATWG (Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group).

Microdata is an HTML specification for tagging a web page in HTML itself.

They are basically metadata that is placed in HTML code that is published in tags and can be read by machines like Googlebot., a non-profit organization that creates structured data specifications, has published a structured data interpreter called How to get started and used Microdata in all their cases.

Microdata is therefore still a valid way of communicating structured data and is currently supported by and Google (except in specific cases where it is not explicitly supported).

Microdata is nested within existing HTML Like it:

<body itemscope itemtype="">
<div itemprop="breadcrumb">
<a href="">Books</a>
<a href="category/books-literature.html">Literature &amp; Fiction</a> >
<a href="category/books-classics">Classics</a>

In the above code, microdata called “itemprop” are inserted to determine the properties of structured data, in this case crumbs property of structured data.

This is what this code looks like without structured microdata data:

There are other ways to do the same thing using the structured BreadcrumbList data type.

What is structured RDF data?

RDFa stands for Source description framework in attributes. It is an HTML extension.

The reason it is called an HTML extension is that it extends HTML.

Google describes RDF as follows:

“Microformats define both the syntax for including structured data in HTML documents and a set of microformat classes, each with its own specific vocabulary of allowed attributes.

RDFa, on the other hand, only defines syntax and allows you to use existing vocabulary attributes or create your own.

It even allows you to freely combine multiple vocabularies. If existing vocabularies do not meet your needs, you can set your own standards and vocabularies by creating new fields.

RDFa offers an additional way to communicate structured data to Google that is less code-disruptive than the microdata method.

Like microdata, RDFa is currently designated as a valid data format by and is currently supported by Google (unless explicitly specified).

This is what bread crumbs structure data may look like in RDF format:

What is JSON-LD?

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

JSON-LD is an acronym for JavaScript object notation for related data.

Because it is a script, it is relatively easier to use than Microdata and RDF, because JSON-LD is not embedded in HTML as metadata or as an extension of HTML itself.

JSON-LD can be placed anywhere on a web page, even in the Header section of the web page, where the metadata usually goes.

You can also place JSON-LD at the end of the code or in the content section of the code (visitors will not see the site).

Another advantage of JSON-LD is that it can be easily edited and viewed because it is separate from HTML and exists in its own script.

The labeling of structured data in the list of breadcrumbs can look like this:

 <script type="application/ld+json">
"@context": "",
"@type": "BreadcrumbList",
"itemListElement": [{
"@type": "ListItem",
"position": 1,
"name": "Widgets",
"item": ""
"@type": "ListItem",
"position": 2,
"name": "Blue Widgets",
"item": ""
"@type": "ListItem",
"position": 3,
"name": "Reviews"

Troubleshooting a script that is completely separate from HTML is much easier than trying to encode structured data within HTML, so Microdata and RDF are implemented.

According to official opinion JSON-LD website:

“The data is messy and unrelated. JSON-LD organizes and connects it to create a better web.

It’s a way to create a network of standards-based machine-readable data on websites. “

JSON-LD scripts can be added to a website in a way that can be formatted within the website, making it easy to add, update, and remove.

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

What types of structured data does Google have an advantage?

Although the standards organization continues to support Microdata, a Google-supported version is important.

In the Google Hangout at office hours from March 2019the participant asked the following question:

“What type of tagging scheme is better for Google? Should I use Jason or… microformats? Which shape is better? “

John Mueller replied:

“Right now, we prefer JSON-LD labels. I think most of the new structured data that somehow first comes out for JSON-LD. So that’s what we prefer. “

Google prefers structured JSON-LD data

Google’s John Mueller made it clear that Google preferred structured JSON-LD data.

The advantage of structured JSON-LD data is that they are not intrusive.

It is not intrusive because it keeps structured data separate from HTML code.

This makes it much easier to read, troubleshoot, and update structured data, as it is easier to implement and maintain.

In addition, the JSON-LD scripting language follows a set of rules that are easy to learn and can be easily added or removed from a website.

How to implement structured JSON-LD data

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

Here is a picture of a case without structured data:

screenshot of content without structured dataScreenshot of the author, May 2022

This is an example of exactly the same content, expressed as structured JSON-LD data:

Screenshot of structured json-ld data from schema.orgScreenshot of the author, May 2022

Google prefers structured JSON-LD data

Google’s preferred format for structured data is JSON-LD.

As this is an advantage of Google, it is good to ensure that all the structured data used on the website uses JSON-LD and not the JSON-LD structure.

Check out the Google Webmaster chat at 10:33 p.m.:

More sources:

Selected image: Helder Almeida / Shutterstock


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