How to fix common issues during Microdata structure implementation
Microdata is a form of structured data that works with HTML5 and provides easy-to-read information that search engines need to understand your content and provide the best search results possible. Adding microdata to your HTML also improves how your page displays in SERPs by enhancing the rich snippets that are displayed beneath the page title.
Microdata structure implementation can be highly beneficial, as long as it’s done correctly. Let’s take a look at common issues that can arise while implementing microdata structures and how to fix them.
What is schema.org microdata?
Schema.org microdata includes the site’s structure and essential information from resource pages. It generates an informative snippet in search engine results and drives the website to the top of the rankings. Due to the prolonged, appealing page preview, the clickability of these snippets is substantially more than that of a typical sample.
The validity of the schema.org dictionary has been officially validated by the three most popular search engines: Google, Bing, and Yahoo. In the search engine results, a page with implied microdata will appear like this:
Common issues while implementing Schema.org in your website
Now it’s time to take a look at what can go wrong with microdata implementation and how the problems can impact your website.
Page-specific markup across the entire website
Frequently, businesses might apply the rating information for a single item to an entire category of products or services. For instance, a hotel chain might share the ratings of a single property across all of its hotels. This behavior could potentially be construed as manipulative, resulting in a penalty. It’s best to use the markup for an individual product, not a category or a list of products.
Marking reviews written by the company rather than actual customers
When faced with a lack of customer reviews or testimonials to include in the schema, some organizations create their own reviews that mirror what their rivals display on the search engine results page (SERPs). It’s a strategy that violates Google’s policies.
In the past, merchants could allow customers to leave reviews in-store, but it led to black hat practices in which the business would create fake reviews. Neither the business nor the content provider may write or distribute any reviews unless they are authentic, impartial, and unpaid. Google has become significantly more intelligent and can now detect the user’s IP to determine whether the reviews are authentic.
Delivering different structured data based on user detection
It’s easy to get sucked into modifying the page’s content based on what users say. For example, it’s common for international websites to change prices and content based on a user’s demographic information.
These types of modifications could be done to improve user experience, but they could be seen as manipulative behavior as well. Ideally, the markup should be consistent across all sites and locales.
Marking up content that is invisible to users
Schema markup can be used to provide context and text to a page without being visible to users. However, when Google actively crawls a site, this markup can be found in search results. Using microdata to hide content is a red flag for search engines. Google may consider it dishonest or misleading. If that happens a manual action could be taken against a site owner who has been warned about using the tactic but continues to do so anyway.
How to fix schema markup issues
Now that we’ve examined some of the most prevalent schema implementation errors let’s get to work fixing them. First, you need to identify where the problems are in the schema, then you can fix the markup issues. There are a few ways to accomplish this:
Using Google’s Rich Results Test (RRT)
Google’s Rich Results Test has an excellent response rate for identifying possible problems with microdata structure. The tool can:
- Check a page’s content
- Extract any structured markup
- Alert you to any issues that are found
- Tell you if your page/schema qualifies for rich search results
Google’s Rich Results Test does have limitations. The tool cannot render content if your security protocols are blocking it from doing so.
Crawling the site to audit structured data
With the help of this type of tool, you’ll be able to locate schema markup across all of your pages for easier auditing. Other free plug-ins, such as Schema Tester, can discover any faults or warnings associated with the code’s microdata as well.
Using those two methods you should catch any issues that resulted during microdata structure implementation.