With structured data, you’re trying to tell Google what your site or the page is about. Google is smart in the sense that the search engine giant doesn’t always need the help of others in telling it what the page is for.
Still, structured data is useful and setting it up the right way can mean the difference between great traffic and little to no traffic.
There can be issues in the way structured data is set up and that can mean errors.
So here’s how to deal with those issues.
What is structured data?
It’s a code that is used to provide clear information to Google and search engines, to help them categorize your content better. Ultimately this helps the user with accurate, better data.
Where to find structured data errors?
These are the best places where you can hunt down problems with structured data.
Google Search Console
The search console is your best friend to point out pages that may have suffered with problems in structured data execution. You may have a Google search console account, formerly known as Google webmaster tools account for your site.
Login and from there go to manual action. Here you will see pages that are affected.
To find this search and find security and manual actions>>manual actions so you will get a list of pages specified under errors that look spammy.
With the errors, the rankings for those pages will be much lower than they could have been.
Another section where you can look for errors is Enhancements>>Unparsable Structured data.
The Unparsable structured data errors give a list of errors that show that there’s data but it isn’t listed in the proper format. This causes readability issues from Google.
Within this space, you get a graph plotting all errors that your site faces.
2) Rich Results Testing Tool
You can also test individual pages on your site for structured data issues and see if they live up to expectations. With the rich results testing tool you can run individual pages on to the tool and test them on their structured data markup. Validate them on their ability to generate rich snippets and test them one by one on the rich results tool.
When and if the snippet page has errors you can get and form a better understanding regarding those errors and remedy them.
This way you can immediately fix the issues
3) Google Structured Data Testing Tool
A third tool is Google’s own structured data testing tool. It’s similar in function to the rich snippets tool.
Google structured data tool is similar to the rich snippets tool. You can submit a URL and test the validity of your pages for structured data.
But compared to the first tool, Google’s structured data gives much more indepth data ana analysis on the the data the page has and the paramters involved. Each and every error is highlighted on the right side of the tool and is followed a description and fix for your problem.
With the structured data testing tool you can set up an environment where you experiment with data before you add it to a page.
So if youre making mistakes again, this test environment will warn you of possible errors.
What are the most common structured data errors?
Here’s the list of the errors. You now know where the errors are. This section will guide you through a much deeper and better description of the errors and let you fix them up.
There are countless issues you might encounter with structured data. If we begin to take a deep dive into each and everyone, this post will never end. However I am going to list out the most common errors so you can solve them.
- Structured data and hidden content
There are instances of schema markup on site where you you have some on page elements that represent details of the schema markup language.
Let’s look at the example of an eCommerce site. It’s large and has hundreds of pages and most likely where such problems tend to occur.
With product schema ideally search engines should be able to read and rank your content based on what they find. But errors frequently crop up on ratings and reviews.
You generally include ratings on your schema but sometimes hide it from the page, from the reviewers. You cannot put the ratings schema out for Google but hide it from people. This hidden content results in error. It’s misleading and your site can get penalized for such an approach. You come across as a site with scores of reviews but ones that the person can’t see. The reviews may be negative. Or you may not want a first-time visitor to judge the product based on reading individual reviews. Whatever may be the intention, misleading claims lead to problems.
Problem 2 Spammy Structured Markup/Misleading Structured Data
Another big problem is spammy structured markup. It’s vague and is hard to pinpoint the exact cause that throws up red flags. One reason is Google won’t go into specific detail as to where these issues are occuring. So you could be looking at a sitewide penalty.
Structured data that injects information misusing other markups can lead to such errors.
These are a few examples of how such errors can crop up
Hiding reviews and testimonials on your site
Repeating markups for business types and services
A markup on a page should list only one product. But commonly webmasters recommend 10 or more products.
Classifying a page as something that it’s not.
Unparsable Structured Data
Unparsable data has the easiest fix. It only means there are places on your page and site where there are semantic issues to tackle. Once you fix this, the error solves on its own.
Google search console shows these errors as unparsable.
If you click on those links you will be guided to where exactly the problems are.
How to Fix This
The search console provides a clear direction of where these errors are located. So its easy to find them and fix them.
Enter the page url into the data tool to find out where exactly is the problem.
You can even copy paste the markup and tweak it until you solve the problem with the format. If the format is in error doing some experimentation will solve the problem for you.