Data structuring: mistakes to avoid according to Google Search Central

Are you a specialist in marketing, SEO positioning strategies or someone who simply wants to improve your presence in the most important search engine in the world? If so, you know how important it is data structuring.

Here’s a roundup of points explored by three panelists who dive deeper into Google Search Central (GSC) in a must-see video. Lizzi Sassman, Martin Splitt, and Ryan Levering reveal everything you need to consider when structuring and indexing your website data on Google.

What is data structuring for Google?

According to Google Search Central, the data structuring it is nothing more than the deep understanding of the language used by search engines. Thus, during this exercise, Google uses all means to process the content present on web pages.

For example, certain types of textual information on a website like Amazon may be considered structured data. This is because they are organized in a predictable way.

Consequently, Google is able to recognize this order and use different formats to obtain more information from the web. This way you can easily deliver it in the results of a search.

What types of formats are most important to Google?

According to our panelists, there are three main structured data formats supported by Google searches: microdata, RDFa, and JSON-LD, with the latter being the cleanest and most recommended implementation.

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This is because it relies on JSON to provide the same information to data consumers. Also, JSON-LD is an alternative to HTML markup and can be isolated as an island embedded in the structure of HTML.

According to what Levering mentioned in the podcast broadcast by GSC, Events data is essential. As expressed by him: “Through them you can create a very well structured data vertical, especially for search.”

However, within the hierarchy and the different types of meta tags, Events are not the only ones reviewed. Structural data of the Article type are also well weighted. Splitt highlights them as everything “you need to make a web story.”

Most common errors in data structuring

The data structuring is always a good idea. However, an incorrect implementation can lead to a penalty. Sassman, Splitt, and Levering discuss the most common mistakes when structuring them and make some key recommendations:

1. The data does not match the page content

Whatever information is used, such as prices, must be reflected exactly the same in the content of the page that is visible to users. When this fails, it’s usually a timing failure.

Indeed, Levering advises using RDFa or microdata, about which he says: “RDFa or microdata generally wraps the content, so it tends to stay more in sync.”

2. Using inappropriate data

This is the kind of thing that can happen when you don’t make the right decision for the data structuring. For example, using meta tags designed for a product when the company is offering a service. Something as seemingly trivial as this can result in a penalty.

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3. Not following guidelines for specific data types or meta tags

It is very important to double check the examples on the Google Developer Pages to see what is appropriate and what is not. For example, spending time visiting updates for Event, Article, or Video can save you a penalty.

The future of data structuring

The more varieties of data data scientists create, the more new and advanced algorithms will be generated. This is something that Levering agrees with, predicting feature enhancements and new structures that will help make pages more understandable.

Similarly, Levering said that in the medium-term future Google wants to figure out “how to use structured data more universally across many of our features rather than just here and there, scattered.”

Basically, it predicts how we will soon see a “cleaner way of transferring data between data providers and Google”.

Finally, the data under a structure has its strength in predefined, universal and flexible models and formats. Something that allows you to take advantage of all the benefits and take control of Google searches. In fact, if you manage to master them you can get rich results, improved visibility and even more clicks to your website.

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