Over the last few weeks, we've been discussing structured data: first providing best practices and then showing how to monitor it with Search Console. Today we are announcing support for FAQ and How-to structured data on Google Search and the Google Assistant, including new reports in Search Console to monitor how your site is performing.
In this post, we provide details to help you implement structured data on your FAQ and how-to pages in order to make your pages eligible to feature on Google Search as rich results and How-to Actions for the Assistant. We also show examples of how to monitor your search appearance with new Search Console enhancement reports.
Disclaimer: Google does not guarantee that your structured data will show up in search results, even if your page is marked up correctly. To determine whether a result gets a rich treatment, Google algorithms use a variety of additional signals to make sure that users see rich results when their content best serves the user’s needs. Learn more about structured data guidelines.
How-to on Search and the Google AssistantHow-to rich results provide users with richer previews of web results that guide users through step-by-step tasks. For example, if you provide information on how to tile a kitchen backsplash, tie a tie, or build a treehouse, you can add How-to structured data to your pages to enable the page to appear as a rich result on Search and a How-to Action for the Assistant.
Add structured data to the steps, tools, duration, and other properties to enable a How-to rich result for your content on the search page. If your page uses images or video for each step, make sure to mark up your visual content to enhance the preview and expose a more visual representation of your content to users. Learn more about the required and recommended properties you can use on your markup in the How-to developer documentation.
As shown in the Google Home Hub example below, the Assistant provides a conversational, hands-free experience that can help users complete a task. This is an incredibly lightweight way for web developers to expand their content to the Assistant. For more information about How-to for the Assistant, visit Build a How-to Guide Action with Markup.
FAQ on Search and the Google AssistantAn FAQ page provides a list of frequently asked questions and answers on a particular topic. For example, an FAQ page on an e-commerce website might provide answers on shipping destinations, purchase options, return policies, and refund processes. By using FAQPage structured data, you can make your content eligible to display these questions and answers to display directly on Google Search and the Assistant, helping users to quickly find answers to frequently asked questions.
FAQ structured data is only for official questions and answers; don't add FAQ structured data on forums or other pages where users can submit answers to questions - in that case, use the Q&A Page markup.
You can learn more about implementation details in the FAQ developer documentation.
We would love to hear your thoughts on how FAQ or How-to structured data works for you. Send us any feedback either through Twitter or our forum.
Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Damian Biollo, Patrick Nevels, and Yaniv Loewenstein
What that means for youCompared to the previous version, Googlebot now supports 1000+ new features, like:
However, you don't have to physically attend the event to take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity: many conferences and talks are live streamed on YouTube for anyone to watch. Browse the full schedule of events, including a list of talks that we think will be interesting for webmasters to watch (all talks are in English). All the links shared below will bring you to pages with more details about each talk, and links to watch the sessions will display on the day of each event. All times are Pacific Central time (California time).
Tuesday, May 7th
4pm - Building Successful Websites: Case Studies for Mature and Emerging Markets, with Aancha Bahadur, Charlie Croom, Matt Doyle, Rudra Kasturi, and Jesar Shah
Wednesday, May 8th
10.30am - Enhance Your Search and Assistant Presence with Structured Data, with Aylin Altiok and Will Leszczuk
11.30am - Create App-like Experiences on Google Search and the Google Assistant, with Allen Harvey
11.30am - Rapidly Building Better Web Experiences with AMP, with Adam Greenberg and Naina Raisinghani
6.30pm - Unlocking New Capabilities for the Web, with Pete LePage and Thomas Steiner
Thursday, May 9th
10.30am - Google Search: State of the Union, with John Mueller and Martin Splitt
This post focuses on what you can do with Search Console to monitor and make the most out of structured data for your site. In addition, we have some new features that will help you even more. Below are the new additions, read on to learn more about them.
Unparsable structured data is a new report that aggregates structured data syntax errors.New enhancement reports for Sitelinks searchbox and Logo.
Monitoring overall structured data performanceEvery time Search Console detects a new issue related to structured data on a website, we send an email to account owners - but if an existing issue gets worse, it won’t trigger an email, so it is still important for you to check your account sporadically.
This is not something you need to do every day, but we recommend you check it once in a while to make sure everything is working as intended. If your website development has defined cycles, it might be a good practice to log in to Search Console after changes are made to the website to monitor your performance.
If you’d like to have an overall idea of all the errors for a specific structured data feature in your site, you can navigate to the Enhancements menu in the left sidebar and click a feature. You'll find a summary of all errors and warnings, as well as the valid items.
As mentioned above, we added a new set of reports to help you understand more types of structured data on your site: Sitelinks searchbox and Logo. They are joining the existing set of reports on Recipe, Event, Job Posting and others. You can read more about the reports in the Search Console Help Center.
Here's an example of an Enhancement report, note that you can only see enhancements that have been detected in your pages. The report helps you with the following actions:
Review the trends of errors, warnings and valid items: To view each status issue separately, click the colored boxes above the bar chart.Review warnings and errors per page: To see examples of pages which are currently affected by the issues, click a specific row below the bar chart.
|Image: Enhancements report|
Check this report to see if Google was unable to parse any of the structured data you tried to add to your site. Parsing issues could point you to lost opportunities for rich results for your site. Below is a screenshot showing how the report looks like. You can access the report directly and read more about the report in our help center.
|Image: Unparsable Structured Data report|
Testing structured data on a URL levelTo make sure your pages were processed correctly and are eligible for rich results or as a way to diagnose why some rich result are not surfacing for a specific URL, you can use the URL Inspection tool. This tool helps you understand areas of improvement at a URL level and helps you get an idea on where to focus.
When you paste a URL into the search box at the top of Search Console, you can find what’s working properly and warnings or errors related to your structured data in the enhancements section, as seen below for Recipes.
|Image: URL Inspection tool|
Once you understand and fix the error, you can click Validate Fix (see screenshot below) so Google can start validating whether the issue is indeed fixed. When you click the Validate Fix button, Google runs several instantaneous tests. If your pages don’t pass this test, Search Console provides you with an immediate notification. Otherwise, Search Console reprocesses the rest of the affected pages.
|Image: Structured data error detail|
Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Search Advocate & Na'ama Zohary, Search Console team
We've worked hard to provide you with tools to understand how your websites are shown in Google Search results and whether there are issues you can fix. To help give a complete overview of structured data, we decided to do a series to explore it. This post provides a quick intro and discusses some best practices, future posts will focus on how to use Search Console to succeed with structured data.
What is structured data?Structured data is a common way of providing information about a page and its content - we recommend using the schema.org vocabulary for doing so. Google supports three different formats of in-page markup: JSON-LD (recommended), Microdata, and RDFa. Different search features require different kinds of structured data - you can learn more about these in our search gallery. Our developer documentation has more details on the basics of structured data.
Structured data helps Google's systems understand your content more accurately, which means it’s better for users as they will get more relevant results. If you implement structured data your pages may become eligible to be shown with an enhanced appearance in Google search results.
Disclaimer: Google does not guarantee that your structured data will show up in search results, even if your page is marked up correctly. Using structured data enables a feature to be present, it does not guarantee that it will be present. Learn more about structured data guidelines.
Sites that use structured data see resultsOver the years, we've seen a growing adoption of structured data in the ecosystem. In general, rich results help users to better understand how your pages are relevant to their searches, so they translate into success for websites. Here are some results that are showcased in our case studies gallery:
Eventbrite leveraged event structured data and saw 100% increase in the typical YOY growth of traffic from search.Jobrapido integrated with the job experience on Google Search and saw 115% increase in organic traffic, 270% increase of new user registrations from organic traffic, and 15% lower bounce rate for Google visitors to job pages.Rakuten used the recipe search experience and saw a 2.7X increase in traffic from search engines and a 1.5X increase in session duration.
How to use structured data?There are a few ways your site could benefit from structured data. Below we discuss some examples grouped by different types of goals: increase brand awareness, highlight content, and highlight product information.
1. Increase brand awarenessOne thing you can do to promote your brand with structured data is to take advantage of features such as Logo, Local business, and Sitelinks searchbox. In addition to adding structured data, you should verify your site for the Knowledge Panel and claim your business on Google My Business. Here is an example of the knowledge panel with a Logo.
2. Highlight contentIf you publish content on the web, there are a number of features that can help promote your content and attract more users, depending on your industry. For example: Article, Breadcrumb, Event, Job, Q&A, Recipe, Review and others. Here is an example of a recipe rich result.
3. Highlight product informationIf you sell merchandise, you could add product structured data to your page, including price, availability, and review ratings. Here is how your product might show for a relevant search.
Try it and let us knowNow that you understand the importance of structured data, try our codelab to learn how to add it to your pages. Stay tuned to learn more about structured data, in the coming posts we’ll be discussing how to use Search Console to better analyze your efforts.
We would love to hear your thoughts and stories on how structured data works for you, send us any feedback either through Twitter or our forum.
Posted by Daniel Waisberg, Search Advocate
Today we are rolling out support in Google Search’s AMP web results (also known as “blue links”) to link to signed exchanges, an emerging new feature of the web enabled by the IETF web packaging specification. Signed exchanges enable displaying the publisher’s domain when content is instantly loaded via Google Search. This is available in browsers that support the necessary web platform feature—as of the time of writing, Google Chrome—and availability will expand to include other browsers as they gain support (e.g. the upcoming version of Microsoft Edge).
Background on AMP’s instant loading
One of AMP's biggest user benefits has been the unique ability to instantly load AMP web pages that users click on in Google Search. Near-instant loading works by requesting content ahead of time, balancing the likelihood of a user clicking on a result with device and network constraints–and doing it in a privacy-sensitive way.
We believe that privacy-preserving instant loading web content is a transformative user experience, but in order to accomplish this, we had to make trade-offs; namely, the URLs displayed in browser address bars begin with google.com/amp, as a consequence of being shown in the Google AMP Viewer, rather than display the domain of the publisher. We heard both user and publisher feedback over this, and last year we identified a web platform innovation that provides a solution that shows the content’s original URL while still retaining AMP's instant loading.
Introducing signed exchanges
A signed exchange is a file format, defined in the web packaging specification, that allows the browser to trust a document as if it belongs to your origin. This allows you to use first-party cookies and storage to customize content and simplify analytics integration. Your page appears under your URL instead of the google.com/amp URL.
Google Search links to signed exchanges when the publisher, browser, and the Search experience context all support it. As a publisher, you will need to publish both the signed exchange version of the content in addition to the non-signed exchange version. Learn more about how Google Search supports signed exchange.
Discover is a popular way for users to stay up-to-date on all their favorite topics, even when they’re not searching. To provide publishers and sites visibility into their Discover traffic, we're adding a new report in Google Search Console to share relevant statistics and help answer questions such as:How often is my site shown in users' Discover? How large is my traffic? Which pieces of content perform well in Discover? How does my content perform differently in Discover compared to traditional search results?
A quick reminder: What is Discover?
Discover is a feature within Google Search that helps users stay up-to-date on all their favorite topics, without needing a query. Users get to their Discover experience in the Google app, on the Google.com mobile homepage, and by swiping right from the homescreen on Pixel phones. It has grown significantly since launching in 2017 and now helps more than 800M monthly active users get inspired and explore new information by surfacing articles, videos, and other content on topics they care most about. Users have the ability to follow topics directly or let Google know if they’d like to see more or less of a specific topic. In addition, Discover isn’t limited to what’s new. It surfaces the best of the web regardless of publication date, from recipes and human interest stories, to fashion videos and more. Here is our guide on how you can optimize your site for Discover.
Discover in Search Console
The new Discover report is shown to websites that have accumulated meaningful visibility in Discover, with the data shown back to March 2019. We hope this report is helpful in thinking about how you might optimize your content strategy to help users discover engaging information-- both new and evergreen.
To help users find the answers to their questions faster, we included page speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches in 2018. Since then, we've observed improvements on many pages across the web. We want to recognize the performance improvements webmasters have made over the past year. A few highlights:For the slowest one-third of traffic, we saw user-centric performance metrics improve by 15% to 20% in 2018. As a comparison, no improvement was seen in 2017. We observed improvements across the whole web ecosystem. On a per country basis, more than 95% of countries had improved speeds. When a page is slow to load, users are more likely to abandon the navigation. Thanks to these speed improvements, we've observed a 20% reduction in abandonment rate for navigations initiated from Search, a metric that site owners can now also measure via the Network Error Logging API available in Chrome. In 2018, developers ran over a billion PageSpeed Insights audits to identify performance optimization opportunities for over 200 million unique urls.
Great work and thank you! We encourage all webmasters to optimize their sites’ user experience. If you're unsure how your pages are performing, the following tools and documents can be useful:PageSpeed Insights provides page analysis and optimization recommendations. Google Chrome User Experience Report provides the user experience metrics for how real-world Chrome users experience popular destinations on the web. Documentation on performance on Web Fundamentals.
For any questions, feel free to drop by our help forums (like the webmaster community) to chat with other experts.
Sometimes a web page can be reached by using more than one URL. In such cases, Google tries to determine the best URL to display in search and to use in other ways. We call this the “canonical URL.” There are ways site owners can help us better determine what should be the canonical URLs for their content.
If you suspect we’ve not selected the best canonical URL for your content, you can check by entering your page’s address into the URL Inspection tool within Search Console. It will show you the Google-selected canonical. If you believe there’s a better canonical that should be used, follow the steps on our duplicate URLs help page on how to suggest a preferred choice for consideration.
Please be aware that if you search using the site: or inurl: commands, you will be shown the domain you specified in those, even if these aren’t the Google-selected canonical. This happens because we’re fulfilling the exact request entered. Behind-the-scenes, we still use the Google-selected canonical, including for when people see pages without using the site: or inurl: commands.
We’ve also changed URL Inspection tool so that it will display any Google-selected canonical for a URL, not just those for properties you manage in Search Console. With this change, we’re also retiring the info: command. This was an alternative way of discovering canonicals. It was relatively underused, and URL Inspection tool provides a more comprehensive solution to help publishers with URLs.
Google webspam trends and how we fought webspam in 2018
Working with users, webmasters and developers for a better web
Sometimes, Google shows dates next to listings in its search results. In this post, we’ll answer some commonly-asked questions webmasters have about how these dates are determined and provide some best practices to help improve their accuracy.
How dates are determined
Google shows the date of a page when its automated systems determine that it would be relevant to do so, such as for pages that can be time-sensitive, including news content:
Google determines a date using a variety of factors, including but not limited to: any prominent date listed on the page itself or dates provided by the publisher through structured markup.
Google doesn’t depend on one single factor because all of them can be prone to issues. Publishers may not always provide a clear visible date. Sometimes, structured data may be lacking or may not be adjusted to the correct time zone. That’s why our systems look at several factors to come up with what we consider to be our best estimate of when a page was published or significantly updated.
How to specify a date on a page
To help Google to pick the right date, site owners and publishers should:
Google recommends verifying all versions of a website -- http, https, www, and non-www -- in order to get the most comprehensive view of your site in Google Search Console. Unfortunately, many separate listings can make it hard for webmasters to understand the full picture of how Google “sees” their domain as a whole. To make this easier, today we're announcing "domain properties" in Search Console, a way of verifying and seeing the data from Google Search for a whole domain.
Domain properties show data for all URLs under the domain name, including all protocols, subdomains, and paths. They give you a complete view of your website across Search Console, reducing the need to manually combine data. So regardless of whether you use m-dot URLs for mobile pages, or are (finally) getting the migration to HTTPS set up, Search Console will be able to help with a complete view of your site's data with regards to how Google Search sees it.
If you already have DNS verification set up, Search Console will automatically create new domain properties for you over the next few weeks, with data over all reports. Otherwise, to add a new domain property, go to the property selector, add a new domain property, and use DNS verification.We recommend using domain properties where possible going forward.
Domain properties were built based on your feedback; thank you again for everything you've sent our way over the years! We hope this makes it easier to manage your site, and to get a complete overview without having to manually combine data. Should you have any questions, feel free to drop by our help forums, or leave us a comment on Twitter. And as always, you can also use the feedback feature built in to Search Console as well.
People come to Google to discover new brands and products throughout their shopping journey. On Search and Google Images, shoppers are provided with rich snippets like product description, ratings, and price to help guide purchase decisions.
Connecting potential customers with up-to-date and accurate product information is key to successful shopping journeys on Google, so today, we’re introducing new ways for merchants to provide this information to improve results for shoppers.Search Console
Many retailers and brands add structured data markup to their websites to ensure Google understands the products they sell. A new report for ‘Products’ is now available in Search Console for sites that use schema.org structured data markup to annotate product information. The report allows you to see any pending issues for markup on your site. Once an issue is fixed, you can use the report to validate if your issues were resolved by re-crawling your affected pages. Learn more about the rich result status reportsMerchant Center
While structured data markup helps Google properly display your product information when we crawl your site, we are expanding capabilities for all retailers to directly provide up-to-date product information to Google in real-time. Product data feeds uploaded to Google Merchant Center will now be eligible for display in results on surfaces like Search and Google Images. This product information will be ranked based only on relevance to users’ queries, and no payment is required or accepted for eligibility. We’re starting with the expansion in the US, and support for other countries will be announced later in the year.
In Search Console, the Performance report currently credits all page metrics to the exact URL that the user is referred to by Google Search. Although this provides very specific data, it makes property management more difficult; for example: if your site has mobile and desktop versions on different properties, you must open multiple properties to see all your Search data for the same piece of content.
To help unify your data, Search Console will soon begin assigning search metrics to the (Google-selected) canonical URL, rather than the URL referred to by Google Search. This change has several benefits:It unifies all search metrics for a single piece of content into a single URL: the canonical URL. This shows you the full picture about a specific piece of content in one property. For users with separate mobile or AMP pages, it unifies all (or most, since some mobile URLs may end up as canonical) of your data to a single property (the "canonical" property). It improves the usability of the AMP and Mobile-Friendly reports. These reports currently show issues in the canonical page property, but show the impression in the property that owns the actual URL referred to by Google Search. After this change, the impressions and issues will be shown in the same property.
When will this happen?
We plan to transition all performance data on April 10, 2019. In order to provide continuity to your data, we will pre-populate your unified data beginning from January 2018. We will also enable you to view both old and new versions for a few weeks during the transition to see the impact and understand the differences.
API and Data Studio users: The Search Console API will change to canonical data on April 10, 2019.
How will this affect my data?At an individual URL level, you will see traffic shift from any non-canonical (duplicate) URLs to the canonical URL. At the property level, you will see data from your alternate property (for example, your mobile site) shifted to your "canonical property". Your alternate property traffic probably won't drop to zero in Search Console because canonicalization is at the page, not the property level, and your mobile property might have some canonical pages. However, for most users, most property-level data will shift to one property. AMP property traffic will drop to zero in most cases (except for self-canonical pages). You will still be able to filter data by device, search appearance (such as AMP), country, and other dimensions without losing important information about your traffic.
You can see some examples of these traffic changes below.
Over the last year, the new Search Console has been growing and growing, with the goal of making it easier for site owners to focus on the important tasks. For us, focus means being able to put in all our work into the new Search Console, being committed to the users, and with that, being able to turn off some of the older, perhaps already-improved, aspects of the old Search Console. This gives us space to further build out the new Search Console, adding and improving features over time.
Here are some of the upcoming changes in Search Console that we're planning on making towards end of March, 2019:
Crawl errors in the new Index Coverage report
One of the more common pieces of feedback we received was that the list of crawl errors in Search Console was not actionable when it came to setting priorities (it's normal that Google crawls URLs which don't exist, it's not something that needs to be fixed on the website). By changing the focus on issues and patterns used for site indexing, we believe that site owners will be able to find and fix issues much faster (and when issues are fixed, you can request reprocessing quickly too). With this, we're going to remove the old Crawl Errors report - for desktop, smartphone, and site-wide errors. We'll continue to improve the way issues are recognized and flagged, so if there's something that would help you, please submit feedback in the tools.
Along with the Crawl Errors report, we're also deprecating the crawl errors API that's based on the same internal systems. At the moment, we don't have a replacement for this API. We'll inform API users of this change directly.
Sitemaps data in Index Coverage
As we move forward with the new Search Console, we're turning the old sitemaps report off. The new sitemaps report has most of the functionality of the old report, and we're aiming to bring the rest of the information - specifically for images & video - to the new reports over time. Moreover, to track URLs submitted in sitemap files, within the Index Coverage report you can select and filter using your sitemap files. This makes it easier to focus on URLs that you care about.