Structured data is all the rage in Sydney SEO these days. If you don’t already know, structured data is the coding you put into your page to allow the opportunities to have extra features displayed on your search engines results listing.
For example if you correctly implement the review schema onto your page, then you could have the little stars included in your listing. There is such a large variety of different structured data or schema options to implement on your website.
If you are new to this feature, it can be difficult to get your head around, but the good news is there is a website called Schema.org that can help you. This website provides all the different types of structured data that can be implemented as well as giving you actual code examples, so you can copy and paste the schema you are looking for then replace the required details.
While there are many opportunities that lay within structured data, there is however a lot of people that are making structured data mistakes. You also need to be careful because Google is known to slap websites with structured data penalties to those who are misusing the function.
When implementing structured data on your page, you should check if it is valid or not by using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. With this tool you can quickly determine whether or not the implemented structured data is correct, if not you can pin point and easily rectify the issue.
So have a look below at some of the most common structured data mistakes that you should avoid at all costs:
1. Mismatch Between Structured Data and Content on Page
One common mistake that many people tend to make is that they put structured data on a page that doesn’t actually match the content. This means that the information you included in the structured data should be the same information included on the website.
2. Not Reviewing Structured Data General Guidelines
As well as following the specific guidelines of each different data schema, it is important you also take a look at Google’s own published guidelines that explain the overall usage of structured data.
The reason you should take a good look at Google’s structured data guidelines is to ensure you are not doing anything that will get your website penalized. Make sure you are always up to date with these guidelines and be sure to check if there are any chances made to the best practice of structured data.
Here it is important to note that even though Google’s Structured Data Tool may say your code is valid, it may not actually be correct. This is why you should regularly check with the structured data guidelines. Being slapped with a penalty is certainly far from ideal and you should always look to avoid.
3. Using Incorrect Structured Data
There are lots of different structured data options available and it is important for you to choose the right one. As an example, you should not use structured data for a product if your company offers a service. Even something this small could result in a penalty from the search engine giant.
4. Using Shortcuts
There are a few ways to implement structured data that can manipulate Google’s algorithm and therefore rankings. One common example of this is when a website implements job posting structured data when their website is not looking for a new employee.
This is known as manipulative behaviour and Google is working hard to crack down on this as they do not want to provide users with a sub par experience. You should always stick to what Google likes and knows, never try to trick Google because ultimately they will find out and you will pay the price.
5. Not Following Specific Data Types Guidelines
Reading specific data types guidelines is just as important as reading Google’s structured data guidelines. By not reading this set of guidelines, it can results in a number of different errors which can in turn result in a penalty to your website, so make sure you take the time to carefully read it.
Have a look on different developers pages, even Google offers information here to find out what works and what you should avoid. It certainly will not take you that long to read the guidelines and is worth the time so that you do not get a penalty.
The potential benefits of structured data are simply huge and you should certainly consider implementing this on your website (if you haven’t already). However, you do need to be careful when you are using structured data on your website because there are a number of different places you can slip up and it could result in a penalty.