Structured data – questions and answers with Google

Fernando Maciá

Written by Fernando Maciá

Fernando Maciá Structured Data and Google Search Live HangoutYesterday I had the opportunity to participate with Anton Shulke, Cristian Sepúlveda, Gianluca Fiorelli and Aleyda Solís in a question and answer session to which Juan Felipe Rincón, from Google, kindly submitted himself. This was the first live Q&A Hangout in Spanish, organized by, at the initiative of Cristian Sepúlveda, from Rank Tools. The topic: Google Search and Structured Data.

Juan Felipe leads the global webmaster outreach and support team within Google’s search quality team. His mission, and that of his team, is to help site owners create exceptional content that is accessible to their users. These days their main job is to help site owners have the resources they need to protect themselves from hackers and other malicious actors.

Anton coordinated the event from Kiev and the participants had shared in a Google document (how could we not?) the questions we wanted to ask Juan Felipe. After reviewing those of the other colleagues, each one put his initial in front of the ones he considered most important, since the total number exceeded those that could be dealt with in the space of an hour. Anton delegated Aleyda to moderate the event and it went as you can see in the video below.

If you want to know what questions Human Level Communications asked, these are the ones we proposed. You will see that we managed to “sneak” several of them into the interview, so a very positive balance for this first participation of our company in a question and answer session in this Live Hangout format with Google.

  • Are all schemas defined in understood and applied by Google or only those specified in Introduction to Structured Data Types? In other words, should it be a generic SEO recommendation to apply the maximum detail even if those types and/or properties do not result in rich snippets or are documented by Google in any way? Does this make any kind of difference between the importance that Google attributes to some types over others?
  • When the positioning objective of a URL has to do with its main content but not with its supplementary content (for example, a page with a news item that also includes headlines and/or photos of other news items related or not to the main one), should we apply the scheme only to this main news item or also to all the news items -related or not to the main one- included in the page?
  • Frequently, content sections such as blogs, FAQs, tutorials, user guides, etc. also include as supplementary content related products that could be of interest to the user visiting that page, although it is not the positioning objective of the page. If these contents, in addition, are of different types (products and related posts), should we apply the most relevant scheme to each content category even if the page includes multiple entities, will this positively affect the relevance of the main content or could it dilute it?
  • And, in both cases, do we simply apply the scheme for news list or product list or, in addition, in each product/news item do we apply the product/news item scheme?
  • Sometimes we encounter very general entities – e.g., event – whose properties can be “fitted”, albeit necessarily, into some kind of schema. For example, mark a flight page as an “event”. The event would be the flight, with a start date, end date and venue at the departure airport. Is it advisable to make this type of “lace”? Does it contribute anything to relevance? Does it affect negatively?
  • Is it advisable to apply the service scheme to companies that provide services even though a large part of the properties of this scheme cannot be included? For example, it is difficult for a consulting firm to include prices or payment methods on its services pages.
  • On Web sites that migrate to https, should Schema also be referenced under https? If not, is there a problem with leaving references under http?
  • Given the increasing use of mobile as a search tool and the weight of geolocation, is it particularly important to apply the LocalBusiness scheme for local SEO? Should it be a generic recommendation? Any specific recommendations in this area?
  • In e-commerce, variants of the same product (e.g. different colors) are often consolidated on the same URL via URL or canonical parameters to avoid duplicate content. When the product category makes the color highly relevant (e.g., in apparel) and therefore has search potential, does applying the product schema with this specific property prevent Google from detecting different product URLs as duplicate content?
  • When implementing structured data, some customers want to know what the benefit they can get from their implementation will be in relation to the cost. To what extent does it benefit the positioning and/or visibility of a Web site to have a comprehensive implementation of structured data? Is this benefit the same for both desktop and mobile results? What are the differences?
  • In its structured data checking tool, Google detects the absence of some properties as an error (in red), while in other cases it is simply a recommendation (in orange). In cases where it detects them as an error, does it invalidate Google’s global interpretation of the schema or will it simply interpret the properties that are specified, ignoring those that are not? Are there differences between required and recommended properties?
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Fernando Maciá
Fernando Maciá
Founder and CEO of Human Level. Expert SEO consultant with more than 20 years of experience. He has been a professor at numerous universities and business schools, and director of the Master in Professional SEO and SEM and the Advanced SEO Course at KSchool. Author of a dozen books on SEO and digital marketing.

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