Structured Data General Guidelines

These are the general guidelines that apply to all structured data. These guidelines must be followed to enable structured data to be eligible for inclusion in Google Search results. Pages or sites that violate these content guidelines may receive less favorable ranking or be marked as ineligible for rich results in Google Search in order to maintain a high-quality search experience for our users. If your page includes structured data or content that is considered spam, you will see a message on your Manual Actions page in Search Console.

Technical guidelines

You can test compliance with technical guidelines using the Structured Data Testing Tool and Fetch as Google tool, which will catch most technical errors.

Format

In order to be eligible for rich results, you should mark up your site’s pages using one of three supported formats:

  • JSON-LD (recommended)
  • Microdata
  • RDFa

Access

Do not block your structured data pages to Googlebot using robots.txt, noindex, or any other access control methods.

Quality guidelines

These guidelines are not easily testable using an automated tool. Violating a quality guideline can prevent syntactically correct structured data from being displayed as a rich result in Google Search, or possibly cause it to be marked as spam.

Content

  • Follow the Google webmasters quality guidelines.
  • Provide up-to-date information. We won’t show a rich result for time-sensitive content that is no longer relevant.
  • Provide original content that you or your users have generated.
  • Don't mark up content that is not visible to users. For example, if the JSON-LD markup describes a performer, the HTML body should describe that same performer.
  • Don't mark up irrelevant or misleading content, such as fake reviews or content unrelated to the focus of a page.
  • Content must not promote pedophilia, bestiality, sexual violence, violent or cruel acts, or targeted hatred.

Relevance

Your structured data should be a true representation of the page content. Here are some examples of irrelevant data:

  • A sports live streaming site labeling broadcasts as local events.
  • A woodworking site labeling instructions as recipes.

Completeness

  • Specify all required properties for your rich result type. Items that are missing required properties are not be eligible for rich results.
  • The more recommended properties that you provide, the higher quality the result is to users. For example: users prefer job postings with explicitly stated salaries than those without; users prefer recipes with actual user reviews and genuine star ratings (note that reviews or ratings not by actual users are considered spammy). Rich result ranking takes extra information into consideration.

Location

  • Put the structured data on the page that it describes, unless specified otherwise by the documentation. Put structured data on a summary page that links to other detail pages, whether on your own site or another website (unless this is a summary carousel page). For example, the following pages should not host structured data (other than carousel markup):

    Don't mark up a page that describes "10 best ideas for cooking turkey," with links out to each recipe.

    Don't mark up a page that lists all engineering jobs in Mountain View, CA, with links to individual job pages.

  • If you have duplicate pages for the same content, you should put the same structured data in all page duplicates, not just the canonical page. (Technically you only need the structured data on the canonical page, but because you cannot guarantee which page Googlebot considers canonical, it is safest to put your structured data in all copies of the same page.)

Specificity

Images

  • When specifying an image as a structured data property, make sure that the image actually belongs to the instance of that type. For example, if you define the the image property of schema.org/NewsArticle.image, the marked-up image must directly belong to that news article.
  • All image URLs must be crawlable and indexable. Otherwise, we will not be able to display them on the search results page.

Multiple elements on a page

You can include multiple structured data objects on a page, as long as they describe user-visible page content. However, if you mark up one item in a list you must mark up all items; marking up just one category entity from all listed on the page is against our guidelines. Examples:

A recipe page with both recipe text and an accompanying video. Mark the text and video separately with schema.org/Recipe and schema.org/VideoObject respectively.

A category page listing several different products (or recipes, videos, or any other type). Each entity should be marked up using the relevant schema.org type, such as schema.org/Product for product category pages. However, if one item is marked, all items should be marked. Also, unless this is a carousel page, the marked items should not link out to separate details pages.

A video play page with related videos embedded in a separate section on the page. In this case, mark up the main video and related videos individually.

Common errors

Read the common errors documentation to learn about common mistakes in coding structured data.

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