3 New Google Search Console Reports To Help You Better Succeed with Structured Data
By Iris Hearn
Structured data is quickly evolving from a nice-to-have feature for advanced site developers to a must-have item to help Google understand your site.
For those that don’t know, structured data (also called Rich Snippets/Rich Results/Schema Markup) are lines of code embedded in your web pages that explicitly tells Google how you want elements of your website to appear in search results.
From things like telling Google what lines to pull in an effort to rank zero for a particular query, to showing a 5-star review under your search listing, it’s a great way to better control how your site is displayed for searchers.
As more people are using structured data on websites, there are more questions about its effectiveness, and if the code is successfully appearing as intended in SERP listing.
For this reason, Google has been rolling out dedicated reports to help site owners better understand their structured data performance and fix any errors.
This week, Google announced three new reports coming to search console to help site owners make the most out of structured data use.
New Enhancement Reports
Enhancement reports provide a better view of existing errors for specific structured data elements on your website.
When there is a known error with a piece of structured data, Google will send the site owner an email upon identifying it, but if an existing or known issue gets worse, site owners will not be updated.
For this reason, it’s important to check in on these reports to ensure that the time spent crafting these structured data elements is indeed working on search engines.
The enhancement reports have the added benefit of viewing any errors or valid snippets by type, so you can really zero in on if each is working.
Once you have an enhancement (created by structure data) selected, you can view which pages are giving errors, warnings, and which are valid and see the progression of fixes/worsening issues over time, as seen in the chart above.
Previously, these reports were only available for the current snippet types:
- Fact Check
- Job Posting
- Q&A Page
Now, Google has added two new structured data types to these reports: Logos and Sitetlink Search Box.
Logos Enhancement Report
Site owners can use structured data to tell Google what image to pull for the company logo, where it will display in the box below:
When you go into the Logo enhancement report, you can see if there are any issues with your logo snippet, and track issues over time to ensure Google is reading the snippet correctly.
Sitelink Search Box Enhancement Report
Site owners can use this schema to add a search box under your SERP listing in Google that allows users to search your web pages without leaving the search engine, as seen in the example below:
Same as the logo enhancement report, data from this report will tell you if there are any errors with your Sitelink Search Snippet, either new or worsening. Additionally, you’ll be able to tell if any functionality is broken that is causing Google is reading your snippet incorrectly.
While users have been able to use these snippets on their site for some time now, there was no way or tracking known or new issues overtime up until now.
As featured snippet use becomes more widely used, we can expect that they’ll continue adding new features to be tracked via the enhancement reports.
Unparsable Structured Data Report
As stated above, the enhancement reports are great for tracking issues on known feature types, however, sometimes Google isn’t able to read what feature you’re trying to tell them in your structured data code.
When this happens, it’s known as an unparsable snippet.
Previously, there wasn’t a clear way to track this, since Google didn’t have a clear “home” for these unidentifiable snippets.
Now, with this new report, you can view all the snippets placed on your site that Google wasn’t able to identify a feature type for.
Here’s an example of what this report looks like:
As you can see, all items in this report are errors - it will not show any valid results or resolved issues.
For this reason, it’s important to validate any resolved issues via the URL Inspection Tool to clarify that it has indeed been resolved.
This can help you get a higher-level view of how Google is understanding your snippets, and catch issues that may otherwise have been overlooked.
Since this report is still relatively new, I would guess that Google is planning to build out a clearer path to track these parsing issues over time.
Keep Your Eyes On These Reports
Having a faulty structured data markup is similar to developing a web page and never launching it. The work has been done, but the results aren’t being displayed to the public.
And because these snippets can be more or less “invisible,” it can be hard to spot when they break or were never working properly to begin with.
For this reason, it’s so important that site owners taking advantage of structured data also put in the time to ensure they’re working properly.
Google recommends checking these reports sporadically to make sure no issues are flying under the radar.
Specifically, a good time to check would be after any major website update (whether a snippet was added or not) and continue to check overtime to make sure no known issues are worsening.
If done correctly, you can ensure your efforts are paying off - and even identify new opportunities for improvement along the way.
Wondering where to begin?