Google penalties for structured data – 5 mistakes to avoid

Adding structured data is always a good idea. However, incorrect implementation may result in manual action (Google’s penalty). And losing rankings is a high price you pay for not paying attention to those details. Structured

data spam is real. Google even has a dedicated support page . The sad thing about structured data penalties is that they can be caused by a simple misunderstanding or by creating a lot of data without regard to Google’s guidelines. Spam penalties (also known as manual actions) can occur when there is no intention to spam. An error will still be considered spam.​

Google penalties for structured data - 5 mistakes to avoid

This is why it is important to understand everything in the right direction to avoid repeating the mistakes that others have made. Reviewing the webmaster help forum has a number of common errors that cause publishers to ask for help.

Here are 5 structured data errors people often make:

  • Using data with inappropriate structure
  • Structured data does not match the content on the page
  • Violations of Google’s Guidelines for specific data types
  • Violating Google’s General Principles of Structured Data
  • Shortcuts and arbitrary work (also known as charismatic behavior)

1. Use of structured data inappropriately

This is the type of thing that can happen when not making the right choice for structured data. For example, use structured data designed for Products when the company is providing services. Something that looks hurt can lead to a manual penalty from Google .

Google penalties for structured data - 5 mistakes to avoid
(Screenshot of the post in the Help Forum Google Webmaster. One member was fined for using a structured data type error.)

2. Structured data must match the content on the page

Regardless of the information used, such as pricing, that information must be accurately reflected in the content of the page displayed to the user. In the example below, a job posting website once listed a salary range for site visitors to consider, but that salary is displayed differently in structured data.

Google penalties for structured data - 5 mistakes to avoid
(Structured data does not match the data on the site.)

3. Not reading developer pages for specific data types

Failure to read and follow instructions for specific data types can lead to various errors. These errors may result in manual penalties.

It is important to double check the examples on the Google developer page for what is appropriate and inappropriate. Five minutes of reading the instructions can save you a weekly penalty.

There are currently 20 developer pages for the following types of content:

  • article
  • Book
  • Course
  • Dataset
  • Employer Aggregate
  • Event
  • Fact Check
  • Job Posting
  • Local Business
  • Media (restricted)
  • Occupation
  • Paywalled content
  • Podcast
  • Product
  • Recipe
  • Review
  • Software App (beta)
  • Speakable (beta)
  • Top Places List (beta)
  • Video

4. No review of the general guidelines for structured data

In addition to guidelines regarding specific data types, Google has also published guidelines that cover all uses of structured data. It is important to understand these general policies to avoid penalties.

Important note: Just because the data has an authentication structure in Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, that doesn’t mean it’s accurate.

Familiarize yourself with Google’s General Structured Data Guidelines . The importance of understanding these principles cannot be overstated.

Google penalties for structured data - 5 mistakes to avoid
5. Shortcut or Attractive Behavior

The example below is that the website does not have a job offer but still uses structured Post Job data. This is a compelling behavior designed to attract users from Google search results to a page that doesn’t provide what is contained in structured data.

Google penalties for structured data - 5 mistakes to avoid

I asked MediaWyse’s data structure expert Casey Markee about the common mistakes he saw.

Casey provides the following valuable insights:

“The biggest mistake I see is hiding the schema from the page. For example, hide aggregated reviews or stars but show them as highlighted.

That is not allowed.

And it is important to note that QUALITY plays a huge role in losing the location of the required excerpts, but you may not always trigger a manual notification.

The most common example of this I see is when you have a popular page with lots of structured data suddenly losing all the featured snippets visible in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). search results).

The most common reason why this happens is because the page has accumulated hundreds of comments and the page speed drops down quickly!

I just need to visit, paginate or lazy to load comments and BOOM, excerpts highlight back. Usually within a few hours “.

So in those cases, you feel like a penalty and you lose traffic but Google doesn’t send notifications. ”

That’s great advice and insights! Try doing your research. Read all instructions. Don’t let Structured Data Testing Tools make you make the mistake that everything is okay. If you avoid these five errors then you are on your way to success with Structured Data.

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