Google updated their documentation of forum structured data to clarify authorship related requirements to the InteractionCounter schema.org data type and to add a new recommended property for the author type.
Both changes affect how Google interprets information related to users who are posting comments in a forum.
It’s additionally of interest because it shows how interested Google is in pinpointing the authors of content, this time within the context of a forum.
Search results that feature user generated answers from forums currently do not feature author names.
But Google is increasingly doing more with authorship signals such as showing the names of authors of news articles so it’s an open question whether showing forum user names is something being considered or if Google will be doing something else with author data behind the scenes.
InteractionCounter Structured Data Type
A Schema.org structured data type is the main part of a given section of structured data code. The Property is just a description of that structured data Type.
In Schema.org jargon, a Property is an attribute of the Type.
The InteractionCounter Schema.org structured data type tells Google how many times an author interaction has happened.
This is important because InteractionCounter structured data has required structured data properties. Required means that using the properties is mandatory for eligibility to be shown in Google Perspectives and other search results that feature rich results.
Google’s previous forum documentation for the InteractionCounter “type” was vague and only offered definitions of two “properties” associated with that type. It did not offer an examples of the context of using that data Type and the two associated Properties.
Google clarified this section so that it’s more obvious why the InteractionCounter type is important and useful to use in documenting various author interactions.
More Details About interactionType
Here is what Google changed in the forum structured data documentation.
The guidance previously stated:
See the place where this is used for a list of valid Action subtypes for this property.”
Below is what the new guidance shows, with the changed text highlighted with italics:
interactionType Subtype of Action
For a list of valid Action subtypes for this property, check the property that’s using InteractionCounter (for example, interactionStatistic).“
Author Added To Required Properties
Another important change to the Forum structured data guidance is the addition of the author.url Property of the Comment structured data Type.
This change is also important because it’s a required property that affects eligibility for the associated forum-related rich results in Google search.
This is the new guidance that was added:
A link to a web page that uniquely identifies the author of the post, most likely a profile page of the forum. We recommend marking up that page using profile page structured data.”
Read Google’s newly updated guidance on forum structured data:
Discussion forum (DiscussionForumPosting) structured data
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