Google announced today that it will start supporting structured data for discussion forums and profile pages in Google Search.
This change will allow Google to better identify and display information from web forums. These updates also impact how content from forums and personal profiles appears in search results.
Lastly, Google announced new reporting capabilities for the new structured data in Search Console.
Here are all the details.
Structured Data For Online Forums
Google is introducing this new structured data markup to enhance the visibility of first-hand content from online forums in search results.
The announcement reads:
“This markup works with Google Search features that are designed to show first-person perspectives from social media platforms, forums, and other communities. Implementing this structured data will help ensure what Search shows in these features is as accurate and complete as possible.”
New ‘ProfilePage’ structured data will allow Google Search to better identify key information about content creators, including their name, social media handle, number of followers, profile photo, and content popularity.
The goal is to deliver accurate information about creators of first-person content in Google Search. New markup gives Google extra data to display enhanced creator profiles and metrics related to their content.
A new markup called DiscussionForumPosting is intended for use on forums where users share personal perspectives and experiences.
The markup will help Google Search better identify and surface online discussions from across the web. However, Google stated that this markup doesn’t guarantee inclusion in the “Perspectives” and “Discussions and Forums” sections.
Discussion Forums vs Q&As
Google provided the following guidance on when to use DiscussionForumPosting versus Q&A markup.
Q&A markup is recommended for forums structured around questions and answers, while DiscussionForumPosting is better suited for more open-ended forums that do not follow a strict question-answer format.
Search Console Support
Google is launching a new Search Console report to help monitor the use of the new structured data. The reports will provide details on errors, warnings, and valid items detected on pages with markup.
In its Rich Results Test tool, Google supports testing and validating profile pages and discussion forum markup.
Understanding Structured Data
Structured data uses unique code to help search engines better understand your website content. It provides context so search engines know what your content is about.
For example, if two known content creators have the same name, adding structured data would help Google distinguish them and display their information accurately.
Potential Implications of Google’s Announcement
With this new structured data for discussion forums and profile pages, Google is helping content creators better control how their content appears in search results.
These are some potential implications of the new structured data:
- Improved Search Appearance: When implemented correctly, structured data can help your webpages stand out in Google, potentially increasing click-through rates.
- More Visibility For Creators: Individual creators may have a better chance of getting highlighted in search results alongside large publishers. This could potentially democratize content visibility.
- Audience Growth: Google’s new markup will allow it to better identify content creators and their information, including links to social profiles. This could be a boon to anyone who depends on their brand for visibility.
Remember that this is a voluntary feature. You’re not required to implement this structured data. However, those who do may enjoy improved visibility in Google’s search results.
Featured Image: Ashan Randika/Shutterstock