a guide to organization structured data for google rich results via sejournal martinibuster

A Guide To ‘Organization’ Structured Data For Google Rich Results via @sejournal, @martinibuster

a guide to organization structured data for google rich results via sejournal martinibuster

Organization schema structured data is useful to have on a website because it communicates important information to Google that can then be used to present an organization’s data in the search results in an attractive manner.

This is why implementing organization structured data correctly is important.

Structure Data Types And Properties

Before we get into the organization data type, it’s important to understand what a data type and property are.

There are two components of structured data that must be understood in order for it to make some sense:

  • Structured Data Type: A structured data type is generally a thing.
  • Structured Data Property: A structured data property is a quality of the thing (commonly referred to as an attribute).

To use the technical language of structured data, a property is an attribute of a structured data type.

Structured Data Type And Properties Defined

When you look at a structured data script you’ll see that it has data types.

The data types tell what the subject of the Schema.org structured data is about.

Analogy Of A Structured Data Type

For example, an analogy of a data type could be a person.

In this example, a person is a thing  (or data type) that this make-believe structured data script is about.

The person’s height, gender, and the color of their hair can be said to be attributes of that person.

Those attributes, in structured data, are called properties of the data type (in this make-believe example, a person).

Organization Data Type & Its Properties

Getting back to the organization type, a company can be the thing that is described.

Or, as is often the case, the organization type is a part of a bigger structured data.

Nested Organization Structured Data

A structured data script can contain multiple structured data types.

This is called nesting the data types.

Like other structured data types, the organization structured data type can be a part of a larger structured data script.

This is referred to as “nested.”

For example, the organization structured data type can be nested within a university “course” structured data to indicate the name of the school offering the course.

Here is an example of the organization structured data type nested within a university course structured data.

Example From Google:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{ "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "Course", "name": "Introduction to Computer Science and Programming", "description": "Introductory CS course laying out the basics.", "provider": {
"@type": "Organization", "name": "University of Technology - Eureka", "sameAs": "http://www.ut-eureka.edu"
}
}
</script>

As you can see above, the organization structured data is nested within another structured data, in this case, it is nested within the course structured data script.

Recipe Structured Data And Organization Data Type

Google’s recipe structured data documentation includes a recommended property for the author or organization for each recipe structured data.

If the author is a specific person then it makes sense to use the person property type for the author.

Sometimes, a specific person isn’t credited with the content, and in that case, the organization structured data type can be used.

When the organization structured data type is used, the rich results will show the organization’s name as the author of the content.

Organization Structured Data

In the specific case of school course structured data, Google requires the use of the organization data type for every single course that has a structured data markup for it.

But Google does not require it for other structured data that can feature an organization type.

A good example of this is with the product structured data.

Google provides structured data guides for two situations:

  1. A page for a single product.
  2. An aggregator page for a single product.

An aggregator is a site or platform that lists products from multiple sellers.

Google’s guide for the product structured data recommends using either the “brand” or the “organization” structured data type.

For sellers of products, it doesn’t really make sense to use the “organization” to describe the manufacturer or seller of a product. The brand is more specific and logical.

Whether the retailer is Walmart, Etsy, Amazon, or eBay, you’re likely not going to see the organization data type used on their product pages.

The reason is that the “brand” structured data type is more appropriate.

If you go to Google’s Rich Results Test page and test the URLs of a product page from eBay, Etsy, Walmart, or Amazon, you’ll see that none of those sites use the organization structured data for the products listed for sale on their sites.

The takeaway is that the organization structured data is not always appropriate, even when Google says it’s okay to use it, which is the case in numerous situations.

When Google suggests a better alternative it is usually a good idea to choose the alternative choice.

Local Business Organizations

There are other situations where the organization structured data type can be used, such as for the local business structured data.

However, there are many options to choose from in terms of local business types, which makes choosing the organization structured data type not the best choice.

Organization can be too general to use for a local business.

So, it’s best to choose the most specific business type when creating structured data for a local business.

If the business is a restaurant, then it’s best to use the specific restaurant structured data.

Google recommends:

“Use the most specific LocalBusiness sub-type possible; for example, Restaurant, DaySpa, HealthClub, and so on.”

More information is available on Google’s Search Central page for local businesses.

Local Business Reviews

It is important to note that a local business can add user reviews about their business to their local business structured data.

One thing to take note of is that the local business structured data, including those with customer reviews, should not be reproduced on every page of a website.

Google’s John Mueller specifically discouraged the use of local business organization structured data that features reviews on every page.

Apparently, some businesses began using that structured data on every page in the hopes of obtaining review star rich results on Google’s search results page.

In an After Hours Google hangout, at about the 51:36 minute mark of the video, John Mueller explained:

“As far as I know it’s just the home page… it doesn’t matter for us as much because we need to be able to find it on somewhere like the home page or the contact page.

But if we have it elsewhere then it doesn’t change anything for us.

So, the big thing to not compare it to is the review markup, where we sometimes see people put company review on all pages of the website with the hope of getting stars on the search results of every page on their site and that would be bad.

But the contact information, if you have that marked up, then it’s fine. I don’t see a problem with that.”

Organization Logo Structured Data

An important use of the organization structured data type is to tell the search engines about the organization’s logo.

This kind of structured data helps Google to match a logo to an organization’s website and the organization itself.

Google states in its documentation about the logo structured data markup that this specific structured data sends a strong signal to Google to use this logo in their knowledge panel.

The data is then used within a knowledge panel rich result so that when a user searches for the name of the organization, Google can show the logo and other information about the site in a special panel of the search results.

Google offers the following structured data example:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{ "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "Organization", "url": "http://www.example.com", "logo": "http://www.example.com/images/logo.png"
}
</script>

Where To Use The Logo Structured Data

As Mueller indicated about the organization review of structured data, this markup can be used on the home page. It can also be used on an About Us or a Contact Page.

Where the structured data is placed is less important than John’s recommendation that it only needs to be used once.

Use Google’s Guidelines To Become Eligible For Rich Results

Some may say that Google is forcing businesses to use specific structured data.

But that’s not the case.

Google is not dictating what structured data businesses can use. Businesses can use whatever structured data they want.

However, that non-Google recommended structured data won’t help the site rank better or help it achieve a rich result.

Only Google-recommended structured data makes a site eligible for rich results.

Stick To Google’s Guidelines For Structured Data

There are a lot of options available for creating structured data. It’s easy to spend hours becoming creative in building a structured data script.

Schema.org offers a wide range of structured data types and properties. But Google only uses some of the options, not all of them.

It’s best to stick with what Google recommends, especially with their guidelines for best practice.

By adhering to recommended structured data, you’ll be able to provide what is needed in order to best communicate what your page is about and possibly achieve an enhanced listing in the Google search results.

Google Structured Data Guidelines

Before using any of the structured data that is related to the organization structured data type, it’s important to become acquainted with Google’s structured data guidelines.

These guidelines are designed to inform SEOs and publishers about bad practices that can cause a site to receive a manual action penalty that can reduce a website’s visibility on Google’s search results pages.

The structured data guidelines apply to all structured data types.

Top considerations that Google says are problematic:

“The structured data is not representative of the main content of the page, or is potentially misleading.

The structured data is incorrect in a way that the Rich Results Test was not able to catch.

The content referred to by the structured data is hidden from the user.”

Type-Specific Structured Data Guidelines

In addition to abiding by the general structured data guidelines, each kind of structured data (like reviews, local, recipe structured data, etc.), comes with its own guidelines and recommendations.

Each kind of structured data has “required” properties that must be included in the structured data.

There are also “recommended” properties that are optional.

When validating the structured data using Google’s Rich Results Tester, the tool will flag missing properties as “errors” and call attention to missing “recommended” properties as warnings.

It’s generally safe to ignore the warnings as these won’t likely affect eligibility to be shown in Google’s rich results.

Invalid structured data that doesn’t have the required properties will not be eligible for rich results.

The Use Of Organization Structured Data Type

There are many situations where Google recommends the use of the organization structured data type.

In some cases, Google offers a choice between the organization type and a more specific type. In those situations, it’s generally best to choose the more specific type.

Lastly, while structured data plugins and tools offer the opportunity to automatically create the structured data, they don’t really guide you on what you need.

It’s important to also understand what the tool is outputting because then you’ll be able to make better decisions using your own best judgment, and who better than yourself to make that call?

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