Structured Data Implementation in the Real World - Q&A

Geoff Kennedy
Published 17 November 2020

Structured Data Implementation in the Real World - Q&A

Structured data theory is all well and good, but getting it implemented in the real world can be a whole different matter!

On 11th of November we ran the second in our series of live, structured data Q&A sessions, this time focusing on structured data implementation in the real world. We were able to cover some great questions from the live-chat, as well as those submitted beforehand. 

You can find our first Q&A session on 'making the business case for structured data' here.

Special Guests

This time we had two more amazing structured data experts join us: Nik Ranger and Tony McCreath.

Both Tony and Nik and based in Australia, so it was a great opportunity to co-ordinate the livestream at a slightly more accessible time of day for our audience in that part of the world! (Sorry to everyone in the US, you'll have to make do with the video this time)

Nik is a Technical SEO at StudioHawk, the largest SEO agency in Australia and also co-hosts SEO Meetup Melbourne. Tony is also a technical SEO and specialises in eCommerce and BigCommerce, he's also responsible for the Classy Schema structured data toolset. Most importantly, both of our guests know only too well the challenges of getting structured data implemented in the real world!

Alongside our guests were myself (Geoff Kennedy), and Patrick Hathaway, co-founder of Sitebulb. We also had Simon Cox very kindly helping us out, managing the live chat.

Watch the Full Livestream

Watch the full Q&A livestream recording here:

Please subscribe to the Sitebulb YouTube channel so we can keep you updated with future livestreams and webinars.

Jump Straight to the Questions

If you want to dive straight to one of the questions, use the links below which will take you to the point in the video where we covered that question, along with the full transcript:

  1. How do you decide what structure data to start with?
  2. What is the best Schema markup for services with geographically targeted landing pages?
  3. Is it worth investing time/resource and implementing every item of Schema applicable to your business?
  4. Should I create structured data markup or leave that to client developers?
  5. What methods have you used with client's sites, where Structured data wasn't built into the CMS?
  6. Does my Structured data have to be exactly what visitors see on the page?
  7. My structured data is live and validated, but I'm not seeing any rich results. What can I do?
  8. What should I do with Schema if it's no longer relevant?
  9. Schema is constantly evolving. How do you keep up to date with what's available?
  10. What is your top tip for structured data implementation in the real world?

Resources

Here's some resources that were either mentioned on the livestream, or support what we talked about:

Full Livestream Transcript

Here we have the full transcript of the livestream in all it's glory:

Geoff:
Hello and welcome to the second Sitebulb Structured data live Q&A. Today we're going to be talking about Structured data implementation in the real world. My name is Geoff Kennedy, and today I've got Patrick Hathaway and special guests, Nik Ranger, and Tony McCreath.

Nik Ranger:
Howdy, howdy.

Tony McCreath:
Hello everyone.

Patrick:
Also hello.

Geoff:
So as with the Q&A we did last month, format today is going to be pretty informal. And to get started, I'm going to ask both of our guests to give themselves a bit of an introduction. So Nik, would you like to tell everyone who you are, what you do and what Structured data is to you?

Nik Ranger:
Howdy, howdy. Really, really lovely to meet you guys and the Sitebulb audience. Howdy. My name is Nik Ranger, I'm a technical SEO at StudioHawk. We're the largest SEO agency in Australia, and maybe beyond, but that's awesome. My primary interest I think is technical audits. I love walking through e-commerce websites and unpacking some of the more juicy, interesting reasons why sites have massive crawl issues, to which there are many. Especially for my clients is. Schema is a fantastic way to be able to show and present information to Google and show the relationships between them. It's a really fantastic way of essentially using what RankBrain does, which is this machine learning to determine the most relevant results to search engine queries. So Schema is a really fantastic way of joining all the dots, studying the i's crossing the t's.

Geoff:
Yes. I think that's a good way of putting it. Tony, how about yourself?

Tony McCreath:
I'm Tony McCreath. I probably own the smallest SEO agency in Australia.

Nik Ranger:
We've got the spectrums here.

Tony McCreath:
Yes. Mine is basically, two of us working from home. Bradley works from his part-time. Most of our work, we're very niched, is for the BigCommerce platform, so a small version of Shopify, and a large proportion of that is getting their Structured data right. So we spend a lot of time on the e-commerce side of Structured data. I'm also a Google webmaster product expert goal thing. Basically I help out a lot in the Google forums for webmasters, for SEO. One area I help out in is Structured data, so that kind of gives me... I get to see what all the different sorts of problems people have in relation to Structured data in Google which gives me a bit of an insight into what we're talking about today, real world problems.

Geoff:
Yes. I think as well, a lot of the questions that we've got relate to e-commerce type stuff. So we've got a few lined up for you Tony. Patrick, I'm sure most people should know who you are if they know Sitebulb, but let's have a quick reminder.

Patrick:
Cool. Hi everybody, I'm Patrick Hathaway, co-founder of Sitebulb. My main job is to write stupid things in our release notes, which is probably what you've seen. Other than that, I also get involved in helping determine what features we build and how they end up working for the end user. So early this year we released version four of the software and added in Structured data extraction & validation at that point. My head has firmly been in this world for the last few months since we've been sort of building and developing this and writing documentation, all that sort of stuff.

Geoff:
I should also say we've got Simon Cox helping us out on the live chat as well. So could people say hello to him if anyone is in there. And if you've got any questions you'd like to cover, drop them in and Simon will push them across to us. We'll try and fit them in around the questions we've already got. If you can mark them with a Q at the start, that helps us pull them out.

How do you decide what structure data to start with?

Geoff:
So let's have a look at the first of our questions now. I'll just pull this up. Quite a broad one from Tom here to get us started, how do you decide what structure data to start with? And how can I identify opportunities on client sites? Would anyone like to get started on this one?

Nik Ranger:
I'll happily jump in. So when you're looking at a client site, I don't know about you Tony, but usually I'll start off and usually see if already structured data that already exists there, and usually we'll do a bit of due diligence in that. And that will give me a good idea, but normally if there's no Structured data, essentially, what is the type of business? What is the goals? I like to implement organizational Schema, I like to mock up what the website is. Give it a really good breadcrumbs to be able to show the authority around the site because that's really, really important to be able to show a really good internal link structure to really help boost that, especially since rel="next" and rel="prev" isn't considered by Google anymore, RIP.

Nik Ranger:
If it's like an e-commerce site, there's so many different types of entities that we can really markup and show, but product Schema, review Schema, local businesses having a local business Schema. If it's a really blog article heavy type site, then having article Schema. So there's lots of different types of ones. And I think it really, really depends on the business and what is really meaning for them to have rich snippets to be able to show in the SERP.

Tony McCreath:
Adding to that, I'd say you should find out who the consumers of your potential Structured data are. So the obvious one is Google Search, that's one we know. So it's a good move to go to their Structured data guidelines. There's a single page that lists all the Structured data they support and what benefits it has to you. So what rich results and things like that. And if you go through that and just look for what matches up with what you do. So things like you'll suddenly go "Ah, we sell products, look, Google will give us a benefit if we do products". And you'll find stuff that are not so obvious like this year FAQ page is a big one. It's not an obvious this is what our business does, but when you suddenly realize oh, I answer questions, I've got questions and answers to give, you'll realize you can mark it up.

Tony McCreath:
Another forgotten thing is it's not just Google. So you want to look at all your channels to see is there any Structured data that I can do there? For example, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter. They typically use more simple Structured data as in meta-tags, but it's still structured information that you're sending to them. So if you want those special Facebook features or the Twitter card, you want to look at what Twitter wants and try and match up with that. And probably every industry has even other channels that may be where their Structured data could be, or the Structured data might be really of benefit.

Patrick:
Can I just jump in on that as well actually? So is either of you having any conversations about speakable stuff for Alexa or Google Assistant, or whatever it's called?

Tony McCreath:
Not real-world work. I know Google is still playing about with how they want to do that in Schema.org. They're definitely on the idea of that. And also the problem of, if you're doing JSON-LD you're duplicating all your content, so the speakable solutions which are kind of saying, this is where on the page you can read this out kind of thing. So they're trying to work out better solutions now, which is looking good.

Patrick:
Oh, is that the CSS selector, like here's where that content lives.

Tony McCreath:
Yes. I think the only thing that supports the CSS selector at the moment is speakable. But they're nutting out. So the Schema.org is all public and it's Google employees and Bing employees and things, and they're all chatting about this sort of thing and what direction we should go next which will help everybody. So yes, things like the CSS selector is a good idea, but at the moment they seem a bit not sure what direction to go with it.

Nik Ranger:
I think in time, that's going to come into a lot more prevalence. But I think for businesses that have resources that are looking to spend with an SEO agency, and I say spend very loosely, the things that give them the most ROI, I think are always the things that take precedence. So looking at ensuring that your products Schema, your review Schema, in a lot of cases your FAQ Schema, and if there's anything that sort of appears in the SERP that will really help take up a little bit more real state, that's the kind of things that I think have a lot more sway in a meeting than... There's this really cool concept. Users aren't really up to that part yet, I think.

Nik Ranger:
Just from some studies that I've seen about speakable with different Siri and Alexa, and things like that, users aren't quite up to the point at which they're giving them more qualified information because I think the technology is still very much in its infancy. If you follow the money, you can see that they're investing a lot in this. So it's still something that I think we're all talking about, we're all thinking about, it's very much in the back of our minds because right now I think it's still very much early days, even in here in 2020.

What is the best Schema markup for services with geographically targeted landing pages?

Geoff:
Yes. So delving down a bit more specific on the same topic. This is the one I know came via yourself on Twitter, Nik, from GeoLandingPages. So they asked "What do you believe is the best Schema markup for services with geographically targeted landing pages?". A bit of a specific example, not completely specific, but a bit more.

Nik Ranger:
Yes, I mean, with service pages and things like that, you can have like a Schema that we'll be able to show what kind of services that they provide and give them really good entity related information for that. But as far as like with geographically important information, I just like to place on local business Schema, because I think that really just routes Google's understanding of, okay, this is where they are, I can see that this is the locality of which they serve. And that in conjunction with Google My Business, making sure that you're filling out all of your NAP pack information and putting in the proximity to the local area that you serve and not going too far out of that, will really, really help with your local results to be able to rank for keywords that are commercially meaningful for you.

Tony McCreath:
Yes, and you can link the two. So you can say this page is about a local business, you can say where are the businesses, you've got service areas, and you can also say, this local business offers these services. So you can connect all the information together. At the moment service doesn't, well, at least with Google, doesn't offer you much, but they're obviously going to be thinking that because in Google My Business you can say services now. So they're internally structuring that way. So at some point I think services will be included. One kind of hack is that you productize your service, which is basically, you're allowed to have a thing which is two types of thing. So you can say it's a product and a service.

Tony McCreath:
So you can take benefits of the two things. So for example, product, you can do the pricing, things like that. So you can merge your service and get the benefits of what products can get. But at the moment services is a bit of a sideline one. Local business is also a bit fuzzy because if it's your own businesses, Google, that's self-serving and they will not reward you much on that. But if you're listing other people's businesses in different places, then you will get some reward in your local business listings.

Is it worth investing time/resource and implementing every item of Schema applicable to your business?

Geoff:
We've been getting quite a few questions on the chat, so I want to pull in some different ones. So I've got one here that Nik's already given a bit of a take on, so I'm keen to hear your thoughts on it, Tony. So Ralph is asking, is it worth investing time/resource and implementing every item of Schema applicable to your business, including obscure stuff?

Tony McCreath:
I'm a no on that. I hate looking at WordPress with all this menu is a menu. This filter is a filter and all that sort of stuff. There's plenty of signals already going on that, there's a footer tag, there's a navigational elements and things. And I don't think it's harmful, but I don't think it's really providing any new information, that sort of stuff. But one thing I've seen is, if you over-engineer your structured data, you can lose. So Google, Bing, they've all got... Hopefully Google does't start talking! I've lost my train of thought. Yes. So they've got guidelines on how you should do your Structured data.

Tony McCreath:
Now, you go beyond them, you might go beyond what they can understand. A good example in the past is, people started to use price specification for the products. And that's because the Google Merchant Center said use price specification, but Google Search didn't know what that meant. So people were over doing it. So I'd say word of caution on, if you are going to go beyond specifications, say, try and stick to the specification and go deeper rather than twisting it around and things like that. Yes, so be cautious, careful. Again, the end goal is to give those people the information they need to give you benefits.

Patrick:
Yes. This fits with like some of the stuff that's come out from people like John Mueller who said that, "You don't need to tell us it's a webpage, we know it's a web page. You don't need to mark every little bit up." I think from the Google perspective, you've obviously got to look at your required properties and then it's exploring which of the recommended properties fit for you. And then anything beyond that. That's the stuff that's really like, that you may be confusing or you may be not getting any benefit from whatsoever.

Tony McCreath:
There is something Google said to me or I've heard referred once, is they look at what people are doing and that might influence what they decide to support in the future. In fact, you'll see like a, there's some nonsensical parameters in products at the moment: 'price valid until'. What's that used for? We don't know yet, maybe one department is experimenting on it, and they might see that people are starting, well, price specifications, they saw people using that, so now they support it because they knew that a large chunk of the internet was giving them stuff they couldn't read. You can, especially if you're Yoast, if you've put some markup on there, certain websites have got it, there's a good chance Google will go, "Hey, it could be worth reading this."

Nik Ranger:
That's a lot braver than me. I think if I see some errors on just like, well, they're not going to be instigated in the SERP at all, so I'd...

Geoff:
I think we've lost Nik there a little bit. I think one thing that Nik said earlier on here is very relevant is it's got to pay for itself. That's what a lot of it comes back to. Sorry, Nik, we lost you there for a minute.

Nik Ranger:
Yes. Sorry about that guys. Man, I'm in a lockdown here in Melbourne both physically and digitally. But yes, just to sort of maybe tack one more thing on to what Patrick and Tony said, I think marking up anything that is a irrelevant or misleading, can lend you a penalty, like a manual action. And that's something that I think as SEOs, we don't see too often, thank goodness, but when we do, it's very, very clear as to, when we go and look at this it's like, okay, sometimes they're silly mistakes and they've sort of been put outside of the DOM or for whatever reason they've just been coded incorrectly. And Google sort of looked at this and like it doesn't make sense to me.

Nik Ranger:
So maybe trying to game the system a little bit and be a little bit manipulative. And sometimes it's just straight up manipulative especially like maybe content that is invisible to users. Google can see that if you have text that is sort of like the same color as a background and or you're trying to use markup that just doesn't exist there. It is looking like you're trying to game the system and that will quite potentially lends to a manual penalty. So word of warning there and word to the wise play the game correctly.

Geoff:
Yeah. We've all seen them before in the past. I think it's only a matter of time before we start seeing some more of the cleanups coming about with structured data.

Should I create structured data markup or leave that to client developers?

Geoff:
Next question is very hands-on one. So we've seen this come up again and again, so from Miguel, we've got asking, should I create the structured data markup or leave that to client's developers? So I get the impression that Miguel's working as either a consultant or an agency and he's giving recommendations to a client. So should he be giving the code or should he just be giving guidance? So what do you do with your client's, Tony?

Tony McCreath:
We're the developer!

Geoff:
That simplifies things a bit.

Tony McCreath:
But it means we get to look at what other developers have done and we analyze, see the mistakes. I think the SEO the should recommend to the developer. So there's a few developers that are SEOs and developers, but the SEO should kind of say, this is what the result I want. I want say product JSON-LD. And you can say, here are the little spots where I want you to change that to be the product name, or this that and the other. But let the developer actually do the tech stuff. They work out how to do it. And I think that question was kind of saying like, do you do by hand or try and automate as much as possible try and get the data. So the developer probably has access to the database behind the whole system.

Tony McCreath:
So instead of going to the developer saying, can you add this to this page? And then that's not page, no. Have the developer develop a framework that automatically... no joke. I've seen them. And so how have the developer automatically pull the information from source. And that's the best way you can do it if you can get it directly fed through. And so that's what we can do. Like often CMS's will have a templating engine where you can access the information from the database behind the scenes. Or if it's WordPress, you can completely customize and go straight to the database itself. So try and automate it as much as possible and let the developer work out those problems. You just say what you want, you provide the result, they provide the solution.

Geoff:
Yeah. Like Gareth keeps telling us that as well. He says, always tell us what you want it to achieve, not how to do it. Don't give us solution. You tell us what you want it to do.

Nik Ranger:
[crosstalk 00:24:35] I'm exactly the same. I might ask, you just said something about review sites. I might ask us if they're using any third party to want to do that what it is, because again, we don't want any self-serving platforms to kind of give us the ability to be able to contort our own reviews because that will, again we do into some hot water with Google. But yeah, I'm exactly the same as Tony. I will say like these are the Schema of types that are really we've identified as really important to the user. We can see them what we do with the keyword research, there's the kinds of comments or things that we see from search features that a lot of the party tools will show us a lot of really great insights.

Nik Ranger:
And if you've got the content, like absolutely. So I'll kind of like do a couple of mock-ups based on a couple of pages and say like, this is generally what it looks like. This is how it functions. I've already tested this for you, this all validates really quite nicely essentially extrapolate this out across all these different things. So they've got one example that works really well and they can sort of see and essentially just use exactly what Tony said is user custom fields that already exist within the template of the sites to be able to extrapolate this against the relevant pages. I don't do any of that. Thank goodness.

What methods have you used with client's sites, where Structured data wasn't built into the CMS?

Geoff:
We've got a nice question from Simon in the chat that follows on from that quite well. So he's asking what methods have you used with client's sites, where Structured data wasn't built into the CMS, and the techniques.. Now I know there's a lot of products and solution is kicking about with the moment and they're all relatively given us a new thing. So have you used anything along these lines with your clients?

Nik Ranger:
Well, I think Tony you can very confidently say that for BigCommerce.

Tony McCreath:
Actually it's kind of built in, but wrong. So I basically kind of what we do and do better. I do have a couple of clients on custom websites and one is super custom. And so that was working a lot with the developers. And it was a very custom type of structured data because they're not a shop. They were a franchise across Australia. So this is multiple local pages and things like that. So it all needed to be coded by hand. And like Nick was saying, I basically gave the guy, I said, here's some JSON-LD. And he knows what JSON is. So he knows what JSON-LD is. Can you get that to appear on every page with the information that you get from the database and probably after about two or three takes, we had it perfect. And it was very complicated structured data, including localization, services they offered and things like that. And he got in a few little iterations.

Patrick:
And so, where you're sending lots of the docs over, or just kind of leaving it all to him?

Tony McCreath:
I gave him the JSON-LD example based on a real world scenario. And we chatted through. So I was saying like, so this is obviously is going to duplicate as it's going through. I think developers are better at this, at JSON than we are, they know if you're giving them an array in JSON, and then you say, these are the things just can you loop that? [inaudible 00:28:46]

Nik Ranger:
That's awesome. If I can chime in for maybe some Shopify and some-

Geoff:
We've lost your audio there, Nick. You've gone completely. We can see you're fine.

Tony McCreath:
You're moving.

Nik Ranger:
Sorry. My webcam connection on this computer isn't the best. So if I hit it, I do wild gestures. I think the things that like yeah, sorry about that guys. So if I can maybe just chime in with some Shopify and WordPress add-ons and plugins that are really good. Shopify my go-to is JSON-LD for SEO. It's like a once-off thing. I think it's like $299 and that pretty much does a full suite of things that will be really quite basic for any type of business. For WordPress there's a whole gamut of ones both free and paid. I think I've used like with the free ones. I think I've used WPSEO Structured data Schema that's free. And it has really great things. Like we get organizational Schema, local businesses, video events, ratings.

Nik Ranger:
You can even go down into a little bit more granularity with your coordinates people's names and logos, the business descriptions and even down to like working outs as well. And I think for our free plugin, that's pretty awesome. There's like another free one that's good. Is like all-in-one Schema rich snippets. I think they're all pretty good. But I think they don't really support a lot of automation, so it's a little bit going back and forth. And the paid ones that I've done, think everyone knows about Schema, Schema pro. That's 80 bucks a month I think.

Nik Ranger:
But you've got all kind of reviews and music and smoothies products, books. You've got services, you've got recipes and software applications, books, people, products, like there's a massive gamut of things that Schema pro offers. And I think from memory, the WPSEO Structured data one is actually made by Schema pro. So that's like the free version of Schema pro. And also like Schema and Structured data for WordPress and AMP I think that's about a 100 bucks. That's a once-off though and that's really good because it's different from Schema pro that's like 80 bucks a month. Again that one Schema and structured data for Wordpress AMP has like supported like 30 plus Schema types. I'm trying to remember this, but yeah. So they're the ones that I really like to use for Shopify and for WordPress.

Does my Structured data have to be exactly what visitors see on the page?

Geoff:
Yeah, actually flashed another question up on the page there. Because we were tailing into answering other questions, which is really good. Third party tools. So next up, I've got a question from myself because I've had this discussion with a few people recently. And I don't think it's a cut and dry answer. Does my Structured data have to be exactly what visitors see on the page. So to give a little bit of context to this, I was speaking to someone the other day and they had, taken a page of content, which they were just straightforward headings and within their structured data they'd reworked them headings to be questions and used FAQ Schema. So it didn't strictly match the content on the page, but it was very close. It was just, they'd slightly restructured it to be a question. But the main thing was it didn't match up. What would be your take on that? Is this going against Google's guidelines enough to be an issue or is that acceptable?

Nik Ranger:
That's a good one for you. [crosstalk 00:33:36]

Tony McCreath:
Well, the I was thinking of things like there are certain scenarios where you will mark up stuff. that's not visible. Like geo coordinates, or maybe you'll do the publisher and you have to include the name of the publisher, but you might not specifically state that on the page. And I know you can slightly alter what's in the Structured data for example, make it a summary rather than the full article, that sort of thing. I think that one's down to the consumer and their algorithms and what they decide. Something like an FAQ page, they're getting a lot smarter on deciding if it's good, if they like it.

Tony McCreath:
And that might come down to a bit of comparison of, is it on the page? Is it near the top of the page? Is it something we've seen and is it relevant to what the person is searching for? So they're not going to just blindly give you the FAQ rich snippet anymore, they're doing quality checks and things like that, which might mean there might be a fuzzy logic. It might be the text in the Structured data is 87% relevant. What's on the page and the might be a machine learning algorithm works out what that number should be.

Patrick:
Yeah. And the other, the flip side of this stuff is anything that's nothing to do with, with Google stuff. You can do whatever you want. You don't have to worry about that when when you're not worrying just about Google.

Tony McCreath:
Yeah. And things like a, meta-description like it doesn't have to match up with the content, but Google and the others will probably not use it if it's complete rubbish and gibberish. Okay.

Nik Ranger:
Just pull it straight from the HTML and said done for you.

Geoff:
Yeah, we do what we want.

My structured data is live and validated, but I'm not seeing any rich results. What can I do?

Geoff:
Next up is a question that I couldn't avoid because it keeps coming back. So this beyond the implementation it's been implemented, it's been validated, but not getting any rich results. What can I do?

Nik Ranger:
I think there's a couple of different varieties of ways you could answer this. I mean, if it's live and it's validated what is the search actually results show you, are there other rich snippets showing that you're wanting to basically compete with? What do they look like? What is the difference between yours? Like essentially Google will show you what it's considers to be acceptable. So what does that benchmark look like? And you know, how does yours sort of differ from that? I think starting from there as like a base conceptual logic is a good as a great place to sort of ask yourself these kinds of questions.

Tony McCreath:
I often go through the technical testing. So typical things to test is the rich results tester. It might say it's valid, but if it's not giving you a preview, there's a bit of a signal that it might be valid, but there's nothing it's valid for. Another thing I would visually inspect your content because these tools do not find everything. Not that that would mean it's not valid for showing up. The next test is do a site search on the page. So site colon full page, if you see the rich snippet there, that means Google does think it's valid, but doesn't like it.

Tony McCreath:
So, you might quite often get, say you do that and you'll get those site-wide review starting working on a site search. But if you do real world searches, they disappear. And that means between being technically valid and Google approving it failed somewhere. So you've got to do a quality check on that sort of thing. And that again could be because the validation tool doesn't check, is it matching up with the content on the page? Is it gibberish is... There's quite a few checks. A simple example is that quite often see an organization being the author of a review and is going well, it's technically valid that, but it's dodgy, especially if it's the organization that owns the website.

Patrick:
Yeah. I would just add to this as well. You want to check to see if any of your Structured data is getting loaded in through Javascript and if it is, how long is it actually taking for that page to render? Or is it working just in the validation tool because it's getting loaded in a sufficient time, but when actually Google's rendering the page, they're not getting the data. So that sort of thing is always worth checking.

Geoff:
I really liked some of the stuff that Brody Clark's been putting out around this area as well on filtering and where like, especially with images things where it's found either it may not be within Google's guidelines, but if you don't have either high definition or a certain number of images, it's not actually triggering results. So there's filters that go beyond the core recommendations.

Tony McCreath:
On the JavaScript. I had an interesting problem related to that was that the real Google bot its timings are different to the testing tools because the testing tools loads in all the pages and things like that. What I was getting was it wasn't working with Googlebot, but because the JavaScript was running in a different order. So I was trying to get hold of someone else's JavaScript, you got these review widgets. And I was trying to fix a review widget. But with the real Google bot, my code was trying to do it before their code was added. But if you looked at it in a browser, it was fine. If you looked at it in the testing tools, it was fine. It was just in Google bot timings were different. So it's just one of the more weird problems you get with JavaScript involved.

Geoff:
Lots of potential things to trip you up there.

What should I do with Schema if it's no longer relevant?

Geoff:
So this one goes beyond the implementation and appearance. So very specific one here from Maret. So what should I do with Schema if it's no longer relevant? So it gives the example of a job posting and that's no longer available or out of stock products. Should you use products so that Google understands that they are out of stock or expired? And is there a benefit to that?

Nik Ranger:
Awesome. I follow Maret on Twitter. So hello! Tony, do you want to take the job posting and I'll take the out of stock Schema?

Tony McCreath:
Mine's a bit of a general answer on this. I'd follow what your plan for the website is. So for say a job posting, you're not going to leave it there forever. So if you're leaving it there, leave the structure data there, make sure the Structured data is clear on saying this posting is, has gone. I think you can do that not available and things. And don't specifically worry about the Structured data. Just remove the job after a period of time and that'll solve your problem. And similar thing with a product you don't get rid of the product, or maybe you do.

Nik Ranger:
Yeah. That's a really, really good point, I think when it comes to out of stock it's a really interesting conversation to have with e-commerce marketing managers around this because I think while it's great to be able to say it's out of stock or it's sold out. When it's out of stock, then it sort of like, well, why would you want even click through to that in the first place? When maybe they might want to be able to click through realize oh it's out of stock or it's sold out, but they might have underneath it, a product carousel that shows related products that maybe they really are in love with the brand. So there's some brand loyalty there and then what do I click through and do things like that.

Nik Ranger:
So when you've got this there's all kinds of, I think there's what four different types of Schema that you can do for availability property in the product offers Schema. So there's like in stock, there's in-store only there's out of stock, and sold out. So I think these things will come up in the SERP, like next to the price. So like maybe it might be like $300 and it might say like in stock, or it might say I'm out of stock sold out. So I think again, really finding out from what they're wanting to display and some creative approaches as to how they can get around this issue might be a really good conversation to have with them because I think you can automate flipping from, in stock to out of stock. It's essentially in real time Google has to still crawl that and update and information.

Nik Ranger:
Sometimes it takes time and it can be in the case of one of my clients it was still showing well, this is a different issue, but just to sort of say issues with automation and crawling in indexing like with different variants it showed like there was still a sale price and they felt like, Oh man, we have to honor the sell price still. Because that's what people had literally wrote into them and copied it in from basically screenshot it from the SERP and then sent it to them.

Nik Ranger:
And they said this is the price that it says here. We went to the webpage and it's got a different price. You should honor the price that appeared in the SERP which is a very unique issue, but I think really highlights what I guess like the political game that you can also play with out of stock. So I think again, it's one really important to have a conversation with them as to what they can do. But essentially I think the key is to really continue to give value to visitors and really make sure that they're not having like that that UX problem of the disparity of what ultimately they're wanting to show up.

Tony McCreath:
I'm actually noting down every website that has price valid until 2099. Because in 2099 I can say, sell it to me at that price.

Geoff:
I bet there's an opportunity to scrape all of them and provide a service.

Tony McCreath:
Way back machine price machine.

Nik Ranger:
I don't know what your tact is, Tony, but sometimes filters offer a really great solution at least like when someone's searching natively, if they can just filter them out though, like filter out those kinds of options and things of that. But yeah, you might want to like either deprioritize like out of stock products or let them like interchange from that.

TONY MCCREATH:
Yeah. It's definitely making your website more usable. I have someone seeing a category page where the first 10 products are out of stock, put them to the bottom. Another interesting area is a Google webmasters. No, sorry. Google merchant center is starting to get more in line with the rest like this. They've announced that thing about you can use their feed to go into search. And this means that the technology is getting there to hopefully in the long term, there'll be solving that problem of the big delay between something going out of stock and in stock and Google sharing out of date information because you've got more ways to tell Google, this is the information. And I've started to notice if you lie with your outer stock, the merchant center will tell you. I've just had the other variant page because of the technology was wrong.

Tony McCreath:
And he was saying it was in stock when it was out of stock, but the feed was saying out of stock. And another one is, if you lie about your shipping prices, merchant center has a secret shopper. And it goes in there to find out how much shipping is for a certain suburb, and they will tell you. And shipping is a new thing for Structured data that Google has brought out. So I think a lot of people would be scrambling to make sure that that information is correct, because in the past you've got away with getting it slightly wrong here, and now you're going to get warnings and maybe banned from the merchant center.

Nik Ranger:
Yeah, I think now that they've made organic shopping listings available, it's going to be really interesting to see how that goes over time. I don't know about you guys, but I think with people being able to purchase from the SERP that's going to take away from maybe click-throughs to sites and with this hullabaloo with news publishers.

Tony McCreath:
Tune in next week!

Geoff:
Well, we're very quickly running out of time, so I've got one quick one. Oh, sorry. You're back there, Nick?

Nik Ranger:
Yeah, I'm back. I was just wondering on about organic shopping and [inaudible 00:48:52]. Stay on topic.

Geoff:
So we're actually running out of time, unfortunately. It seems to have flown by. So I'm going to have very quick one both of you from the chat before I tie it up.

Schema is constantly evolving - how do you keep up to date with what's available?

Geoff:
So Schema is constantly evolving. How do you keep up to date with what's available? What do you use? So Tony, where do you go for your Structured data news?

Tony McCreath:
I guess I'm a bit deeper than the average Joe. So I'm in groups even I'm in the github for Schema.org, things like that. So I've kind of evolved. I listened to the people who invent Schema in fact learning about ontologies at the moment, which is crazy. The routes you end up in. So keeping up, I guess I'm not sure how the average Joe would do that. Keep an eye on the Google does the announcements with its blog and with their Twitter account the... is it called Google webmaster? So that can be a good source of early stuff.

Patrick:
They've started since March. They've started publishing anything that I've changed on, there's like a releases page that they publish all this stuff on. So even if you're not necessarily on it straight away, that's a good way periodically checking in on that will allow you to at least see which things that they've added or changed that is important to them.

Tony McCreath:
Yeah. Instead of a notification on link page for when it changes.

Nik Ranger:
Yeah, that's really, really good advice for people out there. For me I think it's my friends who are all SEO nerds we pretty much talk SEO every week or Twitter. Like Twitter is for me where I get all the real-time information or the juicy things as they happen. And that's what I'll look at. And also just like going through and just testing and seeing what changes and seeing like these are errors that I'm seeing I might test different tools. So testing Sitebulb, testing Classy Schema and Schema.dev and all kinds of other wonderful things that people have made. Just because I like to, and it's fun. And that teaches me a lot. But yeah, that webmaster blog as it changes changes is really the best place. Because it's coming from the source.

Tony McCreath:
And actually a good point is register with Google search console, because they're constantly inventing new alerts. And yeah, we get tons of them that they'll validate something new and we'll get a 100 emails from all our clients and then they'll contact us going, how come you don't support this? They've only just invented it!

Nik Ranger:
Yeah. Check your enhancement reports and your messages and don't bother Tony too much.

Geoff:
Yeah. We may in the short future have something to help with keeping up to date with some of that stuff as well. Hopefully. I'll not say too much Patrick.

Nik Ranger:
Watch this space.

Geoff:
Yeah. So we have run out of time now. So thank you to everyone for watching us. Thanks for Simon moderating the chat. And there's been a lot going on in there and apologies for the questions we haven't managed to get to. I'm going to try and put some stuff out through Twitter to respond to them questions. Special thank you to Tony and Nick for joining us, it's been great. We could have talked about this stuff forever.

What is your top tip for structured data implementation in the real world?

Geoff:
Now to finish up, could I ask each of you to give everyone one last tip for Structured data implementation in the real world. And if you could also let people know where they can follow you I'll keep up to date with what you're doing. Nick, would you like to go first?

Nik Ranger:
Yeah, absolutely. I think at the moment I am just kind of like I would usually say knee deep, but at the moment it's more neck deep in site migrations and your breadcrumb Schema is one of the most important Schemas.

Geoff:
Poor timing there. Can we skip to you Tony? Maybe come back to Nik.

Nik Ranger:
Am I back on?

Geoff:
Oh, you're back on.

Nik Ranger:
Breadcrumbs important. Great for crawling. Please do it. Especially if you're launching sites. My name is Nik Ranger, you can find me on Twitter, Nik Ranger SEO, or on LinkedIn or at Studio Hawk: https://studiohawk.com.au/staff/nik/. Boom.

Geoff:
Awesome, thank you Nik!

Tony McCreath:
I think my tip would be to test what you're doing, what you've got, and that doesn't mean running it through a testing tool and getting green. Visually inspect it because these tools do not pick up a lot of stuff. And especially with the errors and warnings that you get from a lot of the tools, don't just think it's a problem and go to developers saying, fix that. Have a look and see if it is actually a problem for you. The classic one is getting a warning that your product has no reviews. If your product has no reviews, that's not a problem. So basically we should look through, because quite often we see stuff that passes the testing tools and it's all gibberish, it's wrong. I'm Tony McCreath.

Geoff:
It's up there somewhere!

Nik Ranger:
There we are.

Tony McCreath:
If you want to ask questions there or you'll find me in the Google webmaster community group, helping out people with Structured data there as well.

Nik Ranger:
I can vouch for Tony. He's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.

Patrick:
While we are here Tony, thank you for your help with the structure data stuff that you've helped us with Sitebulb. Because that was very much appreciated.

Tony McCreath:
Cheers. And your response to that was great because if your tool can get better doing what I need, that's great. And it's a big like tools like yours that can do whole side crawls and audits of structured data are a big advantage.

Geoff:
Yep, sign up to Sitebulb! Thank you very much. Yes, Classy Schema! We didn't mention that much, but go and check it out. So thank you again very much Tony and Nick for joining us. And thank you for everyone for watching. Please subscribe to the YouTube channel for more of these. We're hoping to keep them rolling because they're going well. And have a look at Sitebulb for some of the structured data features as sold by Tony there. Thank you very much everyone.

Nik Ranger:
Thanks so much guys. [crosstalk 00:56:54].

Geoff:
Bye.

Nik Ranger:
Bye.

Geoff Kennedy

Geoff supposedly does marketing stuff and other things at Sitebulb. He's been one of those SEO types for a long time now, so should know what he's talking about, but that's debatable, feel free to debate it some more.

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