Key Issues Summary:
- Google has posted on its webmaster blog about a new penalty for webmasters who abuse structured data markup for events.
- This is as a result of user complaints about webmasters listing sales and discounts as events.
- It’s a manual action, which will show up in Google Search Console, and means that *no* rich snippets for your domain will show up in SERP, until a fixed and a reconsideration request submitted.
- This does not directly affect rankings, but it will affect performance from search.
Key Actions To Take:
- Check your structured data markup complies with Google’s guidelines for event markup.
- Even if you’re sure it does, double-check to make sure.
- If you have been “over-enthusiastic” in your application of this markup, then you need to remedy it to remove the structured data markup for non-events. And you would be well-advised to do this pretty quickly.
- Of course, If you have been spamming deliberately, then you have the choice to wait until Google catches up, or fixing it.
- If you receive a manual action, then you will need to remove the offending markup and submit a reconsideration request. And then wait.
- Click here to contact me to discuss this further.
Insights & Discussion:
Who says structured data markup isn’t important? I’ve seen a number of wise SEOs mutter that it doesn’t alter rankings (which it doesn’t) so therefore it isn’t important (it is).
It’s important because it helps Google to understand your website’s content better, at least indirectly, and because it can give much more exposure on SERP – think of the big block of delicious text and data that can be yours for well-applied structured data.
Now, because of this, people spam it. Essentially, it if can appear on search, people will spam it. That’s their decision, they can live with the consequences. Google’s algorithm is not yet sophisticated enough to detect this spam fully yet – or else it wouldn’t appear in search.
So, what you should be doing is marking up your code properly, especially events, and be very careful around what counts as an event. It’s not a sale, or a discount period, despite what the marketing department might say.
In a slightly different, but similar, vein, John Mueller also muttered that your structured data should match what is visible on site.
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