Google updated the Course structured data requirements for appearing in the Course rich results. Failure to follow the guidelines may result in not qualifying for the rich result.
While the added requirement is not new, it was previously missing from the Course structured data requirements page.
Course Structured Data
The Schema structured data for courses is what schools use to appear in the associated rich results, which can appear as a carousel.
The official Schema.org website defines the Course structured data as:
“A description of an educational course which may be offered as distinct instances at which take place at different times or take place at different locations, or be offered through different media or modes of study.
An educational course is a sequence of one or more educational events and/or creative works which aims to build knowledge, competence or ability of learners.”
As long as schools follow the Google Search Central structured data guidelines and requirements for the Course structured data, students can find courses they’re looking for in the rich results triggered by educational course search queries, and everyone wins.
Unfortunately, the Course structured data guidelines were incomplete because they were missing an essential requirement.
Google Clarifies How to Be Eligible for Rich Results
The change to the Course structured data was to add a requirement missing from the guidelines.
The change is described in a Google changelog:
“Clarified that you must add three courses to be eligible for the Course rich result. This is not a new requirement; it was previously only documented in the Carousel documentation.”
Google added additional sentences to the section of the Course structured data guidelines that is titled Technical Guidelines.
The new wording that was added is:
“You must mark up at least three courses. The courses can be on separate detail pages, or in an all-in-one page.
You must add Carousel markup to either a summary page or an all-in-one page.”
Previous to this clarification, developers and SEOs who followed the Course guidelines would not have known about this requirement unless they had looked at the Carousel structured data requirements.
All schools that failed to mark up three courses and add Carousel markup will not qualify for the Course rich results.
Additional Changes to Structured Data Guidelines
Previous to Google’s clarification of the Course structured data requirements, the word “carousel” appeared only two times.
After the change, the word “carousel” appears six times in the new documentation.
The Carousel structured data requirements were important all along, but the previous documentation did not communicate that importance to the search community.
Check Your Structured Data
If the Course structured data has failed in the past to result in a rich result, it may be helpful to review the current structured data that’s on the pages to ensure that there are at least three courses marked up and that the Carousel markup is also used.
Read the Updated Course Structured Data Guidelines
Use Schema for Course Carousel
View an Archive of the Previous Guidelines
Archive.org Snapshot of Google Course Structured Data Guidelines
Image by Shutterstock/Maxim Gutsal