Structured data markup is one of the greatest tools for creating enhanced results organically.
Structured data is code that can be added to a website to help search engines provide more detailed results for users, appearing in the form of a rich snippet.
You see them all the time on Google, especially in the search results for recipes and products. They tend to draw the eyes of searchers and, as a result, have higher click-through rates.
There are many ways to implement structured data markup to achieve a featured snippet.
JSON-LD, RDFa, and Microdata are some of the methods you can use. Schema.org, in particular, is one of the most popular ways to implement markup based on the microdata specification.
However, sometimes your rich snippet simply won’t appear in the SERPs – even after implementing the necessary structured data markup on your website.
Let’s walk through some of the reasons why your rich snippets may not be showing in the search results.
Why Rich Snippets May Not Be Appearing
1. Rich Snippets Aren’t Promised by Google
Rich snippets aren’t a guaranteed thing. Many assume that since they added the code to the website, Google will automatically begin to feature rich snippets. However, this is not so.
2. Markup Doesn’t Meet Quality Standards
Additionally, if structured data markup does not meet Google’s quality standards, they reserve the right to not display it in search results.
3. Data Isn’t Representative of the Content on a Web Page or Is Misleading
If your marked up content isn’t going to provide a user with a better search experience, you best believe Google won’t prioritize showing a rich snippet.
If markup data, especially review structured data, contains profanity or vulgar language, it won’t be displayed as a rich snippet.
5. Data Is Marked Up Incorrectly
This is the most common reason why rich snippets aren’t showing for pages in SERPs. There are many areas where the smallest coding detail can be overlooked and thus result in Google not being able to understand the markup.
Schema.org can provide insight into every type of structured data markup that one could ever want to implement on a website. The guidelines, though, must be followed to a “T” in terms of detail.
One of the most common reasons why this happens centers on how the code for structured markup was added to the site. A common error is when schema.org elements are not properly nested. Nesting is the concept that HTML code needs to properly identify when a web page starts and stops addressing a particular topic.
For example, when a page has a main entity such as a Product, Recipe, LocalBusiness, etc., the mainEntity itemprop should be implemented alongside the main entity’s itemscope. All attributes that are related to a certain entity are required to be nested within the HTML node. A common error is when HTML nodes are closed prematurely.
Another common error when it comes to implementing markup is unclosed HTML tags. Each HTML tag must be opened, as well as closed. If tags aren’t properly closed, Google’s structured data reader most likely won’t read the correct nesting and become confused.
Duplicated aggregateRating itemprops are yet another common hold-up when it comes to rich snippets not displaying in search results. Each entity should be laid out using a type itemscope.
However, one sole aggregateRating itemprop is required for each itemscope. Multiple versions of this will create additional disarray for Google and will result in no review stars appearing.
In addition, missing aggregateRating itemprops will also confuse Google as it will provide a rating from only one individual, and not the collective whole.
6. Multiple Markup Languages Are Used
As mentioned before, there are multiple methods available to implement structured data markup. Schema.org vocabulary can be utilized with a variety of encodings such as RDFa, Microdata, and JSON-LD.
Only one of these variations of structured data can be utilized on a single web page, as mixing different encodings will cause rich snippets to not display correctly.
7. Organizational Markup Is Used
When trying to obtain rich snippet results, do not rely on the organizational type itemscope, as it rarely appears.
8. Google Does Not View a Site as Reliable
Supporting review content may also be missing in general from rich snippets if Google doesn’t trust the authenticity of the domain.
9. Inconsistent Markup Is Being Implemented
Inconsistent server-side View Source and Inspect Element code markup may also cause rich snippets to not display correctly.
10. Marked-up Content Isn’t Visible to the User
If a site has very few pages, or very few pages with marked-up structured data, a rich snippet may not appear.
11. Google Can’t See That Your Content Changed
It is important that an XML sitemap feature the <lastmod> attribute to signal to Google that pages need to be reindexed.
12. Not Enough Time Has Passed
Google doesn’t discover marked up content instantly, but rather when it crawls a site next. Even then, it may still take a longer period of time for rich snippet results to appear.
It is possible, though, to notify Google that content on a site has been marked up.
How to Test if Markup Implementation Is Accurate
You can use a couple of tools to ensure that structured data markup fulfills Google’s requirements, including Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, the Data Highlighter, and the Structured Data Report.
- Structured Data Testing Tool: This tool serves as a handy resource for testing and modifying markup.
- Structured Data Report: Available in Google Search Console, this report helps to check what structured data is found on site and will single out individual errors in markup.
- Data Highlighter: This resource from Google helps the search engine to understand and process markup by allowing a user to highlight and tag data fields with a mouse.
Featured Image: Pixabay
In-post Images: Screenshots by Natalie Hoben. Taken June 2017.