Google Changes More Structured Data Requirements

Google announced a change to several structured data types. This change affects the requirements for the HowTo, QAPage and the SpecialAnnouncement structured data. The guidance didn’t come with examples, which makes it a little difficult to understand but this article will walk through the changes.

The guidance provided by Google stated:

“Removed the following structured data fields from documentation, since they are unused by Google Search and Rich Result Test doesn’t flag warnings for them.”

In general, including structured data that isn’t required could be helpful if it helps describe a page better, even though that structured data won’t produce any visible results in Google’s search results pages in the form of rich results.

Google’s John Mueller has in the past commented on this:

“I think that’s one of the trickier questions with regards to all of the structured data, in that we have a lot of things that we use to try to understand a page and the content on the page that we don’t necessarily show directly in the search results.

But a lot of things help us to better understand the content and the context of a particular page.

And those are things within kind of like a general markup which you can do various things.

And that’s kind of I’d say, almost a shame that we don’t highlight that in the rich results test.”

Mueller then goes on to caution about going overboard with extra structured data.

With regard to the structured data properties that Google removed as being required, Google doesn’t warn against using them other than to say that the Rich Results test ignores it and that Google does not use it.

“…since they are unused by Google Search and Rich Result Test doesn’t flag warnings for them. “

HowTo Structured Data Changes

Google announced it has removed the “description” structured data field that pertains strictly to the HowTo data type. The “description” property can still be used in other properties of the HowTo data type, but it’s no longer needed in the HowTo part.

Here’s an example of how it used to be: