Google Changes Technical Guidelines For ClaimReview Structured Data
Online businesses and webmasters must conduct a complete website SEO audit to ensure that their rich results are eligible for Google’s search engine results pages. Recently, Google announced to all website SEO companies and site owners that they had updated the ClaimReview Structured Data to limit the number of fact checks on a page. With this major change, thousands of pages could be ineligible for a fact check rich result.
What Are Fact Check Rich Results?
Google’s primary goal is to help its users find useful information by providing them with relevant and helpful content from trusted publishers and websites. Getting high-quality information drives more people to use the search engine and encourages contributors to continue investing in and engaging with great content.
However, thousands of sites publish new articles every minute daily, and the amount of content can be overwhelming. Moreover, not all news articles online are factual, making it hard for readers to differentiate fact from fiction. For this reason, Google introduced the Fact Check tag, which distinguishes articles containing information that news publishers and organisations have fact-checked.
News articles with the Fact Check tag will show a snippet informing readers on the claim, who made the claim, and the fact check of the said claim. This information may not be available for every search result, and there could be different publishers who checked the same claim but reached varied conclusions. Nevertheless, this label helps readers make more informed judgements when reading news articles.
Publishers must use the Schema.org ClaimReview markup on their pages to be eligible for a Fact Check rich result.
Changes In ClaimReview Structured Data
Google recently made changes in their Technical Guidelines for ClaimReview structured data.
Previously, the search engine company allowed publishers to have multiple fact checks on a single web page. This means a single web page could have ClaimReview elements on different topics or separate claims.
Now, Google changed their policy and indicated in their Fact Check Structured Data Developer page that a piece of content should only have one ClaimReview element to be eligible for the single fact check rich result. Google’s current technical guidance can affect all web pages containing multiple fact checks.
However, there is one exception to this rule. Google permits a single web page to have multiple fact checks about the same topic from different reviewers. This is a rule that existed in Google’s old guidelines and remains unchanged in the update.
Failure To Follow Directions May Result In Loss Of Rich Results
Rich results allow web pages to boost their listings in Google’s SERPs and get ahead of their competitors in terms of search-related traffic.
The new rule indicates that a web page must have a single ClaimReview structured data element for every page except when a single topic receives fact checks from multiple reviewers. Therefore, web pages fact-checking numerous claims could be ineligible for rich results.
Google’s changelog notation for this change on 28 July states that:
- They have removed the guidance about hosting multiple fact checks per page.
- A page must only have one ClaimReview element to show up as a single fact check rich result.
Publishers using ClaimReview structured data should conduct a thorough website SEO audit and review their structured data implementation to ensure that it complies with Google’s new guidelines.
Other Technical Guidelines
The rest of Google’s technical guidelines remain the same, but SEOs should still review the guidelines to ensure compliance on their part.
Moreover, the content should comply with Google’s general policies applied to structured data markup. Google stated that if a publisher does not comply with their standards or honour their policies, the search engine may ignore the site’s markup.
Here are some of Google’s policies:
- The page with the ClaimReview element should have a brief summary of the evaluation and fact check if writing a full text is not possible.
- A specific ClaimReview should only be on one page of the website. SEOs should avoid repeating the same fact check on multiple pages unless they are variations of the same web page. For instance, one can use the same ClaimReview on desktop and mobile versions of a web page.
- If the website aggregates fast-check articles, one should ensure that the articles match Google’s criteria, and they should also present a list of all the fact-check websites they aggregated. This list should also be accessible to the public.
Structured Data And How It Works
Google Search strives to understand a page’s content. When an SEO publisher uses structured data, they are helping the search engine system by giving explicit clues about the context of the page. Structured data refers to a standardised format that provides Google with information about a page. Moreover, it classifies the page content.
For instance, a recipe page may contain key information, such as the ingredient, the calories, the cooking time, the temperature, and so on. Since the structured data labels each individual element of the recipe, readers can search for recipes with these pieces of crucial information.
General Structured Data Guidelines
Some of the guidelines for structured data are understandable. For one, Google discourages publishers from markup content that promotes sexual, dangerous, or illegal activities. SEOs should also steer away from misleading and irrelevant content.
As for the completeness of the structured data, one should specify all the required properties for their rich result type. If there are missing required properties, one’s content may not be eligible for rich results. Moreover, the more recommended properties SEOs provide, the higher the result’s quality is for the users. That’s because people prefer recipes with genuine star ratings and user reviews or job postings with stated salaries than those without them.
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