Google Replaces Structured Data Tool With Landing Page Promoting Rich Results Tool
Online businesses and site owners use Google SEO tools to improve their Google SEO rankings. Recently, Google stated that the link to their structured data tool now redirects to a page encouraging users to use their Rich Results tool. Meanwhile, on the same page, they use an obscure button that links to the new Structured Data Validator on Schema.org.
Google placed the announcement at the bottom of a blog post in December 2020 as if they were trying to hide the fact. But the most curious thing is how Google describes the Schema.org structured data validator. The description implies that the tool is not yet ready, while the statement said it is ready for use. Google also did not state specifically that this tool is now out of beta; instead, they stated that it has stabilised.
According to Google’s recent announcement on 9 August 2021, the Schema Markup Validator has stabilised, and the search engine company is now redirecting it to a page that helps users choose the best system to use.
The publisher of the post wrote the content in a promotional tone, telling SEOs to use the Rich Results Test first. But when describing the Schema.org validator, a competing tool, they used plain words such as “generic”. Moreover, the content describes it in the context of what it does not have – in this case, Google-specific validation.
Users of the old validator will have likely bookmarked the URL, and it seems Google is encouraging users to try its own tools over the Schema.org tool, even though the latter would satisfy the users more.
Google Structured Data Testing Tool
The Structured Data Testing Tool evaluated the validity of a page’s structured data. Any negative responses from the tool would fall in the category of either errors or warnings. Because the tool was extremely helpful in troubleshooting structured data, many Google SEO agencies and site owners appreciated it.
It also has a sandbox feature that allows users to make changes in their tool to explore possible solutions that could fix issues. Moreover, it provides users with a way to learn all about structured data code in an interactive way. The non-Google Structured Data Validator on Schema.org still contains these useful features.
Slow Retirement Of Structured Data Testing Tool
In July last year, Google introduced the more Google-specific Rich Results Test and announced that they would remove the old structured data testing tool. This announcement made many publishers and site owners upset.
Last December, Google publicly stated that they would not remove the tool, but instead let it live on at Schema.org. The search engine company said that they heard their users’ feedback and felt their disappointment.
Moreover, Google gave updates on the future of the Structured Data Testing Tool. They said they would migrate it to a new domain to support open standards and development experience. The tool’s primary purpose is to check syntax and compliance of markup with schema.org standards.
Users can find the new Schema.org validator at validator.schema.org, but it was labelled as an in-development tool.
Google Structured Data URL Redirects To Landing Page
Google is now redirecting the discontinued structured data validator URL to a landing page that links to the new Schema Markup Validator and promotes the Rich Results Tool. They promote the latter by encouraging people to start with it.
Although the landing page explains that the old structured data validator tool is gone and redirects users to the new replacement, the page goes beyond an explanation.
The Possibility Of Google Using Dark Patterns
Dark patterns is a way of showing information that seems to provide readers with a choice but tricks them into making the decision that the company wants. Oftentimes, it is against the user’s best interest.
Researchers observed that companies use dark patterns to make users give up their privacy by making it easy to opt into privacy invasion and difficult to opt out of it.
A common dark patterns trick is to make a particular button stand out so that users would choose it while almost hiding the other buttons by fading them into the background. Google uses a bright blue button for the link to their Rich Results tool and uses a white button that almost blends into the background for the structured data validator.
Moreover, Google’s 53-word description of the Rich Results tool talks about all of its fantastic features, while the 16-word description of the Schema.org tool uses a significant portion of the words just to describe the things that it does not have.
While Google is now encouraging users to use its own tool, the new Schema.org tool is live and ready for use. Although the landing page says it’s still in beta, there’s a good chance that Google will remove this message soon.
Structured data refers to a schematic plan that helps Google understand a website’s content. The information can show search result enhancements like reviews and ratings on the search results. With a markup tool, programmers can code structured data, which embeds directly onto the page. SEOs can ensure that the code works well by using a structured data testing tool to look for errors before deployment.
Structured data testing done with the right tools can help SEOs and website owners monitor their pages’ health. Testing tools can also help identify and resolve problems with structured data. Moreover, they can test structured data as it is being deployed and provide insights about the page’s data that’s visible to search engines, including the structured data’s format, errors, and the details of the issues.
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