Google Search Console is an incredibly important tool for website owners. This tool shows you how your site appears in Google’s search results. It also shows you what to improve to make the most of your listings in the results. One of the many cool features of Search Console is the structured data analyses found in the Enhancement reports. Let’s dive into that!
- What is Google Search Console?
- What is structured data?
- What is the Enhancements report all about?
- What can I find there?
- Which types are available in Google Search Console?
- Keep an eye on your structured data in Google Search Console
What is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console is like the Swiss army knife for site owners. At a glance, you’ll get an incredible amount of insights into the performance and inner workings of your site. Not only that, it shows issues and helps you fix those issues by giving guidance. Google even sends you emails when it finds new issues.
Need help getting started? Please read our Beginner’s guide to Google Search Console.
What is structured data?
In this post, our main focal point is structured data, so we’ll jump to the Enhancements report section of Google Search Console. Clicking on the various structured data reports — identified by the layer icon — will show you an overview of the pages that have some kind of structured data attached to it.
Structured data is all the extra information you give search engines to help them understand what a page is about. For instance, as the writer of this article, I am both a
Person and an
Author. If I add this data to the source code of this page, search engines can use that data to do cool things. If you sell products, you can enhance your search listings with reviews and ratings, prices and availability. These might all become visible in the search results.
Before you read on: we’ve launched a free Structured data for beginners training course! In this course, we explain what structured data is, how you can get your own rich results and why this is important for SEO. Get access to this free Structured data for beginners course now!
How does Yoast SEO handle structured data?
Yoast SEO handles most of the structured data for you and you don’t need to do anything for it. Well, not that much anyway. You only have to select whether your site represents a person or an organization. This way, Yoast SEO knows what structured data to generate for this particular site.
Yoast SEO generates structured data for your site, but also for the individual articles. By using the Schema tab, you can mark your Contact pages as being a
ContactPage or your Checkout page as a
CheckoutPage. Learn how to set the Page or Article type in your Schema settings. Also, with our add-ons, it is possible to have structured data generated for locations, products, videos and news items.
One of the cool things about the Yoast structured data framework is that all this code is interconnected. That means that search engines can see and make connections between every part of your site and its contents. All this helps to make your content as findable and readable for search engines as possible.
What is the Enhancements report all about?
The Enhancements tab is a place to collect all the insights and improvements that could lead to rich results. There’s a mobile usability test and an AMP test, but, today, we’re most interested in the last couple of items, from breadcrumbs to videos. All these tabs show how many valid enhancements you have, or how many have errors or warnings. You get details about the kind of errors and warnings and on which URLs these are found. There’s also a trend line that shows if the number of issues is increasing or decreasing. And that’s just the start of it.
The Enhancements reports help you find and fix issues that hinder your performance in search. By checking the issues, reading the support documentation and validating fixes, you can increase your chance of getting rich results in search.
What can I find there?
A lot! For every different type of enhancement, Google built a dashboard showing you how your site or page is doing. These insights help you to quickly see how you are doing and to find areas to improve. The visual aspect helps make the data more concrete and easier to absorb.
Of course, you’d like to see structured data succeed in one go, but you’re probably going to run into issues at some point. When you follow the guidelines and add the required properties, you’re going to be fine once you fix the issues. There are cases, however, that Google asks for more input, the so-called recommended properties. Adding these will make your structured data item go from orange to green. So it boils down to this:
Errors are problems, warnings are potential enhancements to improve the results.
For example, a number of how-to posts on our site use the Yoast SEO How-To structured data blocks for WordPress. These blocks automatically generate valid how-to structured data that leads to rich results. Now, we haven’t built in support for the recommended
tool types yet, so we see Search Console generate a warning for this. Our how-to, however, is still valid and we have a rich result to prove it.
Errors mean not eligible
If you have errors in your structured data you’ll not be eligible for rich results. That doesn’t mean, however, that your page won’t rank well. These are separate things. Having valid structured data might make you a better fit, though.
Our product pages miss some structured data meant to enhance the search results, like
review. Since these don’t appear on the page, these product pages will not get rich results like reviews in the search results pages. Something we’ll probably fix sometime soon.
Clicking on a page with an error opens a modal with the structured data highlighted. From here, you can copy the code to start working to fix it. Once you did that, mark this issue as fixed so Google knows you’ve worked on the problem. If the problem persists, the issue will come back in Google Search Console.
You can also hit Inspect in the bottom right corner to retrieve the page from the index to see what else is going on on that page. From there, you can run the live URL to do further testing.
So, if you feed Google’s Rich Results Tester this page, it’ll say that the page isn’t eligible for rich results.
If Search Console can’t read your structured data due to programming errors or can’t determine which type it’s supposed to describe, it’ll send these messages to the Unparsable structured data report. Run your code in the Structured Data Testing Tool, fix the errors and see if they disappear.
Eligibility for rich results
Green is good! These items have proper structured data attached to it and might lead to a rich result. Red is an error and something you should fix if you want the full rich result experience. Warnings are orange and these give you the chance to improve or extend your structured data to get the full experience. However, it is up to you if you want to fix it. Sometimes, fixing a small thing is easier said than done.
Trends in crawling and errors
A handy little addition is the trend line. This helps you determine a trend in the number of items validated and changes in errors.
Retrieve post from index to evaluate/fix
As Search Console gives you insights into how your pages are performing in Google, it would be cool to get an idea of how Google sees those pages, right? Luckily, you can! There are several ways to do this, but the easiest is pasting your URL in the big search bar at the top of the Search Console interface.
This gives you an overview of everything index related to this particular URL, including how Google crawled the page. See below. You can even compare the indexed URL to the live URL by hitting Live Test in the up-right corner. These should be the same, but sometimes there are errors on your live page that have not reached the index yet. From here, you can perform all kinds of tests and checks.
Which types are available in Google Search Console?
Google is quickly expanding the types of content we’re seeing in Search Console. Just a couple of weeks ago, we saw the introduction of the Video report. Not every type of rich result has an Enhancements report attached to it. You can see the full list of supported structured data in Google’s structured data documentation or an overview of the different types of rich results in the search gallery.
Remember, when implementing, try to follow the rules or you might not get any results. Badly implemented structured data doesn’t do you any good.
Adding breadcrumb structured data to your site helps Google figure out how your navigation works and how a specific page fits in the site hierarchy. Yoast SEO automatically generates this for your pages. You only have to add some code to your WordPress theme to activate the feature. After that, enable the breadcrumbs in Yoast SEO and set the breadcrumbs to your liking. After a while, check your Search Console to see if there are any errors in your implementation.
Marking up your events with event structured data helps them stand out in search results. Event markup is available for every type of event. You can add dates, locations, images, performs and more to make the most of your listings. In Search Console, you’ll see if your events are properly marked up with the essential items, but also the recommended properties that help to enhance your listing.
One of the latest structured data powered rich results is the FAQ, used to mark up frequently asked questions pages. By implementing this, you might get a nice eye-catching dropdown in the search results. Building a valid FAQ listing is peanuts thanks to the structured data content blocks in Yoast SEO. Simply pick the FAQ block, fill in the fields and you’re good to go. Here’s how to build a structured data-powered FAQ page using Yoast SEO. Search Console will show you if your listing is valid. After that, you can check it in the Rich Results Tester to see what it will look like.
Next up is another recent structured data powered rich result: the how-to. This rich result is only available in English and on mobile devices. You can add how-to structured data to content that describes how to do something in a couple of steps. Like the FAQ above, Yoast SEO has structured data content blocks to help you build a valid how-to. Pick the block, fill the fields, add images and publish. It’s that easy! Learn how to add HowTo Schema to your how-to article. Again, in Search Console, you’ll see if your how-tos are valid or if they can be improved. The free Yoast SEO How-to content block helps you add it in you WordPress posts.
Job Postings are another interesting addition. Google runs a job site that loves to present its listings in a structured way. Adding job posting structured data to your available jobs helps them enrich your job postings, which in turn leads to better visibility for your jobs. As with the previous enhancements, Search Console gives you an idea of how your listings are doing and gives you tips to further improve them.
Adding markup to your logo helps search engines validate your logo to use the correct one in search. Google likes to use these files in things like the Knowledge Graph-powered knowledge panels on the right-hand side of your screen. Yoast SEO automatically adds structured data to your logo so it can be picked up properly by search engines.
Products are the lifeblood of many sites. Structured data can help showcase products in search. By adding relevant data you might get highlighted in search with reviews, ratings, prices, availability and a lot more. Like all the other reports here, Search Console shows you which products are valid for rich results and which aren’t. Plus, you get tips on what you should fix to get them.
If you’re using Yoast SEO, our WooCommerce SEO add-on offers an easy way to add structured data for your products. It automatically arranges everything for you and even adds your product structured data to the rest of Yoast SEOs structured data, building a complete, and interconnected overview for search engines.
You know the search bar you see for some sites in the search results? That’s a sitelinks searchbox. This allows users to directly search on a site, without opening the site first. Yoast SEO automatically adds all the structured data necessary for sitelinks searchboxes for your site, but it’s up to Google to decide who gets one and who doesn’t. In Search Console, you’ll see which URLs on your site might get a searchbox.
The latest addition to the Enhancement reports is Video. Here, you’ll find more information about how Google sees your embedded videos. Not only that, because Google also implemented a special search feature in the Search Appearance part of the Performance tab so you can see how many times your videos showed up in search and how many people clicked on them. The Yoast Video SEO add-on automatically adds the necessary code and ties everything neatly together. Here’s more information on how to get Google’s new video reporting with the Yoast Video SEO plugin.
Keep an eye on your structured data in Google Search Console
As I mentioned quite a few times: Google Search Console is a goldmine. It should be your go-to tool to see how your site is doing in the search engine. There’s a lot to see and do. The Enhancement reports, for instance, show you if your structured data implementation is valid for rich results. These reports help you fix errors and warnings so you can get the most out of your structured data.
Need more structured data? Read our Ultimate guide to structured data with Schema.org.