[How to] Avoid Google's new penalty: spammy rich snippets

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Last week, Google began sending a new type of manual action notifications to site owners who use spammy structured markup on their resources. …

Last week, Google began sending a new type of manual action notifications to site owners who use spammy structured markup on their resources.

What is structured markup, and how can one make sure their site is not at risk of getting penalized for misusing it?

http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html

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  • 1. [How to] Avoid Google's new penalty: spammy rich snippets Make sure your site is not at risk of getting penalized for misusing structured markup or rich snippets. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 2. Why care about Google thinking your rich snippets are spammy? Google is now sending a new type of manual action notifications to site owners who use spammy structured markup on their resources. In the meanwhile, website owners might not even suspect their structured markup might be considered spammy (or that their site is using something called “structured markup” at all! View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 3. So first, let’s make sure we all understand a) what is structured markup at all and b) what’s the difference between structured markup and rich snippets View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 4. Structured markup is a piece of HTML code on your page that's organized (structured) in such a way that it gives search engines additional information about your content. Basically, it is like telling search engines, "Look! This piece of content is a food recipe." View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 5. Example of structured markup: View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 6. A rich snippet is the representation of your marked-up information in search results. So, if structured markup is a piece of code, then a rich snippet is the visual part of that code displayed on Google. By the way, Google provides a tool (called Structured Data Testing Tool) that lets one see which structured data the search engine is capable of recognizing on a page. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 7. Example of a rich snippet View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 8. Good to know: Sometimes Google derives additional connotations from your page's HTML code independently, even if you don't explicitly mark up anything on your site. Besides, Google has been trying to build its services (such as YouTube or Google+) in such a way that structured data is easily retrieved and displayed in search results: View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 9. It’s quite enough to know the most popular structured data uses … because even though there are hundreds of structured data templates available (including Schemas, OpenGraph formats, etc.), only about a dozen of them are widely used by webmasters/SEOs. So let’s take a look! View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 10. Authorship markup Google began supporting rel="author" tag back in June, 2011, and the format gained mass adoption among online marketers. And that's easily understandable - what could be easier than claiming your authorship over a piece of content, and getting your headshot appear next to the said piece in search results! View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 11. Video object markup If you have a video on your webpage that's relevant to the rest of the content, it's always a good idea to highlight it using either the Video Object Schema, or the OpenGraph video template. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 12. Music piece markup This popular format lets one mark up a music piece on a site. At Schema.org, you can find the MusicRecording template that can be used for these purposes, while OpenGragh has a number of music-related forms for it. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 13. Article markup Needless to say, article markup is a must these days for any online journal or news resource that has online presence. Both Schema for articles and OpenGraph's article standard let one specify different information about a news piece such as its name, image, author, publication date, and more. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 14. Recipe markup Google used to have a separate search product one could use to search recipes, but it’s no longer provided. Hence, implementing recipe markup on your site to stand out among other recipe results is now as important as ever. BTW, Google has a format one can use to markup recipe details on a site. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 15. Reviews and ratings Oh well… View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 16. Are they the reason Google went all nuts? It's been several years since webmasters began noticing that some competitors would manipulate their visible reviews/ratings by playing with micro formats in their code. So, it may be the case that the recent Google's rich snippets penalty (which we're going to talk about in the following section of this presentation), deals with fake ratings/reviews among other things. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 17. A legitimate way to have your rating/reviews information displayed in the search results would be to markup the sections where you have this information using the AggregateRating Schema. Good to know: Rating/review markup is incorporated into a whole number of general-interest Schemas (such as CreativeWork, Recipe, Offer, Place, etc.) That's because virtually any type of product or service you can think of, can potentially have reviews. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 18. Product markup This type of markup would probably be of the biggest interest to e-commerce sites. The Product Schema lets you specify various characteristics of your products. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 19. Local search They say 20% of all search queries on Google have local intent. So, if you have a local business, consider being represented not only in Google's 10-blue-links search results, but also in Local Search. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Right now, the easiest way to claim your local listing is to create a Google+ Page for local. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 20. And one more thing… If you’re a local biz, remember to encourage your customers to leave honest reviews for your biz through their Google+ accounts. This will increase your chances of ranking higher in local search results. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 21. Now let’s get to the main part. How to avoid spammy structured markup penalty? View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 22. As we learned earlier, Google just began penalizing webmasters for what they call "spammy structured markup.“ It's a manual penalty (meaning a real human must have looked at your site) and can only be reversed if one removes spammy markup and files for reconsideration. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 23. So far, Google has not specified what kind of behavior can lead to a structured markup penalty. It may provide an example or two in Google Webmaster Tools if your site gets affected, so, keep an eye on that. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Apart from it, we will now list some simple rules to follow that we think will minimize one's chance of getting hit by this penalty. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 24. Rule 1. Check for manual penalties To make sure your site is currently not penalized for spammy structured markup, head to Google Webmaster Tools -> Search Traffic -> Manual Actions. If you see the following message there (see the screenshot below), this means everything is fine: View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 25. Rule 2. Use Google's Structured Data Testing Tool Use Structured Data Testing Tool (also available in Google Webmaster Tools -> Other Resources) to see if any of your pages have structural markup issues. Google would often alert you if any of the markup used is inappropriate. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 26. Example 1: Example 2: View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 27. Rule 3. Pick the right Schema to mark up pages When implementing structural markup on your site's pages, make sure the formats/templates you use are the best choice for the data you are using them on. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 28. Beware of hypernyms! If you look at the assortment of Schemas (structured data formats/templates) available at Schema.org, you'll see that some of them are hypernyms like “Thing” or “Event”, while others describe more specific things, such as “MusicEvent”, “SportsEvent”, etc. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 29. What's a hypernym? It's a common term that can be used for a group of terms. For example, flower is a hypernym for such words as daisy, rose, lily, etc. So do not use hypernymic templates when there is a specific one. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 30. When deciding which template to use in which case… choose the one that's most relevant to the type of information you have on the page. For example, if your page is about an upcoming music concert, use the MusicEvent schema, and not the MusicRecording one. View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 31. In conclusion If you think structured markup is implemented correctly on your pages (and Structured Data Testing Tool confirms that) … yet it doesn't show up in search results DON’T WORRY! View complete guide on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/spammy-structured-markup.html
  • 32. At the same time As far as getting a manual penalty for spammy structured markup is concerned, unless you're purposefully implementing markup that's manipulative or misleading, your website should be on the safe side. View more SEO guides on WebMeUp blog: http://webmeup.com/blog/ Review the instructions you’ve read in this presentation, and feel free to ask us any questions you might have! This guide has been brought to you by WebMeUp, the team behind world’s finest SEO tools.