Google launches new Rich Results testing tool with some rebranding

Google has announced it has launched a new version of a structured data testing tool for rich results at https://search.google.com/test/rich-results.

The company also said it will be calling rich snippets, rich cards or enriched results “Rich results” from now on and group them all together.

Google said the new testing tool “focuses on the structured data types that are eligible to be shown as rich results.” This new version enables you to test all data sources on your pages, including the recommended JSON-LD, Microdata or RDFa. Google said this new version is a “more accurate reflection of the page’s appearance on Search and includes improved handling for Structured Data found on dynamically loaded content.”

The tool currently only supports tests for Recipes, Jobs, Movies and Courses. Google said it will be adding support for other rich results over time.

Here is a screen shot of the tool. Note it works on desktop or mobile:

You can check out the new rich results testing tool over here.

Google warns webmasters not to use misleading event markup

Google is warning publishers and webmasters not to use event markup in a way that is misleading to searchers, or else Google will remove the ability for your whole website to show rich snippets in its search results.

Google said it has recently updated and clarified the guidelines around the use of event markup after they received a lot of feedback around the misuse of that markup. Specifically, Google is calling out publishers in the coupons/vouchers space as marking up their offers with event markup. “Using Event markup to describe something that is not an event creates a bad user experience, by triggering a rich result for something that will happen at a particular time, despite no actual event being present,” Google wrote.

Here is an example of such misleading rich snippets:

If you do this, Google said it “may take manual action in such cases.” A manual action is when a human at Google marks your website as doing something against the Google guidelines. Normally, it results in ranking demotion or delisting but “it can result in structured data markup for the whole site not being used for search results,” Google wrote.

If your site gets one of these manual actions, you will find a notification in your Search Console account. From there, you can take corrective action and submit a reconsideration request.

Google has been penalizing for spammy structured markup for a few years now, but clearly, Google is going to step up action around event markup spam soon.

Google Tag Manager now has a native scroll depth tracking plugin

Google Tag Manager has added a native scroll depth trigger tool to report scroll-tracking data in Google Analytics.

According to Simo Ahava’s blog post on the new feature, the native scroll depth trigger includes basic options that allow users to track both vertical and horizontal scrolling. Site owners can track scrolling activity on all or select pages of a website.

“The new trigger comes with all the base features you’d expect in a scroll depth tracking plugin,” writes Ahava, “There’s no option to track scrolling to specific HTML elements, but luckily the recently released Element Visibility trigger takes care of this.”

To enable the feature, go to the “Trigger Configuration” menu within Google Tag Manager and select “Scroll Depth.” From there, users can configure “Scroll Depth Threshold,” “Scroll Depth Units” and “Scroll Direction” tracking parameters.

While Ahava reports the new plugin works well and makes it easy to set up a Google Analytics Event tag for scroll-depth tracking, he notes that users should be mindful of certain tracking options.

“If you load the page so that you are on or have crossed any one of the defined thresholds, the gtm.scrollDepth trigger will automatically fire for all the thresholds you have crossed,” writes Ahava, “So, if you are at the very bottom of a page and you reload the page, GTM will fire a trigger for each of the thresholds 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%, without the user explicitly scrolling.”

As Ahava mentions, there are also third-party options for capturing scroll-tracking data via Google Tag Manager: Rob Flaherty’s Scroll Depth jQuery plugin and LunaMetrics’ Scroll Tracking recipe.

Google adds structured data for subscription & paywalled content for new flexible sampling program

We reported earlier this morning that Google is doing away with the old “first click free” program and replacing it with flexible sampling. In short, Google is giving publishers more options for allowing search users to access their content without hurting ranking visibility in Google search results.

With that, Google has introduced a new paywall structured data element for subscription and paywalled content.

Google recommends publishers use this new markup when they are deploying flexible sampling techniques on their web sites. This will help Google understand that the publisher is not cloaking — when sites serve different content to Googlebot than users — and that it is an approved paywall.

Google says, “This structured data helps Google differentiate paywalled content from the practice of cloaking, which violates our guidelines.”

Here are the technical documents on this new structured data element. Here is the help document on the new flexible sampling for webmasters.

Bing now officially supports Fact Check label with ClaimReview markup

Bing has finally announced their official support for the “Fact Check” label in search. This is powered by the ClaimReview schema markup and now shows up in the Bing search results.

We reported about Bing adding this to their webmaster documentation a few months ago, but the search results did not start showing the label until yesterday. Now if you do searches, you may see a line that reads “Fact checked by Snopes” followed by a False or True statement.

Here is a screen shot:

Bing says that when adding this schema to your page, you want to consider these points:

The analysis must be transparent about sources and methods, with citations and references to primary sources included.Claims and claim checks must be easily identified within the body of fact-checked content. Readers should be able to determine and understand what was checked and what conclusions were reached.The page hosting the ClaimReview markup must have at least a brief summary of the fact check and the evaluation, if not the full text.

Google added this feature about a year ago.

Google Image Search adds badges for recipes, videos, products and animated images

Google announced they now will be showing badges on some images within their image search interface on mobile. Adding badges to images helps searchers understand any data behind the image that Google may have.

Google said, “These badges will help you uncover images where next steps or more in-depth information is available — everything from bags to buy, to recipes to try.” The badges currently available include recipes, videos, products, and animated images (GIFs).

Here is an animated GIF of it in action:

These badges are powered off of rich markup schema that you apply to your images on your web pages. To learn more about how to get badges to show up in Google Image search for your website, read the Google Webmaster blog. The Structured data testing tool has already been updated to help you check your images’ markup.

Bing now supports ClaimReview markup for fact labels in search

Nine months after Google began supporting the ClaimReview markup, designed for fact-checking review of claims made or reported on on webpages, now Bing has added support in their markup documentation.

The new section for Bing’s ClaimReview says “ClaimReview annotations should be used to convey that the page contains fact check information. This may be used to display enhanced captions on Bing that help convey this information to users.”

Bing said that when you use this tag for your articles and content, it is important that the underlying page meets the following characteristics of fact-checking sites:

Contains claims and fact checks that are easily identifiable. Readers should be able to understand what information was checked and what conclusions were reached.Citations and references should be present and transparent, including references to primary data sources.The tag must be representative of the fact checking done within the article.

Aaron Bradley first spotted this change and said he thinks “Bing will start to annotate search results with fact check information.” Bing has not yet announced anything but that is the logical next step.

Google Search Analytics report now breaks down job listings & details results

Google quietly announced they have added the ability to filter by job listings to the Search Analytics report within Google Search Console. If you have job listings on your website, you can potentially now filter your Search Analytics report to see what traffic, impressions, clicks, positions and so on those listings are bringing to your website.

Here is a screen shot of the filter, with added emojis Google shared:

This filter is available under the “search appearance” section in the Search Analytics report. You can see a way to filter by job listings or job details.

Google recently opened up job schema to all, so they can markup the job listings on their website to take advantage of the new Google for Jobs opportunities.

Google image search now shows videos and recipes

Google is now showing both videos and recipe data within the image search results. This is something Google was testing earlier this year and now seems to have deployed it on mobile search.

Aaron Bradley posted on Google+ that this seems to be derived from newly supported schema around your images. Specifically, you can now mark up your video and recipe content so it is accessible in image search.

The revised video schema page on Google added this line:

Your video rich results can also display in image search on mobile devices, providing users with useful information about your video.

Aaron documented how this shows in the search results, and we were able to replicate this ourselves:

To see this yourself, go to Google on your mobile phone, do a search for the keywords shown above, and click to the image results. Then click on some of the images, and you should see the details listed above.

Google publishes new FAQ on job search postings for webmasters

Mariya Moeva from Google posted a new and helpful frequently asked questions document in the webmaster help forums around the new job search functions in Google.

Google is encouraging webmasters to mark up their job listings so that Google can show them in web search for job-related queries. Yesterday, Google published this helpful FAQ around this topic.

Here is a copy of the FAQs for job search postings for webmasters:

Q: Why aren’t my jobs appearing in this feature? As with any other structured markup feature in Search, having markup doesn’t guarantee appearing in the Search results. To debug any issues that are related to the markup implementation, go through the following:

Validate the markup in the Structured Data Testing Tool.Check that your sitemap has been crawled and does not contain any errors. Sitemaps need to be accurate and correct in order to be processed.Go through your Rich Card Report in Search Console to check if there are any potential issues with your markup.

Q: How do I check how many jobs are indexed? Use the Rich Cards Report within Search Console.

Q: Should we put the markup on the canonical or mobile page? Markup should be placed on all pages, not just the canonical link.

Q: Can we include markup on our job listing pages? No, job listing pages should not reference any job posting markup.

Q: Can we include listing pages on our sitemap? We strongly recommend that only job leaf pages are included in the sitemap. If there are job listing pages in your sitemap, please ensure that no job postings markup is included on these pages.

Q: What does the ISO 8601 format look like for the tag in the sitemap? The format for date times must follow the following convention: YYYY-MM-DDTHH:mm:ss±hh:mm. Example: 2017-06-15T16:16:16+00:00

Q: Can we append our URLs with a tag or special attribution parameters? No. Only canonical links should be provided.

Q: Can two markup formats (e.g., JSON and Microdata) be used simultaneously on the same page? Although both formats are equally accepted, we prefer that only one format is used within each page to prevent any conflicting information between markup blocks. That being said, our team does prefer that the markup is implemented in JSON.

Q: Should we simply remove a sitemap from a sitemap index file as soon as there are no valid job posting URLs available? It is best that initially we are provided an empty sitemap file prior to removing references to the sitemap from your sitemap index file. This way, once we receive the next ping of your sitemap index we are able to properly detect markup removals for job posting pages. Once this has been done, the empty sitemap file can be removed from the index the following day.