29 November 2023

Google Search: Now supporting discussion forum and profile page structured data

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Google Search: Now supporting discussion forum and profile page structured data
Annabel GibsonWritten ByAnnabel Gibson

Annabel is the Marketing Coordinator at Propeller, taking on the production of social media communications, creating copy for articles and contacting external agencies for collaborations.

Google has announced a new update to support profile page and discussion forum structured data for use in Google Search, including new reports in Google Console. 

This update will complement Google Search features designed to present first-person perspectives from social media, forums and more. This structured data aims to ensure that Search performs in the most accurate and complete way possible. 

What is structured data?

This defines data with a standardised format for efficient access by software and humans. Amazon Web Service sums it up nicely in the following example:

“A structured customer data table containing columns—name, address, and phone number—can provide insights like the total number of customers and the locality with the maximum number of customers. In contrast, unstructured data, like a list of social media posts, is more challenging to analyse.”

Highlighting key information

The new profile page structured data and markup for social media sites. It enables Google to highlight the creator or organisation’s name or social handle, profile photo and other important information.

Markup comparison

Google are updating the Q&A structured data documentation, aligning it with the richness of new discussion forum guidelines. Google recommend users only choose one type of structured data- Q&A or forum markup- depending on your content.

Q&A forums

Use Q&A markup if your forum is structured by a question that is followed by answers.

For general forums

If your forum is more general, not strictly question-and-answer content, use discussion forum posting. 

Verify and monitor your structured data

Google added Search Console reports to help site owners monitor discussion threads and profile page markup issues. These reports will show valid items related to your marked-up pages. To assist in validating your markup, Google also updated the Rich Results Test.

In Summary

With Google focusing heavily on personalised search features, it would be wise to implement these new structured types of data. 

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