New Discussion Forum and Profile Page Markup - SEO Gazette

New Structured Data Types For Discussion Forums & Profile Pages

Nov. 27, 2023 10:16 pm PST | SEO Gazette | By Luke Ross

Google has introduced new structured data types for profile pages and discussion forums, enhancing the way these elements are represented in Google Search. This update, which includes new reports in Search Console, is aimed at improving the accuracy and completeness of search results, particularly for content from social media platforms, forums, and other communities.

Key Features of the Update

Profile Page Markup: This is tailored for sites where creators, either individuals or organizations, share their perspectives firsthand. The markup enables Google Search to better recognize details about the creator, such as their name, social handle, profile photo, follower count, or content popularity. This feature is integrated into Google’s Perspectives & Discussions and Forums features.

Discussion Forum Posting Markup: Designed for forum-style sites where people share perspectives collectively, this markup helps Google Search identify forum sites and online discussions more effectively. While it enhances the possibility of forum content appearing in the Perspective and “Discussions and forums” features, its use does not guarantee appearance.

Distinction Between Q&A and Forum Markup

Google has also updated the Q&A structured data documentation to align with the new discussion forum guidelines. For site owners, the choice between Q&A markup and DiscussionForumPosting markup depends on the nature of their forum:

Q&A Forums: Should use Q&A markup if structured around a central question followed by answers.

General Forums: Should use DiscussionForumPosting if the structure is more general and not strictly Q&A.

Profile Page with Markup Example - developers.google.com, screenshot, SEO Gazette
Ex. Profile Page with JSON-LD Markup – Google Search Central
Discussion Forum Page with Markup Example - developers.google.com, screenshot, SEO Gazette
Ex. Non-Threaded, Linear Forum Page, JSON-LD Markup – Google Search Central

Tools for Verification and Monitoring

To assist in monitoring these new structured data types, Google is launching new rich result reports in Google Search Console. These reports will display errors, warnings, and valid items related to marked-up pages.

Additionally, support for these features is provided in the Rich Results Test tool, aiding in testing and validation of markup.

Article written by Luke Ross, The SEO Gazette

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