Profiles and Discussion Forums Markup: New Structured Data from Google

an illustration of a Perspectives filter in search results

Introducing support for structured data in profile pages and discussion forums, along with new Search Console reports! This innovative markup has been meticulously designed to seamlessly integrate with Google Search features, offering a dynamic showcase of perspectives sourced from the diverse realms of social media, forums, and communities. The incorporation of this structured data is a pivotal stride towards elevating the precision and comprehensiveness of the content presented within these features.

So, let's delve into the details and explore how this enhancement is set to reshape the digital landscape.

Showcasing Creator Information and Recognizing Forum Content

The ProfilePage markup is tailor-made for websites where creators, be they individuals or organizations, share their unique perspectives. This empowers Google Search to adeptly recognize and display crucial information about the creator, such as their name, social handle, profile photo, follower count, and the popularity of their content. Both the Perspectives and Discussions and Forums features leverage the ProfilePage markup.

an illustration of discussion and forums

On the flip side, the DiscussionForumPosting markup is designed for websites with a forum-style setup, where users collectively share their firsthand perspectives. This markup aids Google Search in identifying forum sites and online discussions across the vast web. While forums with this markup are considered for inclusion in the Perspectives and "Discussions and Forums" features, it's important to note that it doesn't guarantee automatic inclusion.

Q&A Markup vs. Forum Markup

Q&A page rich results

For those already employing Q&A markup for forums centered around questions and answers, Google's Q&A structured data documentation is undergoing an update to align seamlessly with the new discussion forum guidelines. There's no need to incorporate both types of structured data on the same page. Instead, choose the one that aligns best with your specific use case:

  • Q&A Forums: If your forum follows a question-and-answer format, utilize Q&A markup.
  • General Forums: Opt for DiscussionForumPosting for more general forum structures that aren't strictly Q&A.

Verification and Monitoring with Google Search Console

To streamline the process of monitoring discussion threads and profile page markup issues, the profile page and discussion forum rich result reports in Search Console  provide insights into errors, warnings, and valid items associated with your marked-up pages. Furthermore, both features are fully supported in the Rich Results Test, offering a robust tool for testing and validating your markup.

profile page rich results report
discussion forum rich result report

Conclusion

In conclusion, the introduction of Profile Page and Discussion Forum Structured Data for Google Search marks a significant enhancement for content creators and forum administrators. The ProfilePage markup enables a more detailed and accurate representation of creators' information, fostering a richer search experience. Simultaneously, the DiscussionForumPosting markup facilitates the identification of diverse online discussions, contributing to the inclusivity of perspectives on the web.

It's crucial for website owners to choose the appropriate markup based on their specific content format—whether it's a Q&A-focused forum or a more general discussion platform. The ongoing updates to Google's Q&A structured data documentation ensure a seamless transition for those already using Q&A markup.

With the added benefit of comprehensive reports in the Search Console, monitoring and optimizing your marked-up pages becomes a streamlined process. The inclusion of these features in the Rich Results Test further empowers website owners to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of their structured data implementation.

As we embrace these advancements, we look forward to seeing a more dynamic and inclusive representation of online content in Google Search.

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