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A Guide To ‘Organization’ Structured Data For Rich Google Results

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A Guide To 'Organization' Structured Data For Rich Google Results

Organization schema structured data is useful to have on a website because it communicates important information to Google that can then be used to present an organization’s data in the search results in an attractive manner.

This is why implementing organization structured data correctly is important.

Structure Data Types And Properties

Before we get into the organization data type, it’s important to understand what a data type and property are.

There are two components of structured data that must be understood in order for it to make some sense:

  • Structured Data Type: A structured data type is generally a thing.
  • Structured Data Property: A structured data property is a quality of the thing (commonly referred to as an attribute).

To use the technical language of structured data, a property is an attribute of a structured data type.

Structured Data Type And Properties Defined

When you look at a structured data script you’ll see that it has data types.

The data types tell what the subject of the Schema.org structured data is about.

Analogy Of A Structured Data Type

For example, an analogy of a data type could be a person.

In this example, a person is a thing  (or data type) that this make-believe structured data script is about.

The person’s height, gender, and the color of their hair can be said to be attributes of that person.

Those attributes, in structured data, are called properties of the data type (in this make-believe example, a person).

Organization Data Type & Its Properties

Getting back to the organization type, a company can be the thing that is described.

Or, as is often the case, the organization type is a part of a bigger structured data.

Nested Organization Structured Data

A structured data script can contain multiple structured data types.

This is called nesting the data types.

Like other structured data types, the organization structured data type can be a part of a larger structured data script.

This is referred to as “nested.”

For example, the organization structured data type can be nested within a university “course” structured data to indicate the name of the school offering the course.

Here is an example of the organization structured data type nested within a university course structured data.

Example From Google:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
"@context": "https://schema.org",
"@type": "Course",
"name": "Introduction to Computer Science and Programming",
"description": "Introductory CS course laying out the basics.",
"provider": {
"@type": "Organization",
"name": "University of Technology - Eureka",
"sameAs": "http://www.ut-eureka.edu"
}
}
</script>

As you can see above, the organization structured data is nested within another structured data, in this case, it is nested within the course structured data script.

Recipe Structured Data And Organization Data Type

Google’s recipe structured data documentation includes a recommended property for the author or organization for each recipe structured data.

If the author is a specific person then it makes sense to use the person property type for the author.

Sometimes, a specific person isn’t credited with the content, and in that case, the organization structured data type can be used.

When the organization structured data type is used, the rich results will show the organization’s name as the author of the content.

Organization Structured Data

In the specific case of school course structured data, Google requires the use of the organization data type for every single course that has a structured data markup for it.

But Google does not require it for other structured data that can feature an organization type.

A good example of this is with the product structured data.

Google provides structured data guides for two situations:

  1. A page for a single product.
  2. An aggregator page for a single product.

An aggregator is a site or platform that lists products from multiple sellers.

Google’s guide for the product structured data recommends using either the “brand” or the “organization” structured data type.

For sellers of products, it doesn’t really make sense to use the “organization” to describe the manufacturer or seller of a product. The brand is more specific and logical.

Whether the retailer is Walmart, Etsy, Amazon, or eBay, you’re likely not going to see the organization data type used on their product pages.

The reason is that the “brand” structured data type is more appropriate.

If you go to Google’s Rich Results Test page and test the URLs of a product page from eBay, Etsy, Walmart, or Amazon, you’ll see that none of those sites use the organization structured data for the products listed for sale on their sites.

The takeaway is that the organization structured data is not always appropriate, even when Google says it’s okay to use it, which is the case in numerous situations.

When Google suggests a better alternative it is usually a good idea to choose the alternative choice.

Local Business Organizations

There are other situations where the organization structured data type can be used, such as for the local business structured data.

However, there are many options to choose from in terms of local business types, which makes choosing the organization structured data type not the best choice.

Organization can be too general to use for a local business.

So, it’s best to choose the most specific business type when creating structured data for a local business.

If the business is a restaurant, then it’s best to use the specific restaurant structured data.

Google recommends:

“Use the most specific LocalBusiness sub-type possible; for example, Restaurant, DaySpa, HealthClub, and so on.”

More information is available on Google’s Search Central page for local businesses.

Local Business Reviews

It is important to note that a local business can add user reviews about their business to their local business structured data.

One thing to take note of is that the local business structured data, including those with customer reviews, should not be reproduced on every page of a website.

Google’s John Mueller specifically discouraged the use of local business organization structured data that features reviews on every page.

Apparently, some businesses began using that structured data on every page in the hopes of obtaining review star rich results on Google’s search results page.

In an After Hours Google hangout, at about the 51:36 minute mark of the video, John Mueller explained:

“As far as I know it’s just the home page… it doesn’t matter for us as much because we need to be able to find it on somewhere like the home page or the contact page.

But if we have it elsewhere then it doesn’t change anything for us.

So, the big thing to not compare it to is the review markup, where we sometimes see people put company review on all pages of the website with the hope of getting stars on the search results of every page on their site and that would be bad.

But the contact information, if you have that marked up, then it’s fine. I don’t see a problem with that.”

Organization Logo Structured Data

An important use of the organization structured data type is to tell the search engines about the organization’s logo.

This kind of structured data helps Google to match a logo to an organization’s website and the organization itself.

Google states in its documentation about the logo structured data markup that this specific structured data sends a strong signal to Google to use this logo in their knowledge panel.

The data is then used within a knowledge panel rich result so that when a user searches for the name of the organization, Google can show the logo and other information about the site in a special panel of the search results.

Google offers the following structured data example:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
"@context": "https://schema.org",
"@type": "Organization",
"url": "http://www.example.com",
"logo": "http://www.example.com/images/logo.png"
}
</script>

Where To Use The Logo Structured Data

As Mueller indicated about the organization review of structured data, this markup can be used on the home page. It can also be used on an About Us or a Contact Page.

Where the structured data is placed is less important than John’s recommendation that it only needs to be used once.

Use Google’s Guidelines To Become Eligible For Rich Results

Some may say that Google is forcing businesses to use specific structured data.

But that’s not the case.

Google is not dictating what structured data businesses can use. Businesses can use whatever structured data they want.

However, that non-Google recommended structured data won’t help the site rank better or help it achieve a rich result.

Only Google-recommended structured data makes a site eligible for rich results.

Stick To Google’s Guidelines For Structured Data

There are a lot of options available for creating structured data. It’s easy to spend hours becoming creative in building a structured data script.

Schema.org offers a wide range of structured data types and properties. But Google only uses some of the options, not all of them.

It’s best to stick with what Google recommends, especially with their guidelines for best practice.

By adhering to recommended structured data, you’ll be able to provide what is needed in order to best communicate what your page is about and possibly achieve an enhanced listing in the Google search results.

Google Structured Data Guidelines

Before using any of the structured data that is related to the organization structured data type, it’s important to become acquainted with Google’s structured data guidelines.

These guidelines are designed to inform SEOs and publishers about bad practices that can cause a site to receive a manual action penalty that can reduce a website’s visibility on Google’s search results pages.

The structured data guidelines apply to all structured data types.

Top considerations that Google says are problematic:

“The structured data is not representative of the main content of the page, or is potentially misleading.

The structured data is incorrect in a way that the Rich Results Test was not able to catch.

The content referred to by the structured data is hidden from the user.”

Type-Specific Structured Data Guidelines

In addition to abiding by the general structured data guidelines, each kind of structured data (like reviews, local, recipe structured data, etc.), comes with its own guidelines and recommendations.

Each kind of structured data has “required” properties that must be included in the structured data.

There are also “recommended” properties that are optional.

When validating the structured data using Google’s Rich Results Tester, the tool will flag missing properties as “errors” and call attention to missing “recommended” properties as warnings.

It’s generally safe to ignore the warnings as these won’t likely affect eligibility to be shown in Google’s rich results.

Invalid structured data that doesn’t have the required properties will not be eligible for rich results.

The Use Of Organization Structured Data Type

There are many situations where Google recommends the use of the organization structured data type.

In some cases, Google offers a choice between the organization type and a more specific type. In those situations, it’s generally best to choose the more specific type.

Lastly, while structured data plugins and tools offer the opportunity to automatically create the structured data, they don’t really guide you on what you need.

It’s important to also understand what the tool is outputting because then you’ll be able to make better decisions using your own best judgment, and who better than yourself to make that call?

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Gen Z Ditches Google, Turns To Reddit For Product Searches

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In this photo illustration, the Reddit logo is displayed on a smartphone screen.

A new report from Reddit, in collaboration with GWI and AmbassCo, sheds light on the evolving search behaviors of Generation Z consumers.

The study surveyed over 3,000 internet users across the UK, US, and Germany, highlighting significant changes in how young people discover and research products online.

Here’s an overview of key findings and the implications for marketers.

Decline In Traditional Search

The study found that Gen Z uses search engines to find new brands and products less often.

That’s because they shop online differently. They’re less interested in looking for expert reviews or spending much time searching for products.

There are also frustrations with mobile-friendliness and complex interfaces on traditional search platforms.

Because of this, traditional SEO strategies might not work well for reaching younger customers.

Takeaway

Companies trying to reach Gen Z might need to try new methods instead of just focusing on being visible on Google and other search engines.

Rise Of Social Media Discovery

Screenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Gen Z is increasingly using social media to find new brands and products.

The study shows that Gen Z has used social media for product discovery 36% more frequently since 2018.

This change is affecting how young people shop online. Instead of searching for products, they expect brands to appear in their social media feeds.

1719123963 547 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Because of this, companies trying to reach young customers need to pay more attention to how they present themselves on social media.

Takeaway

To succeed at marketing to Gen Z, businesses will likely need to focus on two main things:

  1. Ensure that your content appears more often in social media feeds.
  2. Create posts people want to share and interact with.

Trust Issues With Influencer Marketing

Even though more people are finding products through social media, the report shows that Gen Z is less likely to trust what social media influencers recommend.

These young shoppers often don’t believe in posts that influencers are paid to make or products they promote.

Instead, they prefer to get information from sources that feel more real and are driven by regular people in online communities.

Takeaway

Because of this lack of trust, companies must focus on being genuine and building trust when they try to get their websites to appear in search results or create ads.

Some good ways to connect with these young consumers might be to use content created by regular users, encourage honest product reviews, and create authentic conversations within online communities.

Challenges With Current Search Experiences

The research shows that many people are unhappy with how search engines work right now.

More than 60% of those surveyed want search results to be more trustworthy. Almost half of users don’t like looking through many search result pages.

Gen Z is particularly bothered by inaccurate information and unreliable reviews.

1719123963 785 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Takeaway

Given the frustration with search quality, marketers should prioritize creating accurate, trustworthy content.

This can help build brand credibility, leading to more direct visits.

Reddit: A Trusted Alternative

The report suggests that Gen Z trusts Reddit when looking up products—it’s their third most trusted source, after friends and family and review websites.

1719123963 403 Gen Z Ditches Google Turns To Reddit For Product SearchesScreenshot from Reddit study titled: “From search to research: How search marketers can keep up with Gen Z.”, June 2024.

Young users like Reddit because it’s community-based and provides specific answers to users’ questions, making it feel more real.

It’s worth noting that this report comes from Reddit itself, which probably influenced why it’s suggesting its own platform.

Takeaway

Companies should focus more on being part of smaller, specific online groups frequented by Gen Z.

That could include Reddit or any other forum.

Why SEJ Cares

As young people change how they look for information online, this study gives businesses important clues about connecting with future customers.

Here’s what to remember:

  • Traditional search engine use is declining among Gen Z.
  • Social media is increasingly vital for product discovery.
  • There’s growing skepticism towards influencer marketing.
  • Current search experiences often fail to meet user expectations.
  • Community-based platforms like Reddit are gaining trust.

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Google Clarifies Organization Merchant Returns Structured Data

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Google updates organization structured data for merchant returns

Google quietly updated their organization structured data documentation in order to clarify two points about merchant returns in response to feedback about an ambiguity in the previous version.

Organization Structured Data and Merchant Returns

Google recently expanded their Organization structured data so that it could now accommodate a merchant return policy. The change added support for adding a sitewide merchant return policy.

The original reason for adding this support:

“Adding support for Organization-level return policies

What: Added documentation on how to specify a general return policy for an Organization as a whole.

Why: This makes it easier to define and maintain general return policies for an entire site.”

However that change left unanswered about what will happen if a site has a sitewide return policy but also has a different policy for individual products.

The clarification applies for the specific scenario of when a site uses both a sitewide return policy in their structured data and another one for specific products.

What Takes Precedence?

What happens if a merchant uses both a sitewide and product return structured data? Google’s new documentation states that Google will ignore the sitewide product return policy in favor of a more granular product-level policy in the structured data.

The clarification states:

“If you choose to provide both organization-level and product-level return policy markup, Google defaults to the product-level return policy markup.”

Change Reflected Elsewhere

Google also updated the documentation to reflect the scenario of the use of two levels of merchant return policies in another section that discusses whether structured data or merchant feed data takes precedence. There is no change to the policy, merchant center data still takes precedence.

This is the old documentation:

“If you choose to use both markup and settings in Merchant Center, Google will only use the information provided in Merchant Center for any products submitted in your Merchant Center product feeds, including automated feeds.”

This is the same section but updated with additional wording:

“If you choose to use both markup (whether at the organization-level or product-level, or both) and settings in Merchant Center, Google will only use the information provided in Merchant Center for any products submitted in your Merchant Center product feeds, including automated feeds.”

Read the newly updated Organization structured data documentation:

Organization (Organization) structured data – MerchantReturnPolicy

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What Is It & How To Write It

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What Is It & How To Write It

In this guide, you will learn about alternative text (known as alt text): what it is, why it is important for on-page SEO, how to use it correctly, and more.

It’s often overlooked, but every image on your website should have alt text. More information is better, and translating visual information into text is important for search engine bots attempting to understand your website and users with screen readers.

Alt text is one more source of information that relates ideas and content together on your website.

This practical and to-the-point guide contains tips and advice you can immediately use to improve your website’s image SEO and accessibility.

What Is Alt Text?

Alternative text (or alt text) – also known as the alt attribute or the alt tag (which is not technically correct because it is not a tag) – is simply a piece of text that describes the image in the HTML code.

What Are The Uses Of Alt Text?

The original function of alt text was simply to describe an image that could not be loaded.

Many years ago, when the internet was much slower, alt text would help you know the content of an image that was too heavy to be loaded in your browser.

Today, images rarely fail to load – but if they do, then it is the alt text you will see in place of an image.

Screenshot from Search Engine Journal, May 2024

Alt text also helps search engine bots understand the image’s content and context.

More importantly, alt text is critical for accessibility and for people using screen readers:

  • Alt text helps people with disabilities (for example, using screen readers) learn about the image’s content.

Of course, like every element of SEO, it is often misused or, in some cases, even abused.

Let’s now take a closer look at why alt text is important.

Why Alt Text Is Important

The web and websites are a very visual experience. It is hard to find a website without images or graphic elements.

That’s why alt text is very important.

Alt text helps translate the image’s content into words, thus making the image accessible to a wider audience, including people with disabilities and search engine bots that are not clever enough yet to fully understand every image, its context, and its meaning.

Why Alt Text Is Important For SEO

Alt text is an important element of on-page SEO optimization.

Proper alt text optimization makes your website stand a better chance of ranking in Google image searches.

Yes, alt text is a ranking factor for Google image search.

Depending on your website’s niche and specificity, Google image search traffic may play a huge role in your website’s overall success.

For example, in the case of ecommerce websites, users very often start their search for products with a Google image search instead of typing the product name into the standard Google search.

Screenshot from search for [Garmin forerunner]Screenshot from search for [Garmin forerunner], May 2024

Google and other search engines may display fewer product images (or not display them at all) if you fail to take care of their alt text optimization.

Without proper image optimization, you may lose a lot of potential traffic and customers.

Why Alt Text Is Important For Accessibility

Visibility in Google image search is very important, but there is an even more important consideration: Accessibility.

Fortunately, in recent years, more focus has been placed on accessibility (i.e., making the web accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities and/or using screen readers).

Suppose the alt text of your images actually describes their content instead of, for example, stuffing keywords. In that case, you are helping people who cannot see this image better understand it and the content of the entire web page.

Let’s say one of your web pages is an SEO audit guide that contains screenshots from various crawling tools.

Would it not be better to describe the content of each screenshot instead of placing the same alt text of “SEO audit” into every image?

Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Alt Text Examples

Finding many good and bad examples of alt text is not difficult. Let me show you a few, sticking to the above example with an SEO audit guide.

Good Alt Text Examples

So, our example SEO guide contains screenshots from tools such as Google Search Console and Screaming Frog.

Some good examples of alt text may include:

”The
”Google
”List
”Screaming

Tip: It is also a good idea to take care of the name of your file. Using descriptive file names is not a ranking factor, but I recommend this as a good SEO practice.

Bad And/Or Spammy Alt Text Examples

I’ve also seen many examples of bad alt text use, including keyword stuffing or spamming.

Here is how you can turn the above good examples into bad examples:

”google search console coverage report
”google
”seo
”seo

As you can see, the above examples do not provide any information on what these images actually show.

You can also find examples and even more image SEO tips on Google Search Central.

Common Alt Text Mistakes

Stuffing keywords in the alt text is not the only mistake you can make.

Here are a few examples of common alt text mistakes:

  • Failure to use the alt text or using empty alt text.
  • Using the same alt text for different images.
  • Using very general alt text that does not actually describe the image. For example, using the alt text of “dog” on the photo of a dog instead of describing the dog in more detail, its color, what it is doing, what breed it is, etc.
  • Automatically using the name of the file as the alt text – which may lead to very unfriendly alt text, such as “googlesearchconsole,” “google-search-console,” or “photo2323,” depending on the name of the file.

Alt Text Writing Tips

And finally, here are the tips on how to write correct alt text so that it actually fulfills its purpose:

  • Do not stuff keywords into the alt text. Doing so will not help your web page rank for these keywords.
  • Describe the image in detail, but still keep it relatively short. Avoid adding multiple sentences to the alt text.
  • Use your target keywords, but in a natural way, as part of the image’s description. If your target keyword does not fit into the image’s description, don’t use it.
  • Don’t use text on images. All text should be added in the form of HTML code.
  • Don’t write, “this is an image of.” Google and users know that this is an image. Just describe its content.
  • Make sure you can visualize the image’s content by just reading its alt text. That is the best exercise to make sure your alt text is OK.

How To Troubleshoot Image Alt Text

Now you know all the best practices and common mistakes of alt text. But how do you check what’s in the alt text of the images of a website?

You can analyze the alt text in the following ways:

Inspecting an element (right-click and select Inspect when hovering over an image) is a good way to check if a given image has alt text.

However, if you want to check that in bulk, I recommend one of the below two methods.

Install Web Developer Chrome extension.

Screenshot of Web Developer Extension in Chrome by authorScreenshot from Web Developer Extension, Chrome by author, May 2024

Next, open the page whose images you want to audit.

Click on Web Developer and navigate to Images > Display Alt Attributes. This way, you can see the content of the alt text of all images on a given web page.

The alt text of images is shown on the page.Screenshot from Web Developer Extension, Chrome by author, May 2024

How To Find And Fix Missing Alt Text

To check the alt text of the images of the entire website, use a crawler like Screaming Frog or Sitebulb.

Crawl the site, navigate to the image report, and review the alt text of all website images, as shown in the video guide below.

You can also export only images that have missing alt text and start fixing those issues.

Alt Text May Not Seem Like A Priority, But It’s Important

Every source of information about your content has value. Whether it’s for vision-impaired users or bots, alt text helps contextualize the images on your website.

While it’s only a ranking factor for image search, everything you do to help search engines understand your website can potentially help deliver more accurate results. Demonstrating a commitment to accessibility is also a critical component of modern digital marketing.

FAQ

What is the purpose of alt text in HTML?

Alternative text, or alt text, serves two main purposes in HTML. Its primary function is to provide a textual description of an image if it cannot be displayed. This text can help users understand the image content when technical issues prevent it from loading or if they use a screen reader due to visual impairments. Additionally, alt text aids search engine bots in understanding the image’s subject matter, which is critical for SEO, as indexing images correctly can enhance a website’s visibility in search results.

Can alt text improve website accessibility?

Yes, alt text is vital for website accessibility. It translates visual information into descriptive text that can be read by screen readers used by users with visual impairments. By accurately describing images, alt text ensures that all users, regardless of disability, can understand the content of a web page, making the web more inclusive and accessible to everyone.

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