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Google Now Supporting Discussion Forum and Profile Page Structured Data

November 27th, 2023

Google has announced today it will begin supporting Profile page (ProfilePage) and Discussion forum (DiscussionForumPosting) structured data for use in Google Search, this change will also include new reports available to Search Console users. This markup is compatible with Google Search functionalities intended to display firsthand perspectives from social media platforms, forums, and various communities. Incorporating this structured data will enhance the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the information presented by your website in Google Search and help with your overall organic website optimization.

How to Highlight Creator Information and Identify Forum Content via Structured Data

The ProfilePage markup is for websites where creators, whether individuals or organizations, share firsthand perspectives. This new structured data will help Google Search with a more effective way in recognizing details about the creator, including their name or social handle, profile picture, follower count, and the popularity of their content.

The DiscussionForumPosting markup is tailored for forum-style websites where individuals share firsthand perspectives. This markup enables Google Search to more accurately identify forum sites and online discussions online. Forums implementing this markup can be eligible for their content to be featured in the Perspective and “Discussions and forums” features.

Profile Page (ProfilePage) Structured Data

ProfilePage structured data not only helps search engines like Google better understand and index information but also enables more accurate and comprehensive displays in search results. It plays a crucial role in facilitating the discovery of creators and their contributions, ultimately enhancing the user experience by presenting a richer and more informative snapshot of the profile in search engine results.

Here’s an example of how ProfilePage structured data might look in JSON-LD format:

{
  "@context": "http://schema.org",
  "@type": "ProfilePage",
  "name": "John Doe",
  "url": "https://www.example.com/johndoe",
  "image": "https://www.example.com/johndoe/profile-image.jpg",
  "sameAs": [
    "https://www.facebook.com/johndoe",
    "https://www.twitter.com/johndoe",
    "https://www.instagram.com/johndoe"
  ],
  "description": "Passionate creator sharing insights about technology and innovation.",
  "mainEntityOfPage": {
    "@type": "WebPage",
    "@id": "https://www.example.com/johndoe"
  }
}

Some correct uses for ProfilePage structured data include: user profiles on forums or social media, author pages on news sites, “About Me” sections on blogs, and employee pages on company websites. However, it is inappropriate for certain contexts, such as the main homepage of a store, which typically contains non-profile information, and on an organization review site when there’s no direct association with the organization.

Discussion Forum (DiscussionForumPosting) Structured Data

The DiscussionForumPosting schema allows website owners to mark up their forum posts with structured data, providing search engines with additional context about the content. This markup includes various properties, such as the post’s author, date of publication, the main content of the post, and any interactions, such as likes or replies.

Here’s an example of how DiscussionForumPosting structured data might look in JSON-LD format:

{
  "@context": "http://schema.org",
  "@type": "DiscussionForumPosting",
  "headline": "The Future of Space Exploration",
  "datePublished": "2023-11-27T10:00:00Z",
  "author": {
    "@type": "Person",
    "name": "SpaceEnthusiast123"
  },
  "mainEntityOfPage": {
    "@type": "WebPage",
    "@id": "https://www.exampleforum.com/discussion/the-future-of-space-exploration"
  },
  "text": "I believe the future of space exploration holds exciting possibilities. What are your thoughts?",
  "interactionStatistic": {
    "@type": "InteractionCounter",
    "interactionType": "https://schema.org/CommentAction",
    "userInteractionCount": 15
  }
}

The correct use of DiscussionForumPosting structured data include: implementing it for a community forum page focused on discussions about a particular game or for a generic forum platform hosting diverse subforum content. DiscussionForumPosting should not be used in an article or blog directly written by an agent for the website, even if it includes comments, or for user reviews about a product.

How Can Discussion Forum and Profile Page Structured Data Help My SEO?

ProfilePage Structured Data:

  1. Branded Search Visibility: When users search for a specific creator’s name or brand, ProfilePage structured data can ensure that essential information about the creator is prominently displayed in search results.
  2. Personal Branding: Creators can control the information presented in search results, establishing and maintaining their personal or organizational brand by showcasing relevant details such as social media profiles, profile images, and a brief description.
  3. Increased Trust and Credibility: Rich information in search results, including a profile image and social media links, can contribute to a more trustworthy and credible online presence.
  4. Better Search Understanding: Search engines can use the structured data to understand the relationships between different online profiles, ensuring more accurate representation and indexing of creators.
  5. Featured in Special Search Features: With this new update, ProfilePage structured data may enable content to be featured in specialized search features related to profiles or individuals, providing additional visibility.

DiscussionForumPosting Structured Data:

  1. Rich Snippets in Search Results: Search engines may use structured data to create rich snippets, providing more detailed information about forum posts directly in the search results. This can improve the visibility and attractiveness of forum content to users.
  2. Improved Click-Through Rates (CTR): Rich snippets can make search results more appealing, potentially increasing click-through rates as users get a preview of the forum post content.
  3. Enhanced Relevance: Search engines can better understand the context and content of forum posts, improving the relevance of search results for users interested in specific topics discussed in forums.
  4. Structured Information: The structured data provides a clear format for search engines to understand key details about each forum post, such as the author, date, and interactions, leading to more accurate indexing.

Effectively implementing structured data is essential for improving search engine visibility. Follow best practices by carefully selecting appropriate schema types, maintaining data accuracy, and regularly validating using tools like Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Collaborating with an experienced web developer is highly recommended for seamless code updates, ensuring compliance with current standards and adaptability to future search engine algorithms. This collaborative effort maximizes the impact of structured data, enhancing the website’s visibility and relevance in search results. Contact us today and we can help you get started.

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