Google has been busily updating its webmaster tools of late with a host of new features, reporting systems and alert capabilities for registered users. One of its most recent additions is the structured data dashboard, designed to provide a greater insight into the search engine’s view of the structured data associated with your website.
Structured data is nothing new but it takes several forms and will appear on the web and in website code in a number of guides. The most popular form of structured data is rich snippets – snippets are the sentence or two of text that appears under each search result on Google. Rich snippets are more detailed variants of this and appear when Google has a greater depth of understanding about the page and its content. In the case of a bar or restaurant site for example, rich snippets may be menu items, average prices per dish or customer reviews. In the case of a music store, rich snippets may appear as a track listing for each album, with corresponding link to a sample of the track.
The use of rich snippets is increasingly important in the more fragmented and complex search space, as the additional detail provided to users in this format can act as a call to action, encouraging them to click on your listing ahead of a competitors. To get this functioning, rich snippet mark-up must be added in HTML format to each page.
The structured data dashboard brings these various strands together, providing an overarching view that makes it easy to keep track of what Google knows about the website, in standard rich snippet and schema formats.
The dashboard has been created with three viewing levels; site, item type and page level. To access the structured data dashboard and see each of these views, log in to your webmaster tools account and head to the optimization section.
1. View Structured Data at Site Level
The site level view is the default top level view when you click through in to the data dashboard. It lists all of the root item types and schemas to be found on the site.
2. View Data at Item Type Level
You can also view per page details for each type of structured data residing on your domain in the item type level view. This view is organized by default to show newly found items at the top, making it useful for checking if the latest rich snippet items added to the site have been indexed. This level view will also help with trouble shooting, showing when errors are encountered.
3. View Data at Page Level
The page level view allows you to get deep into the heart of each page, showing every item type that Google has picked up.
As you add new pages to the site and expand your use of rich snippets, you’ll likely spend a lot more time examining the structured data dashboard. Even if your site already ranks well on Google, adding rich snippets and monitoring how well they are being received via the new dashboard view is a relatively easy way to take up more search space.
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