SEO 101: Two Fixes For Issues With Squarespace Schema Markup

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For a full account of SEO issues in Squarespace, see our Squarespace SEO review, What’s True About The Myth About Squarespace SEO, or check out our post of eight lesser-known Squarespace SEO tips. As always, you can turn to us for SEO services if you want professional help.

Updated August 2019 to reflect changes in Squarespace Event schema.

No Rich Snippets For You, Squarespace!

Most people are familiar with rich snippets, also known as rich results. They’re results drawn from information on web pages containing things like answers, recipes, or events that Google displays right in search results. They’re great to have, because click-through rates on rich snippets are much higher than regular results. So event though there apparently isn’t a direct SEO benefit to getting rich results, the improved click-through rates undoubtedly help SEO and make your events, recipes, products or other data appear more professional to searchers.

Some examples of Google’s rich snippets.

As I noted in my previous article on Schema, Squarespace has some problems with its implementation of Schema markup, which is the code for structured data that enables rich results.

Event schema is one example. You may have received emails from the Google Search Console Team related to errors in your event schema. That means, in the Team’s words, “that your Events pages might not appear as rich results in Google Search.” This is obviously a pretty important matter if you are serious about SEO and want to promote the events you are offering, which you undoubtedly do.

Let’s take a look at taking care of the Events markup issue as a way of examining how to implement schema markup in general.

The Problem With Event Schema

Sometimes SEO problems can be difficult to track down. But this isn’t one of them. With the new Search Console, you get an Events report which shows you what issues you may have. Personally, I prefer to use Google’s own Structured Data Testing Tool to check out exactly what structured data Google sees for a particular page. In most cases, including this one, the issues will be the same, as they should be.

Google’s Structured Data Test Tool shows missing “location” and “startDate” fields for Squarespace Event Schema markup.

As the testing tool shows for this sample Event schema from a Squarespace site last year, the problem used to lie with two missing fields: “location” and “startDate.”

Both of these fields are considered “required” and therefore count as “errors” rather than just “warnings” in the Structured Data Testing Tool.

The situation with Event schema has shifted since last year, when this sample was taken. Now, location and startDate fields are getting filled by Squarespace. But the description field has gone missing!

It’s a little mysterious why Squarespace wouldn’t take the time to get these matters fixed properly. One hopes that at some point, they will. In the meantime, though, these are issues you’ll want to take care of.

And there are other instances when you’ll want to override Squarespace’s implementation. So how to do that?

How To Add Schema Markup To Squarespace

There are two ways to fix the issues created by Squarespace’s native schema markup:

  1. Use Google’s Data Highlighter to add structured data in the relevant fields

  2. Add schema markup yourself manually

1. Use Data Highlighter

Google provides a pretty good guide to using the Data Highlighter. It’s the way to go if your time is limited and you don’t want to mess around with code. You just highlight the relevant fields for the pages Google walks you through. When you’ve marked up as many fields as you can, you save and move on to the next page. At some point Google will decide you’ve done enough and will show you a list of remaining pages with its guesses for the fields. If you see any errors, correct them. Then publish, and your work is done.

Data Highlighter only works on some types of information. Recipes, for example, aren’t available for some reason, while book reviews are. And for some data types, not all fields that might be included from the full universe of Schema markup are available in Data Highlighter.

2. Add Schema Markup Manually

Event Schema markup example in Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

You can also add the Schema markup manually. I find this to be most foolproof method. It’s been shown that duplicate Schema markup is not penalized, and Google will give preference to the more complete markup. All we have to do is provide fuller Schema than Squarespace does. It’s also good practice for doing Schema for stuff you can’t mark up using the Data Highlighter, which gives you access to only a small fraction of potential structured data you can add to your site.

Let’s use the Event schema issue as an example. Schema can be provided in either the head or the body of the page. So go to Google’s page for Event markup, where you’ll find an explanation of all potential elements you might add, plus a good example of Event markup in the “Example” section. Copy that example and paste into your favorite editor. Now, replace the content used in the example with your own. If you don’t have some fields, just don’t include them.

Then, in this case, go to your Events page. Pick an event and click Edit. Under the Content tab you have the content of your event. Add a Code Block to the top of the page and paste the resulting markup.

If you’ve done this properly, the Testing Tool will now show two Event markups for that page, one with errors (Squarespace’s) and one without (yours). Congratulations! Depending on Google’s whims, you now have a good chance of getting the right rich results for your event. And you should also see those errors disappear from the Events report in Search Console over time.

Just make sure you haven’t somehow introduced errors into your own markup. That’s very easy to do, as a single stray comma or bracket will mess things up. The Testing Tool will identify the location of any errors in your markup, though, so it’s usually possible to identify where things went wrong. Remember, it’s essential your markup have no errors, so don’t skip error checking.

What About Articles And Blog Posts?

The same basic method can also be used for Article schema, for example, to let you add fields not available in the Data Highlighter, like dateModified.

 
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