SEO 101: Two Fixes For Issues With Squarespace Schema Markup
For a brief review of some problems with Squarespace’s implementation of Schema markup, see our previous article, Three SEO Problems With Squarespace's Schema Markup. For a full account of SEO issues in Squarespace, see our Squarespace SEO review, What’s True About The Myth About Squarespace SEO.
No Rich Snippets For You, Squarespace!
Most people are familiar with rich search 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.
As I noted in our 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. But I left one out. On September 27th, 2018, Squarespace users with websites that include events received emails from the Google Search Console Team describing issues with Event markup on their sites.
In the Team’s words, “this means 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.
Tracking SEO Problems Down
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.
As the testing tool shows for this sample Event schema from a Squarespace site, the problem lies 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.
It’s a little mysterious why Squarespace wouldn’t include these rather critical fields in its Event markup. One hopes that at some point this will get fixed. In the meantime, though, it’s something you’ll want to take care of.
Unfortunately, as I noted in my article, there are other instances when you’ll want to override Squarespace’s implementation. So how to do that?
How To Fix Squarespace Schema Markup
There are two ways to fix the issues created by Squarespace’s native structured data:
You can use Google’s Data Highlighter to add structured data in the relevant fields
You can just add the Schema markup yourself manually
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.
Manually Add Schema Markup
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 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 in order to fix the missing fields problem outlined previously. Just replicate an Article schema example from Google’s page on Article schema, and replace the fields with the ones you want. Then add it in a Code Block at the top of your article. This has the added benefit of letting you add fields not available in the Data Highlighter, like dateModified.
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