A spammy structured markup penalty will be levied against a website that violates Google’s structured data guidelines. We have created a helpful guide that will instruct most webmasters how to remove a spammy structured markup penalty.
First… What is Structured Data?
Structured data is used by search engines to better understand your website. Search engines like Google can use structured data to generate rich snippets, which are small pieces of information that can be provided in search results. Extra information that is shown in search results can be anything from hours of operation, stars that indicate positive / negative reviews, and several other snippets of information, here are a few examples. Structured data should be in every tool set of a competent SEO or developer. Structured data can also take a turn for the worst, if used incorrectly, maliciously, or manipulatively. If you receive a message such as the one below, we can guide you through the process of removing a spammy structured markup penalty!
How to Remove a Spammy Structured Markup Penalty
At the core, structured markup is used to help crawlers dissect data, determine what is the most important information on the page, and what type of information is being presented. If Schema is used for anything other than that, such as marking up content that is invisible or completely non-existent, marking up irrelevant content, or other manipulative behavior can land you with a spammy structured markup penalty.
To remove a spammy structured markup penalty, first you will be required to identify the area in which Google believes you are using Schema for manipulative purposes. Second, either fix the structured markup to abide by Google’s quality guidelines, or remove it completely. Lastly, submit a reconsideration request and indicate to Google the changes you made to the structured markup, and you should be well on your way to removing the spammy structured markup penalty!
How to Avoid a Spammy Structured Markup Penalty
The easiest and most sure-fired way to avoid a spammy structured markup penalty is to abide by Google’s Rich Snippets Guidelines. It provides a step-by-step process on how to mark-up your content so that Google Bot can accurately parse it, and interpret the information as intended. Additionally, marking up content is primarily so that a crawler can more easily interpret the information you are providing, making it easier for your potential customer base to visit your website through a variety of queries.
One last suggestion is to TEST. TEST. TEST. Google provides its own Structured Data Testing Tool that can help you determine the accuracy and effectiveness of the Schema used on your website. Additionally, it can help you avoid a nasty spammy structured markup penalty that can devalue your website in search results for the duration of the penalization. Lastly, if you have a hint of possible unnatural Schema markup being used on your website by a less-than-ethical developer or SEO, contact our team of experts today, and we can take a look at your specific issue and find a solution!
If you have any specific questions about spammy structured markup penalties, or general penalty aversion, reach out to me on Twitter – @Tripp_Hamilton.