In a Webmaster Hangout, an eCommerce publisher complained about structured data warnings regarding data fields that are inappropriate to their product. They refused to create fake information to get a passing score. John Mueller responded that there’s a difference between warnings and errors.
The person asking the question sold custom hand made products. They did not have a global identifier. Yet Google’s structured data checker gave the merchant a warning that it requires that ID.
Here is the question:
“Question about JSON schema markup for my hand made one-of-a-kind products. I don’t have a global identifier and search console gives me a warning for not adding one.
I refuse to just make one up.”
John Mueller’s answer:
So there are two things here. On the one hand, this is a warning. So it’s not an error that will… block everything.
It’s basically just saying… it would really help us to have an ID here. So if there were multiple versions of this product or multiple people selling the same product, we can group them together potentially.
…it’s not that we would like not process it at all. It’s not an error, it’s just a warning.
You don’t have to fix all warnings. A lot of sites have warnings with structured data and that’s perfectly fine.
Structured Data Warnings Do Not Have to be Fixed
That’s clear guidance about Google’s structured data checker. This means if it is impossible to provide the information that the structured data tool requires, then it’s okay to have a warning.
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However all errors that are flagged must be fixed.
Mueller followed up with a caveat:
On the other hand depending on… how many products you’re selling it might make sense to try to get one of these IDs so that you can use that, especially if you’re selling something that other people are reselling, then maybe that makes sense.
But ultimately that part is definitely up to you. I certainly wouldn’t go out and just make them up.
Apparently you just register your company and then you can start enumerating your product. So maybe it’s not that much of a hassle (I don’t really know).
But again, it’s a warning, … it won’t break everything.”
Google’s Mueller provides good advice. If it is possible to provide the information that is needed, then it is a good idea to do so.
- Google does not requires publishers to fix warnings from the structured data testing tool
- Google does require publishers to fix errors
- Google encourages publishers to fix warnings if it is possible
Sometimes it means taking an extra step. It’s not a bad idea to be in 100% compliance with the structured data checking tool, even if it’s just a warning. It could be that the added information could be useful for obtaining more traffic.