Structured data, which is a standardized format to mark up the information about a web page, is an essential element of Search Engine Optimization. Names are paired with values that help search engines categorize and index content, all of which contribute to a positive SEO impact. Testing your structured data is crucial to ensuring that everything is performing properly before it is implemented, and SEOs at all levels have used Google’s Structured Data Testing tool since 2015 to tackle this task. However, Google announced in July that the Rich Result Test tool, which was created as an upgrade for the original tool in 2017, has been moved out of the beta stage and will serve as a replacement for the original. With Google saying that it will begin to deprecate the Structured Data Testing Tool and remove it at some point in the future, the Rich Results Test tool will become the new normal for structured data testing. Keep reading to learn more about this change, and what you need to know about the Rich Results Test tool.
What Are Structured Data Testing Tools Used For?
Although the answer to the above question seems self-explanatory, there are many uses for the structured data testing tools that Google has rolled out over the past few years. Along with checking structured data for errors or inconsistencies (such as invalid usage, syntax, and more), the original tool is also used to visualize website properties and optimize structured data by providing a clear view of what would work and what wouldn’t. The Rich Results Test tool serves a slightly different purpose – this tool tells users whether code is eligible for Rich Results, as well as showing any errors that are present in the structured data. The newer tool also has more complex testing abilities – focused on either the whole URL of a page or an isolated code snippet. It essentially paints a more accurate picture of how a page will be displayed in search results once structured data is applied, but many are still expressing disappointment about seeing the older tool go.
Why Use the Rich Results Test Tool
When the Rich Results Test tool was first introduced in 2017, it was only capable of testing four types of structured data – recipes, jobs, movies, and courses. Now that Google has removed the beta label from the tool it is capable of testing all types of markup. To encourage users to embrace the new tool, Google has provided some reasons why the new tool will serve its purpose better than the old tool:
- It shows which Search feature enhancements are valid for the markup you are providing
- It handles dynamically loaded structured data markup more effectively
- It renders both mobile and desktop versions of a result
- It is fully aligned with Search Console reports
SEO Tool Updates – Staying Ahead of the Curve
Google has said that the original structured data testing tool will still be available for a short time, but they highly recommend getting familiar with the new tool and its capabilities. Some people see the update as a downgrade from the original tool, while others are looking forward to taking advantage of its capabilities. The best way to prepare for this change is to dive into the new tool, because learning how it works and what it’s best for are better done sooner rather than later. SEO is constantly evolving, and we can only assume and expect that the tools we use will evolve along with it.
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