Incorrect structured data: Search Engine Land’s ultimate guide to Google penalties and messages

Structured data is as much a means of making the content and context of a website better understood by search engines as it is a method to claim more SERP real estate. When properly implemented, structured data can enhance your SERP listing with an eye-catching display known as a “rich snippet.” The image below depicts the commonly seen review rich snippet.

How a Rich Snippet appears in the SERPs

Sites with poorly implemented or deceptive structured data are likely to lose their additional SERP real estate.

The prospect of obtaining a rich snippet is enticing, especially in competitive verticals, which is why attempts to game the system using inflated or deceptive structured data are very much on Google’s radar. If spotted, a notification highlighting incorrect structured data is the consequence, and your rich snippets will no longer appear in search results.

The recovery and reconsideration process is similar to what you would do for other types of manual penalties. House cleaning, spotless implementation and documentation are key. In practical terms, once the confidence in the accuracy of structured data is lost, fully regaining it is rare. Gaming structured data is, therefore, a risky business. It is not only not recommended, it is also likely to indefinitely impact upon the look and feel of a site in Google SERPs.

Incorrect structured data notification

Google does not seem to appreciate incorrect or deceiving information, which is why losing structured data once may mean doing without them for an extended period of time.