Google Automates Communication Notifying Site Owners of Breadcrumb Errors
Shortly after introducing its new Breadcrumb report’ to the Google Search Console last week, Google sent out mass emails to site owners notifying them of issues that needed fixing. It was back in 2015 that Google first introduced support for the structured data supported by schema.org – including the breadcrumbs URL structure. The goal was to better present URLs in search results. This data is now used by the new Breadcrumb report to help site owners identify whether their breadcrumb markup has been implemented correctly and fix any issues that are impeding their breadcrumbs from showing up as rich search results.
The Big Announcement
Google announced the introduction of the new Breadcrumb report on Twitter on September 19, advising site owners with breadcrumb structured data in their sites to check for errors. https://twitter.com/googlewmc/status/1174693878835875840 But soon after, Google began emailing those who had errors in the breadcrumb structured data on their sites to notify them of any issues. The emails also let users know how many URLs were affected and included a link to the new report. John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google stated on Twitter that the emails were a part of Google’s new practice of automatically informing users of any issues following the launch of the Breadcrumb report. Source: WP Tavern
Why Is This Important?
Breadcrumb markup is used by Google Search in the body of a particular web page to help categorize the information contained within the page in search results. Simply put, breadcrumbs in search results make it easier for users to see where the page sits within your site, similar to a bread crumb trail. And while breadcrumbs don’t have any effect on SEO rankings at the moment, Google has made breadcrumbs more predominant in search results, making for a more positive user experience. Therefore, it’s crucial that you ensure the markup is valid and error-free.
What Should You Be Looking Out For?
One of the most common issues users are noticing is a “Missing field ‘item,” referencing a property required by Google in order to show their content as a rich result. If you were one of the site owners that received a notice from Google Search Console, your first step should be to figure out whether a theme or a plugin is producing your breadcrumbs. Then take a look at support forums to see if there is a recommended fix. For more information, check out Google Search’s guide to Breadcrumb structured data.