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Mark van Berkel
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Internet marketing ontologist, Founder of @HunchManifest
Internet marketing ontologist, Founder of @HunchManifest

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Google made many updates to its Search and Structured Data documentation.
Google makes significant changes to its (structured data) developer guides

Google has just updated its documentation related to structured data, as detailed below.

Introduction
https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/
Change log: http://bit.ly/2tq8RlE

- Largely just a change to the introduction to the Google Search Guides section.
- Now classifies these Guides as covering "the following topics": structured data, AMP, mobile friendly design.
- Most notably this added paragraph makes it clear what these Guides are about: "These documents focus on the technical "how". For documentation about "why" you might want to implement various features, or a broader view of how Google Search works, please visit the Search Console help center, which provides guides, overviews, and more general information for site owners, SEOs, and content providers."

Introduction to Structured Data
https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/intro-structured-data
Change log: http://bit.ly/2tYZWF4
Internet Archive version, 26 June 2016: http://bit.ly/2tYXjD2

- Numerous changes to the text and components of the page.
- Old definition: "Structured data markup is a text-based organization of data that is included in a file and served from the web."
- New definition: "Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content."
- "Markup formats and placement" replaced by a more detailed section titled "Structured data format".
- Google now explicitly says that is only uses the structured data it describes (but see bullet point directly below): "Attributes or objects not described here are not required or used by Google Search, even if marked as required by schema.org." (Two things odd about that last statement. First, "attributes or objects" strange language for schema.org, which uses "properties" and "types", if that's what Google means here. Second, AFAIK there's nothing "marked as required by schema.org" on schema.org.)
- The documentation now has this to say about the use of properties other than those required or recommended for a "enhanced display" result: "In addition to the properties and objects documented here, Google can make general use of the sameAs property and other schema.org structured data. Some of these elements may be used to enable future Search features, if they are deemed useful." If I'm reading this correctly, Google making "general use" of sameAs is not insignificant, as this is the useful schema.org mechanism for entity identification and disambiguation. See also last bullet below under the "About Search Features" page.
- Significant increase in the number of items under "Technical guidelines", which now have 8 bullet points rather than 4. Probably the most significant addition is this: "If you have duplicate pages for the same content, you should put the same structured data in all page duplicates, not just the canonical page."

Build, Test, and Release Your Structured Data
(Previously "Prototype and Test Your Markup")
https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/prototype
Change log: http://bit.ly/2tZcv36
Internet Archive version, 27 June 2016: http://bit.ly/2tYZuq8

- Numerous changes to the text and components of the page.
- In general much less emphasis on how to use the Structured Data Testing Tool (the bulk of the previous version's text) and much more emphasis on post-publication analysis and tweaking.
- Half the page's content is a new section titled "Fix existing pages".
- The linked "Debugging your pages" page (previously "Debug and Analyze") has been entirely reworked as well, now providing a list of "Verified site owner tools" rather than focusing on Search Console's Rich Cards report, as it did before.
- Provides a new, useful, detailed section titled "Testing locally-hosted or firewalled pages".

About Search Features
https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/search-features
Change log: http://bit.ly/2tq9eg5
Internet Archive version, 7 March 2016: http://bit.ly/2tpXgmO

- Numerous changes to the text and components of the page.
- Not so much new information here rather than an attempt (largely successful IMO) to clearly name, define, describe and illustrate each of Google Search's "few general types of search result categories": basic result, rich result, enriched search result, Knowledge Graph result and carousel.
- New section has been added under the title "Supported combinations", which shows "which enhancements are supported for content types or formats." Interestingly, all content types (including, presumably, article/blog, book, music, TV or movie, recipe and product types) are now eligible to appear in a carousel.
- A bullet point has been added on "Other structured data" that suggests the use of markup not required or recommended by Google may be useful after all: "You can add additional schema.org structured data elements to your pages to help Google understand the purpose and content of the page. Structured data can help Google properly classify your page in search results, and also make your page eligible for future search result features."

Preferred Site Name
https://developers.google.com/search/docs/data-types/sitename
Change log: http://bit.ly/2tYVExn

- Minor change. Previously titled "Your Site Name in Results" the page is now "Preferred Site Name".
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Hello all, I'm working on Google Analytics solution which has a remote javascript library loaded from a GTM tag. The javascript loads custom dimension configuration to inform which index gets which value. My solution seems to only work sometimes.

My questions are, does GTM analytics implementation place any restrictions on the analytics.js library? Does it restrict custom dimensions to those explicitly defined in the Analytics tag? Should I create GTM variables for dimension index and dimension values and submit use the datalayer?

Appreciate any tips or directions on this.

Here is the related question I put up on Stack Overflow:
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/42162865/setting-google-analytics-custom-dimension-with-javascript-missing-data

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A minor update to SDTT, building on a comment by +Dan Brickley 2 weeks ago. The Testing Tool no longer ignores properties from others and I noticed this morning it shows all of the Entity types in the Testing Tool.

I also checked our Schema App Editor and its handles loading properties from each Type. The example shown below was done in the Editor.
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+Aaron Bradley is looking for community support for a video game schema.org extension. More information below.
W3C Community Group extending schema.org for video games proposed

Yours truly has proposed a W3C Community Group that will focus on extending schema.org for better coverage of video games.

The purpose of this group is to discuss extending the schema.org vocabulary for improved representation of video games in structured data. Our goal is to create proposal(s) that will extend video game-related schemas to make them more expressive, and so enable video game publishers, video game vendors, video game streaming services and news outlets to provide data consumers with more precise information about video games than is possible with the current vocabulary.

If you work in the video game or an affiliated industry, or if this proposed Group is otherwise of interest to you, please consider lending the group your support at the call-out link (http://bit.ly/2fQkeZt).

"Once a group has sufficient support (five supporters), W3C announces its creation, lists it on the current groups page, and people can join it to begin work."

#schemaorg #videogames

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Lots of Structured data tools for Schema.org and Semantic SEO.

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Schema App now includes 211 rules for required and recommended fields. In the Editor these fields are shown first then followed by other class specific properties. In the Data Items report we now show the issues listed alongside the data item, with a dropdown of error messages. Click the resource and fix the errors right away.

https://www.schemaapp.com/features/required-schema-org-fields/

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FYI Yesterday I discovered that Google's crawler follows URLs of JSON-LD @id property. The crawler attempted to index a large number of pages and showed Page Not Found errors in Search Console. The only way Google's crawler would have tried those urls is if it followed the @id in JSON-LD data.

I wondered if they would become indexed and so setup pages to handle those missing pages. As it turns out, yes, they are indexed as well.

For instance, the following markup on a page, it would follow @id just like it was the tag <a href="https://www.hunchmanifest.com/">

{
"@context": "http://schema.org",
"@type": "Person",
"name": "Mark van Berkel",
"worksFor": {
"@type": "Organization",
"@id": "https://www.hunchmanifest.com/",
"name": "Hunch Manifest"
}
}

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+Mike Blumenthal shared evidence of new click call phone numbers appearing in US mobile organic search results.
+Ryan Schilling first noticed the inclusion of click to call in the organic results. These also appear on YouTube results... 

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+Dan Brickley recently shared the Freebase (Google) Knowledge Graph Search API. https://developers.google.com/knowledge-graph/ The API allows you to query the Knowledge Graph for entities, uses schema.org types and is compliant with JSON-LD specifications.
In December of last year, we announced that we would wind down the Freebase service and transfer the data to Wikidata. We also made a commitment to continue to support users of the Freebase API by creating a replacement API that would help with searching the Knowledge Graph.

Today, we’re happy to announce the Knowledge Graph Search API (http://g.co/KnowledgeGraphSearchAPI). This API will allow you to query the Knowledge Graph for entities. It uses standard schema.org types and is compliant with JSON-LD specifications. We are working on a replacement for the Freebase Suggest Widget (https://developers.google.com/freebase/v1/suggest?hl=en) that leverages the Knowledge Graph Search API and hope to release it early next year.

We will continue to support the Freebase API and widget for three full months after the Suggest Widget replacement is released, at which point we will shut it down. If you want to stay updated on future improvements to our Search-related developer offerings, please follow our Google Developers channel at https://plus.google.com/+GoogleDevelopers.

The Google Knowledge Graph Team

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I've been digging into linking schema.org/CreativeWork to the identifiers from WikiData, Wikipedia, DBPedia, Product Ontology for use with the about property. I want to be able to add some context to entities using the about property (e.g. for the category of a BlogPosting), which links to Things with the wiki's sameAs and product ontology additionalType. It does a lookup first using the WikiData api and from there looks like we can form the other links.

http://www.schemaapp.com/tools/wikidata-lookup-by-name/?topic=Google

So I am working on the tool above that you can try out and I'm curious if you think it's working correctly or if you have any suggestions. I didn't include Freebase, because as far as I know it's still being phased out. 
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