Google Updates Article Structured Data Guidelines

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Google updated its Article structured data guidelines to reflect that they dropped the AMP requirement and changed the image guidelines for Top Stories eligibility.

Three changes to the guidelines make it clear that eligibility for the top stories section that can dominate the top of the search results became accessible for more publishers.

Why Top Stories is Important

Top stories is a way for Google to feature fresh news content in the search results.

Searches on topics that are trending in the news will generate the top stories section, which surfaces at the top of the search results in sizes that can dominate the screen on mobile and desktop searches.

Articles Structured Data Not Necessary for Top Stories

Something interesting is that Google added wording to the first paragraph of the Article structured data guidelines to note that structured data isn’t necessary to appear in top stories.

That means that news sources that don’t add article structured data can nevertheless be eligible to appear in top stories.

This is the case with other enhanced listings as well. So it’s not surprising that Google’s documentation for Top Stories should also follow the trend of no longer requiring structured data to qualify for an enhanced listing in the search results.

However, it is still a best practice to include structured data, including the Article Schema.org structured data, because it allows publishers to make it easier for Google to understand the web pages.

An example of a benefit of using the Article structured data is that a publisher can specify three images in different aspect ratios in a way that is clear for search engines to understand.

Google Deletes References To AMP

AMP, which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, is a framework for developing HTML pages that load extremely quickly on mobile devices.

The use of AMP was, at one time, necessary to qualify for inclusion in top stories.

That’s no longer the case, and Google removed AMP-related information from the Article structured data guidelines to reflect that change.

Google didn’t just change the guidelines to include AMP and non-AMP information. Google completely removed all references to AMP from the structured data guidelines.

Publishers who use AMP no longer have a reference from the Article structured data guidelines.

Google published an advance notice of this change in 2020 in a Another change, which might be considered the most important, makes inclusion in top stories easier to achieve.

Change To Top Stories Image Guidelines

Another change, which might be considered the most important, makes inclusion in top stories easier to achieve.

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