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Structured Data

In a search engine optimization (SEO) context, "structured data" usually refers to implementing some type of markup on a webpage, in order to provide additional detail around the page’s content. This markup improves the search engines’ understanding of that content, which can help [improve your page placement (SERPs) in search engine results] (e.g. rich snippets, rich cards, carousels, knowledge boxes, etc). --Bridget Randolph, moz.com

We have implemented built-in structured data functionality, based on schema.org syntax, for news articles, a component to add structured data to directory pages, and an additional component that allows content editors to add article structured data to pages that were created prior to September 24, 2019.  We can also work with college webmasters to set up site- and folder-specific structured data based on their configuration needs.

As with any functionality in OU Campus, please contact the IT Web Team with questions on how to take full advantage of these tools.

News Articles

Any news articles created on or after September 24, 2019 will pull information you put in your page parameters into structured data as follows:

  • JSON output from News Article structured datamainEntityOfPage:  @type (WebPage) and @id (the specific page URL for your news article)
  • headline:  pulls in the page title you set in your page parameters, if any
  • description:  pulls in the page description you set in your page parameters, if any
  • author:  pulls in the author you set in your page parameters (e.g. an individual author name or a department name), if any
  • datePublished:  pulls in the actual date and time you first published the page; this is NOT the publish date you set in your page parameters
  • dateModified:  pulls in the date and time you last published the page (again, NOT related to the date you set in your page parameters)
  • keywords:  these are the tags you have set for the article, if any
  • isPartOf:  includes the name Utah State University and a default image of an Aggie "A" in a square format that works well for Google News
  • url:  by default adds https://www.usu.edu as the URL

If you leave any of the page-parameter pulled content blank (e.g. headline, description, author, keywords), they will not be included in your structured data for that page.

Please note that this change only impacts news article pages, and not CP Pages (content promoter pages without a publish date).

If you have articles created prior to September 24, 2019, or you want additional structured data on your news pages, you can add it to your news article by using the Structured Data - Articles component as follows:

  • JSON output from the addition of the News Article structured data componentPublisher's Name (e.g. College of Natural Resources)
  • Publisher's Legal Name (e.g. S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources)
  • Publisher's Website URL (e.g. https://qcnr.usu.edu)
  • Publisher's Logo
  • Publisher's Logo Height in Pixels (best to pick a standard ratio, square works best for Google; see an example of why square works best by searching Google and looking at their News results)
  • Publisher's Logo Width in Pixels
  • Author's Type (Person or Organization, e.g. Joe Smith or Department of Civil & Environmental Enginering)
  • Author's Name (can also be Department Name, e.g. Huntsman School of Business)
  • Author's Legal Name (in case your unit has a legal name, e.g. Jon M. Huntsman School of Business)
  • Author's Website URL (the URL for your author, e.g. your department main homepage or main news page or an author contact page URL)
  • Author's Description (most helpful for a department or program description or use for the individual author's title)
  • About Type (event, creative work, not a promotional article)
  • About Name/Title (e.g. a performance name or a conference name or an event title)
  • About URL (the URL you want people to go to to learn more about the content of this article or to learn more about the event)
  • About Start Date (only use if there is one, e.g. first day of conference, camp, or performance)
  • About End Date (only use if there is one, e.g. final day of conference, camp, or performance

The Structured Data - Articles component can also be used on non-article pages where structured data is needed (see available parameters above), and is particularly useful for event or creative work-related pages.

How to Add a Structured Data Component

  1. Add the Structured Data - Articles component anywhere inside the content region of the page.  Typically adding it to the top of the page helps keep things organized, but you can also add it to the bottom of the content region (or anywhere in between that makes sense to you).
  2. Fill out all the fields you need.  All fields are optional, so only enter the ones that make sense for your content.  If you leave a field blank, it won't be added to the page.
  3. Save the component.
  4. Save and publish the page.

Please note that once you've saved the component, and are no longer in edit mode on your page, you won't see anything visible on the page.  You will only be able to see the component when you are in edit mode (green edit button) on the page.

Directory Pages

Because of the potentially sensitive nature of directory information, no standard structured data has been added directly to directory pages.  Instead, for departments and/or individual faculty or staff members who want to include structured data on their directory page, it can be added through the Structured Data - Directory component.

The Structured Data - Directory component can be added anywhere in the editable region of a directory (or contact) page.  See How to Add a Structured Data Component for more information on how they work.

JSON output from structured data person componentAdding the Structured Data - Person component will give you the chance to set the Publisher's data (same as in the Structured Data - Article component) as well as specific person data as follows:

  • Person's Name
  • Person's Alternate Name (e.g. if the person routinely goes by another name or nickname that would be well-known)
  • Person's Honorific Prefix (e.g. Dr., Director, Secretary General, etc.)
  • Person's Honorific Suffix (e.g. PhD, MS, JD)
  • Person's Job Title
  • Person's Description (e.g. what they do)
  • Person's Profile Image
  • Person's Profile Image Height in Pixels
  • Person's Profile Image Width in Pixels

As with the Structured Data - Article component, any fields left blank will be ignored.

Structured Data Automatic Inclusion

Please note that if you create a new News Article, or add any of the Structure Data components to your webpages, the standard fields of (1) mainEntityOfPage, (2) headline, (3) datePublished, (4) 
dateModified, (5) keywords, (6) isPartOf and (7) url are pulled into the structured data for that page.  (See the yellow highlighted portion of the image.) The fields set through your page parameters (mainEntityOfPage, headline, keywords) are in your control. The datePublished, dateModified, isPartOf, and URL fields are set by default.

Structured Data Includes Files

If a standard set of structured data is needed for your entire website or for all files inside a specific folder in your website, this can be added by using a Structured Data includes file.  If you are interested in doing this, please contact the IT Web Team for more information and assistance.

Structured Data Caution

As with anything related to Search Engine Optimization, how soon the addition of structured data will impact the search results for your page depends on a variety of factors including:  number of visitors to your page, relevant content matched to search criteria, descriptive and relevant meta data (beyond structured data fields), etc.

Google may take from 3 weeks to 3 months to reindex your website content.  If an urgent update is needed, we can request a recrawl of your site, but it still may take several weeks for Google to recrawl it.