Categories: Structured data & rich snippets :

Manual actions - Spammy structured markup

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Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Miguel Gaton 2/5/14 1:04 AM
I've read the FAQs and searched the help center. 


I've read the FAQs and searched the help center. 
My URL is: 


Hello,

We have received that manual action email:

Spammy structured markup

----------------------------------------
Markup on some pages on this site appears to use techniques such as marking up content that is invisible to users, marking up irrelevant or misleading content, and/or other manipulative behavior that violates Google's Rich Snippet Quality guidelines

After regarding all content and code, we can not find the issue on the markup.

Could you help us?

The site is www.nutridieta.com and the manual action affects all site.

Regards,
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Ben Griffiths 2/5/14 6:06 AM
Hi there,

Perhaps it would be easiest if you could rundown all the various markup types you have implemented, how and why. Be honest if you want help lifting the penalty.

First off, I note ratings with zero reviews?



Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Leeza R 2/5/14 6:50 AM
hi Miguel,

So sorry to hear about the penalty . As I come up the learning curve with the schema.org vocabulary, I am having a hard time figuring out which (if any) vocab can be marked up and not visible to the user. An example would be geocoordinates, or even something like a company DUNS number. I keep wondering if all of that content needs to display to the user. 

A quick question for you which would help us understand how G viewed your markup..
           What is your structured data count in Webmaster tools?  It is found under  Search Appearance----> Structured Data

Have you seen a change in the structured data count for any particular Data Type in the period prior to receiving the penalty?  In the graph details, you can click thru each data type and see the number of URL's being counted by G.  And did your Structured Data Count ever ~match what you had marked up?

Thanks for posting your story. I am very interested in why you received a penalty. I am having an issue with one of my data type counts going to 0 and I am starting to get worried.

-Leeza
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Internetadpro 2/5/14 6:50 AM
wow, this is new
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Ben Griffiths 2/5/14 6:57 AM
Not unexpected though. Google has had a "report rich snippets abuse" tool for a while.

What is manual today is algorithmic tomorrow - time to read the guidelines again, everyone?

Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup TimCapper 2/5/14 7:13 AM
Hi Miguel

I have only looked at your home page.

All the markup on each article snippet is being displayed on home page.


So you are creating conflicting information for a search engine.

I also noticed that you have Authorship attached and Publisher on Page

You should not have Authorship on your Sites Pages only Publisher.

Authorship should only be on Articles that you authored.

Look at it this way ( You created the articles that appear on the Front Page, Feeding page, Fats page) BUT you did not author the pages, these pages Host the articles and therefore are publishers.

Hope this helped


Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Jenny H SEO 2/5/14 7:20 AM
Leeza, hi friend! Please keep me updated on what you find. Very interested.
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Jenny H SEO 2/5/14 7:41 AM
Hi Miguel,

First, full disclosure... I have a working knowledge of schema but am by no means an expert in this area. I've never seen a manual notice like the one you got.

I started dropping code from some of your pages into Google structured markup testing tool, and what I found is that you are doing a few things I personally would not do:

1. While it's ok to use different types of structured data (schema, rdfa, etc) together, you shouldn't mark up the same thing multiple times in different ways. For example, you markup your name as the author in 3 different ways on this page:
http://www.nutridieta.com/los-beneficios-mas-increibles-del-arandano/. Also the use of "person" markup on this page is not appropriate.

2. You should not markup things that are not visible on the page. For example:
http://schema.org/aggregaterating - there's no rating shown or required on this page.

3. Again with the repetition - you've marked up this particular item as both an article and a blogpost. I don't think you can do that.

4. You're marking up empty space in your footer, which is a little weird. 

5. At one point, you indicate the publisher of this page is http://www.facebook.com/NutriDieta. That's definitely wrong, and could look like a hidden link drop.

One final note that probably doesn't have anything to do with the schema thing is that your class names are very long. For example "menu-item menu-item-type-custom menu-item-object-custom menu-item-home menu-item-21162" Is there any reason these have to be this way?

I hope that helps. Like I said, just the observations of someone outside looking in.

Jenny
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Leeza R 2/5/14 8:17 AM
hi Jenny! 

Good to see you and bump into a friend . I always feel a little bit like a character in The Hunger Games when I come into these forums. It feels good when you find an ally :-). I'll keep you posted on my saga.

I am studying all the great points you raise. Of interest was that the only errors reported for his home page in the SDTT were "missing required field 'updated' ".


I guess the wish list for the SDTT would be to give us more indication that there are 'other' bigger problems with the structured data. 

-Leeza  


Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Ben Griffiths 2/5/14 8:21 AM
I always feel a little bit like a character in The Hunger Games when I come into these forums

Lysis hasn't set anyone on fire for months now.
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Miguel Gaton 2/5/14 8:38 AM
Thanks everybody for your help!!

We are going to check all points and update the template.

I'll keep you informed.

Regards,
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Miguel Gaton 2/5/14 8:42 AM
Thanks a lot!!

Authorship on pages was caused by this missconfiguration in Yoast's plugin. More info http://moz.com/ugc/google-plus-authorship-one-critical-thing-you-need-to-know

Regards, 
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Ben Griffiths 2/5/14 8:44 AM
Yoast should sponsor these forums, a visit here seems to follow installing that plugin quite a lot.
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup David Deering 2/5/14 8:44 AM
I think Jenny Halasz is pretty much right on track with this one.  When I did a quick check on a couple of different article pages, I saw both the BlogPosting schema and the Article schema on the page, which is redundant and can cause some issues.  Miguel, I also noticed that you are "hiding" some markups with meta and "display:none" tags.  Hiding any markups, with the exception of certain properties, will send up red flags to Google.  (See https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/1093493)  On the pages that I checked, you have also included the AggregateRating schema, which is rather unusual for an article, but it's also a part of the markup that is hidden.  And as Jenny alluded to, your pages have a SiteNavigationElement schema and a WPFooter schema and they both seem somewhat random on the page without any other information.  

Google can and will take manual action against a site and disable the site's rich snippets if they see a lot of spammy markups or if feel that a site is using markups in a deceitful or manipulative way in an attempt to game the system and get a rich snippet in the SERPs.  So I would recommend that you clean up your markups, Miguel, and do your best to familiarize yourself with Google's guidelines for rich snippets to ensure that yours meet their guidelines and can qualify for rich snippets in search results.

I hope that helps.

David
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Jenny H SEO 2/5/14 8:51 AM
I wish there was a way for me to "like" that comment without +1 ing it as a correct answer. My first experience with Lysis was a bit like being set on fire, but I have mad respect for her now!
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Jenny H SEO 2/5/14 8:54 AM
David, thanks for the shout out (a plus one for the answer would certainly be appreciated). ;-)

Ben, I gotta say I have used Yoast a lot, and while there are certainly a lot of opportunities for misconfiguration, overall, it's still the best SEO plugin for wordpress in my opinion. My friend and colleague is working on a new schema plugin for wordpress that I'm hoping will solve a lot of these issues.
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Ben Griffiths 2/5/14 9:02 AM
It does come down to "This is a tool that makes screwing up easier" - the dangers of knowing enough to Google "wordpress SEO" but not enough to understand what it's doing, I guess.

But still, something labelled as "an SEO tool" probably shouldn't be able to add a second meta-description to a page.
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Leeza R 2/5/14 9:35 AM
LOL--Thanks for the head up on Lysis!  If you have time for a food drop to my district, please check out my related questions about structured data counts in the Webmaster category.  
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Jenny H SEO 2/5/14 9:46 AM

But still, something labelled as "an SEO tool" probably shouldn't be able to add a second meta-description to a page.

Excellent point and we are certainly digressing from the topic. But one could argue that as a development platform, wordpress shouldn't allow a second meta description to be added, since it's non-compliant. ;-)
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Jvon3L 2/5/14 10:37 AM
Let me way in here a bit as well and try to give you a short list of the most probable causes for your penalty:
  • First off, Microformats (hcard, hatom, etc). Remove it completely. It doesn't add anything that isn't already markup with either schema.org or open graph protocal (having open graph in combination with schema.org the way you did it should be ok). As has been point out already, marking up the same thing multiple times (differently) is considered spam.
  • Secondly, like David pointed out, you've got markup for both Article and BlogPosting which are biting each other, especially because you probable meant to mark up the same thing with it. Now I guess this has been done to try link the aggregateRating to the BlogPosting but unfortunately the way it's set up isn't how it should be. The comments/reviews themselves have no markup (which they should) and therefor any form of aggregateRating is considered spam. aggregateRating is only allowed if the Reviews that go with them are present on the page. Now you have them in your HTML but without the needed markup.
    Quick question: Are the Comments on the site meant as just that, 'comments' or are they meant as Reviews?
      • In case they are meant as Comments they should be linked/marked up by means of comment/UserComment (property/Type) without aggregateRating. Comments should have ratings. If they do, it's considered spam.
      • In case they are meant as Reviews they should be linked/marked up by means of review/Review (property/Type)
I almost dare to state that if you fix the above points you probable will get the penalty lifted.
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Jvon3L 2/5/14 10:38 AM
and "Comments should have ratings" of course should have been 'Comments should never have ratings'.
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup David Deering 2/5/14 10:44 AM
More excellent points, Jarno.  Thanks.
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup StevieD_Web 2/5/14 12:10 PM
Hidden Text, Hidden Text, Hidden Text.

Google has always been sensitive to stuff that is hidden from the visitor's view.

White text on white background, only seen in the source code and by the bot = bad juju

Meta Keyword tags, only seen in the source code and by the bot = bad juju

Now we can add spammy structured mark data to the same list of bad juju
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Ben Griffiths 2/5/14 12:33 PM
I've never considered meta keywords in that light but yeah, good way to describe why they should be binned.


Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Evgeniy Orlov 2/5/14 3:16 PM
I'm pretty sure, the cause of the penalty is this code:
<div style="display: none;" itemprop="aggregateRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/AggregateRating"><meta itemprop="bestRating" content="5" /><meta itemprop="ratingValue" content="0" /><meta itemprop="ratingCount" content="0" /></div>

More exactly style="display: none;"
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Ben Griffiths 2/6/14 2:42 AM
 
Usage guidelines
The goal of a review rich snippet is to provide users with review information about a specific product or service, such as the star rating (1 to 5 stars) and the name of reviewer(s).
The following guidelines apply to review snippets:
When using review markup, the main topic of the page needs to be about a specific product or service

As well as the concerns over using display:none, you should absolutely not use review mark up on articles.
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Raul Illana 2/6/14 3:19 AM
BTW there are millions of sites using WordPress and the WP Ratings plugin.

And that concrete markup you say is hardcoded in the plugin.
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Evgeniy Orlov 2/7/14 6:23 AM
then they are just all at risk to be penalized. cause hiding of rating makes all include me and google editors to get suspicion about manipulating of rating results. sad but true: enough said about WP code quality and qualification of WP extensions coders and users. if use any free extension, search firstly the whole code for "display none".
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Ben Griffiths 2/7/14 6:29 AM
Evgeniy,

Please take note of the 'Best Answer' as selected by a Google employee.... ;)


Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup robertred 2/8/14 1:14 AM
I see this case previously in spanish fórum (https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/webmaster-es/E4QTJnUlKQQ) about the same case... and was concerned that I have the same plugin (http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-postratings) in some sites, then, the problem is the "display: none" and now we get confirmation about this, googbye plugins...
then.... this is due to a manual report? or... algorithmic too?
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup SiteAdWiki 2/17/14 5:31 AM
Google becomes more 'human' by answering long, complex questions: Search engine adds new features as it celebrates its 15th birthday with a playable Doodle
Google's Hummingbird update gives more comprehensive answers
The change is a move away from keywords to complete statements
It uses Knowledge Graph data to compile a file of all related information
Google has also announced advanced voice query tools - similar to Siri
September marks the 15th anniversary of when Google began 
Google has unveiled a birthday Doodle and Easter Eggs to celebrate

Tips - What Hummingbird Algorithm Update Really Means? - See more at: http://www.siteadwiki.com/2014/02/tips-what-hummingbird-algorithm-update.html
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup mauritius100 2/19/14 3:37 AM
Hi all / Jenny,

Jenny I like what you posted as it all makes sense and your point 5 worries me a bit; "(At one point, you indicate the publisher of this page is http://www.facebook.com/NutriDieta. That's definitely wrong, and could look like a hidden link drop.)" would appreciate if you or someone else could clarify the following. Why exactly this line in Miguel's codes wrong? Is it because the FB page / profile is a business profile and not a human profile? Must an author's profile be a person not a business page? Thanks to shed some light.

Bernard
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup Jenny H SEO 3/11/14 12:18 PM
Hi, and sorry for not responding. For some reason I'm not getting my subscription notices anymore. Must fix.

Yes, the problem is that author refers to person, not publisher. Further it's incorrect because it links to a FB page, which isn't a valid field for author. Finally, it's improperly nested inside the markup; author should be a sub-attribute of article or blogpost (and only one of those should be used.)
Re: Manual actions - Spammy structured markup mauritius100 3/12/14 7:22 AM
Jenny,

No worries for the delay. Your reply also disappeared from my mail client; luckily enough I saw it on my phone and managed to retrieve it.

Thanks again for outlining the general purpose of markups so clearly. I wish it was as clear from the beginning in GG guidelines. Lots of corrections to make on my websites...

Thanks again

Bernard

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