Google just announced that it is rolling out support for datasets markup schema in search results. This change means that more comprehensive datasets will appear in Google Snippets.

Better datasets let searchers find the data they need at a glance. It also means that all relevant data will be represented on a web page directly in Google’s search results.

According to their website, the change allows Google to better support data journalists by making data easier to discover in search results.

Google explained that, after getting feedback from 30 of the top data journalists in the world, they “identified an opportunity to improve how tabular data appears…[which] will make it easier for all people to find the data they’re looking for”.

But what does this change really mean?

Here’s an example what Google snippets will look like after the update has been implemented:

A Google snippet that displays the information in a graph, after the Google datasets markup schema has been implemented.
An example of how Google snippets will appear with the new datasets markup schema implemented. As you can see, the information is presented in a graph instead of a paragraph of text. | Google.com

Here’s an example of what a traditional Google snippet looked like before the update:

An example of a Google snippet that answers search intent with a short paragraph of text.
A typical Google snippet takes the relevant information from a website and presents it in a short paragraph of text. | Google.com

Basically, websites that publish data and charts that will have their data more effectively visualized in Google Snippets.

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What’s a Dataset?

This change means that, for anyone who wants to rank in SERP, datasets just got a lot more important. Although we’ve always known that datasets are efficient ways to present facts and figures, having them appear in Google snippets is a gamechanger.

But what does Google mean by datasets?

A data set is anything that provides figures, facts, or information in a collective or structured fashion like a table, list, or, graph.

Google describes the main forms of datasets as:

  • A table or a CSV file and accompanying data.
  • An organized collection of data tables.
  • A file in a proprietary format that contains data.
  • A collection of files that together constitute some meaningful dataset.
  • A structured object with data in some other format that you might want to load into a special tool for processing.
  • Images capturing data.
  • Files relating to machine learning, such as trained parameters or neural network structure definitions.
  • Anything that looks like a dataset to you.

Here are some more examples:

A graph of the weather in Venice which displays how data can be presented thanks to Google's data sets markup schema.
The datasets markup schema means that information can be presented in a graph like this one which displays the weather patterns in Venice. | Google.com
A table displaying the average weather in Venice.
The information that appears in Google snippets is also more likely to appear in a table like this, thanks to the Google datasets markup schema. | Google.com

According to Google, having datasets appear in Snippets will “improve discovery of datasets from fields such as life sciences, social sciences, machine learning, civic and government data, and more.”

When will the Datasets Markup Schema in Google Search Results Take Effect?

The datasets markup schema is already in its pilot phase.

At the moment, Google is rolling it out gradually. Some news organizations are already implementing the change and soon it will be used for all websites and Google search results.

There is no specific release date for the datasets markup schema. However, prepare to notice the changes being made to how your data is presented in Google Snippets over the coming months.

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What Does Google’s Datasets Markup Schema Mean for my Website?

Website owners should use these changes to their advantage. Now that you know what’s to come, you can get ahead of the game and improve your SERP ranking.

Soon, it will be more important than ever that tables and figures are as clear as possible. If you’re working with large datasets or if your article is centered around the use of tables or figures, make sure they are as concise and as well-formatted as possible.

For all the best practices in structuring your page around data, use these guidelines from Google.

Although we recommend taking some time to go through Google’s guidelines, here’s a quick summary of what you need to know about the Google data markup schema.

Key Takeaways From Google’s Datasets Markup Schema Guidelines:

  1. Be as relevant as possible – if your headline is “10 ways to cook an egg”, there should be 10 ways to cook an egg in your article. Don’t try to trick people into visiting your site with clickbait, inaccuracies, or just plain lies. As usual, Google will know and it will punish your page and site’s ranking.
  2. Keep up to date – any time-sensitive content will always have its publishing date and information taken into account. Make sure that all of your time-sensitive articles are updated regularly and appropriately.
  3. Be specific and inclusive – Include every aspect of your page in your title and meta description. Make sure you miss no single detail — within reason. Use common sense or ask a friend if it seems that you have included too much or too little information.

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Data is More Important Than Ever

Already at the center of most search results, datasets are now more crucial than ever. Datasets in Google Snippets also mean that the search engine is more efficient and precise than ever before

Now that you know what to expect, so there’s no excuse for falling behind in the SEO game. Make sure that your articles and pages are as informative and expansive as can be. Use all the data and information you can to develop high-performing and popular pages that Google will display in snippets for all searchers to see.

How do you think the datasets update will affect your SEO strategy?

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