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Google replaces structured data tool with promotional landing page

Google replaces structured data tool with promotional landing page

Google announced that the URL of Google’s structured data tool is now redirecting to a landing page. The landing page encourages users to try Google’s Rich Results page while using an almost invisible button to link to the new Schema.org Structured Data Validator.

Google Announces Schema.org Structured Data Validator “Stabilized”

While the fact that the redirect message is hidden at the bottom of the page in a December 2020 blog post is strange, it is actually not the strangest thing about this message.

The blog post does not say that the competing Schema.org validator is out of beta and ready for action (which would be normal), but rather … Google says it has stabilized.

Google says Schema.org Structured Data Validator is stabilized

Google: “Schedule Markup Validator Stabilized …”

Stabilized is a word used for a hospital patient whose condition has stopped worsening.

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Here is what the message said:

Update on August 9, 2021:
Schema Markup Validator has stabilized, and Google is now redirecting the structured data test tool to a landing page to help you choose the right tool. ”

Is the Google landing page promotional?

The new landing page feels promotional because it actively encourages visitors to use Google’s Rich Results page first:

“Google recommends starting with Rich Results Test …”

When it comes to the competing Schema.org validator, Google uses less flattering words like “generic” and describes the competitor in terms of what it does not have:

“For generic schema validation … without Google-specific validation.”

Given that this is the URL that users of the discontinued validator will have bookmarked, it almost seems that Google is encouraging users to use its own tool at the expense of the competing Schema.org tool that is likely to satisfy users of it. old validator.

Google’s test tool for structured data

The test tool for structured data tested whether the structured data is valid. Negative responses were categorized as either warnings or errors.

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The tool was much appreciated because it was useful for troubleshooting structured data.

A sandbox feature made it possible to make changes right in the tool to investigate possible solutions to errors and provided an interactive way to learn about structured data code.

All of these useful features are available in non-Google Schema.org Structured Data Validator.

Screenshot of Schema.org Structured Data Validator

Slow retirement of tools for testing structured data

Google announced in July 2020 that the structured data testing tool was retired in favor of the more Google-specific Rich Results Test.

Many publishers were saddened by the disappearance of Google’s structured data validation.

Thus, in December 2020, Google announced that the structured data testing tool would not disappear but would live on on Schema.org.

The announcement acknowledged the disappointment felt by the SEO and web development community:

“Since then, we have heard your feedback and we would like to provide an update on what the future holds for the structured data testing tool.

To better support open standards and development experience,… we migrate it to a new domain serving the schema.org community … The main purpose of the tool is to check syntax and markup compliance with schema.org standards. ”

The new Schema.org validator could now be found at validator.schema.org, but was tagged as a development tool, which subtly discouraged its use.

Google’s structured data URLs are redirected to landing page

Google is now redirecting the old structured data validation URL to a landing page that promotes the use of Google’s test results for rich results and also links to the new form markup tool.

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Google promotes the tool for testing rich results by prominently recommending users to get started.

It makes sense to have a landing page explaining that the old validator is gone and where to find the new Schema Markup Validator.

But the page goes beyond one explanation.

Does Google use dark patterns?

Dark Patterns is a method of presenting information in a way that is similar to a choice, but is designed to guide the user to make the decision the company wants, often against the user’s best interests.

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Researchers have noticed that Google and other technology companies use dark patterns to get users to do things like give up their privacy (Deceived by Design, PDF) by making it difficult to opt out of the invasion of privacy and very easy to sign up for.

A typical dark pattern trick is to make the button they want users to select stand out, while the button they do not want users to select fades into the background.

Google uses a bright blue button for the link to their Rich Results tool and uses a white button that falls on the white web page of the competing structured data validator.

Here’s a screenshot of the button Google uses for their Rich Result Tool on the new landing page:

Highly visible button

The button for the test tool Schema.org is colored white on a page that has a white background color.

Almost invisible button for competing validator

It’s almost as if Google is actively encouraging people looking for the validator to visit their own Rich Results tool, while hiding the link to the competing tool by making the button white so that it blends into the background.

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Google’s 53 word description of the Rich Results tool wastes all its features.

The 16-word description of the Schema.org tool uses 30% of the words to say what it does not have.

You decide which choice Google encourages visitors to make …

Schema.org Validator is “stabilized”

Although Google apparently encourages users to use its own tool, the new Schema.org tool is live and ready to use. The landing page still says it’s in beta, but it’s likely to be removed soon.

Quotes

The official Schema.org Structured Data Validator

Google’s new landing page

Google’s December 2020 announcement of the Schema.org Tool
An update of the test tool for structured data

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