Google has announced the addition of a "Structured Data Dashboard" as a new feature in its Webmaster Tools offerings. The Dashboard gives webmasters greater visibility into the structured data that Google knows about for a given website. This will no doubt come as good news to people wanting confirmation that Google was consuming the structured data being published.
Google's Rich Snippet Testing Tool has been around for a while and allows webmasters to see how their semantic markup might appear in a Rich Snippet. There are tools that allow developers to test semantic markup during the development process. However, until now there has not been a good way for a webmaster to see how (or even if) Google was consuming the structured markup in a given site.
The announcement points out that "Webmasters can use the Structured Data Dashboard to verify that Google is picking up new markup, as well as to detect problems with existing markup, for example monitor potential changes in instance counts during site redesigns."
The Structured Data Dashboard shows webmasters exactly when Google is recognizing "industry-standard formats and schemas" in their sites. Additionally, the tool provides a much greater level of analysis than has been available before, and it does so in three different views: site, item type, and page-level. For more specific explanations of these views, see the announcement post at Google's Webmaster Central.
SEO expert Aaron Bradley has written up his early impressions of the tool in this blog post, and provides some useful analysis. He notes:
"With the Structured Data Report, Google now reports on key pieces of information about structured data present on a website:
- The type and corresponding schema of structured data Google has discovered on a website.
- The total number of occurrences of that structured data type Google has discovered.
- The total number of pages containing each type listed.
- The specific pages on which each structured data type is present.
- Information about the properties present on each page for each structured data type."
Personally, I believe that this move serves as good marketing for the Semantic Technology community at large.
By integrating the Structured Data Dashboard into the existing Webmaster Tools view under Optimization (see image at right), Google has once again put the idea of adding semantic markup in front of webmasters that may not have considered (or been aware of) the technology before.
Let us know in the comments below if you think this will help speed adoption of structured markup.