Monitor Your Site with the Structured Data Dashboard
By Jonathan Hawkins ; August 9th, 2012
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Google has launched the new Structured Data Dashboard in webmaster tools to help site owners get even more visibility into how Google sees our site structurally. Can it help you? Small business owners have numerous tasks to complete before they get their websites up and running. From writing content to listing in directories, the number of tasks required to get your small business noticed online seems endless. Once your site goes live and begins to attract visitors, you may feel that you have done all you can with your website. Yet, the most important step in the website design process awaits you. The time has come to monitor all of the metrics that determine if your small business website is attracting new customers and turning new customers into lifelong patrons of your small business.

A review of Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools gives you insight into the online visibility of your small business website. You have access to detailed reports that provides enough information for you to make tweaking decisions. Google crawls and then indexes your site to help you learn about any problems that Google has accessing any of your pages. You will discover which search engine queries drive traffic to specific pages within your small business website. In essence, you analyze data that tells you exactly how visitors find your online business.

Another Webmaster Tool for your Online Tool Belt

One of the best things about Google is that the search engine giant never stops providing business owners with the tools they need to optimize their websites. In late March 2012, Google introduced another webmaster tool called the Structured Data Dashboard. The Dashboard offers business websites owners greater depth into the structured data Google collects from crawling websites. Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool, which has been around for quite some time, provides webmasters with the option to test semantic markup during the website development process. Now, Structured Data Dashboard gives webmasters insight into how Google uses the structured mark up.

The Structured Data Dashboard highlights the exact points in websites where Google recognizes industry standard formats and schemes. Moreover, the new tool provides a much deeper analysis by offering three different views. Google reports the type and corresponding scheme of the structured data it has discovered on a small business website. Google also reports the specific pages where structured data displays and the frequency of such data. Webmasters can analyze the properties present for each structured data type. The new addition to Webmasters tools once again promotes semantic markup to webmasters who may not be aware that the technology exists.

Structured Semantic Markup Data
Three Structured Data Levels

Site Level

The Structured Data Dashboard aggregates data at the top level by root item. This item is not an attribute of another item on the same page.

Item Level

Google examines and then stores a finite number of pages for each site and item type. The pages store in decreasing order by the times that Google crawled each page. For some item types, Google presents specialized preview columns that give webmasters more of a visual look at the data.

Page Level

Perhaps the most important facet of the Structured Data Dashboard, a page level view contains details that display all of the item type attributes. The page level view also provides webmasters with a link to the Rich Snippet Testing tool.

The Structured Data Dashboard can help webmasters during every stage of website design process to monitor semantic markup. Webmasters that introduce their small business websites for the first time can detect where they need to refine or make changes to their markup. As the new tool has gained more exposure, webmasters that are in the midst of dramatic redesigns are finding that Structured Data Dashboard to be especially helpful for analyzing markup changes.

You will find the recently unveiled Structured Data Dashboard under the Optimization section of Google’s Webmaster Tools. Google walks webmasters through the options they have for implementing this tool into their website analytics. Webmasters will also find extensive online content and videos that expound on the ways Webmasters can get the most out of the Structured Data Dashboard.

About author

Jonathan Hawkins is CEO at a leading SEO and Website Design Services firm in Fredericksburg, Virginia specializing in Search Engine Optimization and Custom Web Design. Jonathan's passion for computers started back in the 8th grade while creating programs in visual basic for AOL 2.0 in the winter of 94'. In 1999 he opened a web design firm which later turned into his current venture "TopoftheBurg SEO & Design". If not spending time helping his clients achieve page one rankings on Google Search or designing a website, he spends most of his free time with family or kayaking on his local river in Virginia.

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