Google has updated its help document on using ‘how-to’ structured data with new guidelines about things people should avoid doing.

How-to structured data is a type of markup which communicates to Google that a piece of content is a how-to article.

Using how-to markup makes a page eligible to appear in search as a rich result.

Lizzy Harvey, a technical writer at Google, sent out a tweet yesterday notifying everyone about the updates. She also updated the mobile-first indexing document to align with yesterday’s announcement.

Here’s a summary of what has been added to the document.

Marking up steps
When marking up different steps in a how-to document, only include information related to that specific step inside the markup.

“Don’t mark up non-step data such as a summary or introduction section as a step.”

Unique images for each step
When marking up images related to a specific step make sure they are unique.

“Only mark up the instructional step images that are specific for each step and don’t use the same image in multiple steps for the same how-to.”

Images must be visible
A marked-up image must be visible and relevant to the content on the page.

“Use the same images that correspond to the content on your page. Don’t use images that don’t reflect the how-to content, or use different images to optimize the rich-result.”

One set of structured data per page
According to the updated guidelines, only one instance of how-to markup should be used per page.

So if you have a how-to guide with multiple sets of instructions, it may be best to separate them into several pages if you plan on using how-to markup.

See the full guide here.

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