90% of users prefer visually appealing search results over the same old blue blink links popping out of search engines. Search engine results that are visually appealing get clicked on more than the straightforward link-based search engine results.

How does this magic happen?

The answer is Carousel Structured Data.
Carousel structured data is a type of schema used for making data presented as search engine results visually attractive. Carousel schema uses the JSON-LD format and showcases search results in a horizontal list-like form. When a website uses the carousel data structure, Google displays it as multiple cards from the website. This website is also known as the Host Carousel. The carousel schema is used mostly for structuring AMPs, recently however the carousel structure is used as a data structure tool for large screen devices. The carousel display can be in the form of image displays or video displays.

PRO TIP: Adding Carousel to your website data does not promise rich results or featured snippets on Google. Although, it does give a fair chance to try and be a rich result.

How does a carousel display look?

When you Google search for the best Bollywood movies to watch on Netflix, you are presented with a carousel of movies from Netflix’s website (host carousel).

You will see the results in the form of a horizontal list where the movie title will be below the Movie poster. Since the data gives visual appeal importance, the image will be bigger than the movie title below it. The same layout is used while using this markup for other content types.

PRO TIP: In 2019, Google introduced a new process of the data structure for movie carousels. Where, apart from providing the movie image and title you have to provide details like the average movie review score, the date of release, a movie review and the name of the director!

Where can carousel data be used?

You can use the Carousel markup for the data structure of your website for structuring the data of contents like:

  1. Movie
  2.  Course
  3.  Recipes
  4.  Restaurants

How is carousel data implemented?

For implementing the carousel markup on your website, it is important to decide which website page will carry the markup.

  1. The Summary Page: This page contains a mini description or summary of each item or an itemList where each item on the list has three properties (type, position and URL)
  2.  The Details Page: This page gives a detailed description of the data that uses carousel for data structuring. Example: if the summary page talks about the best Pineapple cake recipe then every detail page will have the RECIPE structured data property for a specific recipe.
  3. Single/ All in one page List: It is a one-page entity containing all carousel related information. It is a single page link.

What Are The Various Properties Required For Carousel Data Structure?

The following items are required for structuring data with the carousel data structure:
You first have to define ItemList and ListItem.

  1. ItemList: The ItemList is a list containing all properties in the list.
  2. ListItem: The list of all elements like URl, type, name, position.
  3. item.name: Name of the item. Like the movie name or the name of a recipe.
  4. item.url: the qualified URL of the item page
  5. item: an individual property in the list. Like, Movie, Restaurant or a recipe.
  6. position: states the item’s position in the carousel structure.

What are the guidelines to follow?

Apart from the general structured data guidelines the following have to be abided by:

  1.  All the list items must be of the same kind. Example if the Item List is about movies then the list items must only contain movie items and not recipe items.
  2. The carousel data must contain the list of all items on the page and should be structured correctly
  3. There must be no differences in texts; the text which is visible to the user should match the information carried by the structured data.
  4. The position property must be coded correctly as items shown in the list format will be shown according to the order stated by the said property.

How is the Carousel- structured Data validated?

The coded data is validated using the Rich Results Test. 

The data of the Summary Page needs to validate on your own in the following ways

  1. Check whether or not the ItemList contains two or more than ListItem entities.
  2. Check that all the LisItem elements are of the same type.
  3. Every URL contained in the list should be validated using the Rich Results Test. Each list in the various pages or page must have the valid structured data and should be formatted for contents following the list format (movies, restaurants, recipes)

PRO TIP: Currently, List Format includes more items like books, toys, cars that can use the carousel markup for the data structure.

  1. For knowing how Google sees your pages run a check test by using the URL Inspection Tool. Make sure that your page is google accessible and if things look right to ask google to crawl your URLs again.
  2. Make use of a sitemap for keeping Google updated about future changes.

How can troubleshooting problems be solved?

For problems related to troubleshooting, Google Search Console is your best friend and will help you with all your concerns. Apart from this, the general troubleshooting guidelines have been mentioned in part 1 of the All about Structured data post.

Using a carousel for structuring your data does not only make it unique but also makes users visit your website again and again. If you are confused about which schema or structured data type to use for structuring your websites or web pages then, You can always refer to the previous posts of the ALL ABOUT STRUCTURED DATA series and also the future posts to come. Part E of this series will look at structuring COURSE data with the Carousel Markup.

Nirlep & Dharmesh

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