I'll explain what unparsable structured data errors are, why you're seeing them, & how to fix them so they can go away or get overridden.
If you’re seeing new errors pop up on your Google search console, you’re not alone. Google just recently rolled out some new structured data errors in early May 2019. One of these new errors is called unparsable structured data.
Don't worry there's no need to panic. I’d like to give you some peace of mind. 😊There is a way to fix these errors or override them so you can have a healthy website again.
Having these errors is not the end of the world, but if left unaddressed, it could negatively effect your ranking.
Make sure to read until the end of the article to see how you can fix these errors.
What are Unparsable Structured Data Errors?
Google is cracking down on bad structured data and they are letting you know they found some on your website.
They are syntax errors within your structured data.
In other words, the structured data is that is already on your site is formatted improperly.
Since Google can't read it properly, they are warning you about it.
Basically “parse” is geek for read.
When Google reads your structured data, they need to be able to understand it.
If Google can’t “parse” or read structured data this presents a problem because they can't use it.
If Google can’t use your structured data, they might not be able to award you with “rich snippets” or show the correct info for your products in search results or ads.
Why Am I Seeing Unparsable Structured Data Errors?
Google is letting you know they found improperly formatted structured data code on your site.
Whenever you install a theme or app, this usually modifies your theme.
If you are on a platform (like Shopify, Square Space, or Big Commerce) you probably have access an app and theme store. If your store uninstalls an app or theme you've installed in the past, you might still be left with the code.
This is okay if the code is correct, but can be problematic if the code is incorrect.
Not all SEO apps are created equal, and that is why it's important to choose one that has correct and complete structured data that can override any existing errors you might be experiencing.
[caption id="attachment_9812" align="alignnone" width="800"] Once you discover how easy it is to deal with unparsable structured data, you'll be happy like this fox![/caption]
What Do Unparsable Errors Look Like?
Here is a little example of what these unparsable errors might look like on your Google Search Console.
- Incorrect value type
- Invalid JSON document
- Parsing error: Missing ':'
- Parsing error: Missing ',' or '}'
- Parsing error: Missing '}' or object member name
- Parsing error: Missing ',' or ']' in array declaration
- Unable to parse token length
- Invalid number
- Empty escape sequence in string
- Bad escape sequence in string
- Truncated Unicode character
- Invalid Unicode character
- Invalid Unicode escape sequence: four digits expected
- Invalid Unicode escape sequence: hexadecimal digit expected
- Duplicate unique property
- Invalid top level element
- Reference to nonexistent item
Some other errors you might see include:
- Invalid value type for field "availability", "itemtype", “ratingCount"
- Incorrect value type
- Either "offers", "review", or "aggregateRating" should be specified
- Missing field "name"
- Rating is missing required best and/or worst values
- Value in property "ratingCount" must be positive
Yikes! These look really intimidating but once you realize that they are all saying the same thing it becomes less daunting..
All of these errors are basically saying the same thing, "You have a punctuation or spelling error in your code."
Why Is This Happening To Me?
Not all structured data apps are created equal. It takes a lot of time and effort for a software company to update and maintain correct structured data for Shopify stores.
Here at Adolab, we make sure that our SEO code is 100% error-free and is updated daily for our customer's protection.
Chances are your theme came with incorrect or incomplete structured data. All of these formatting errors are going to finally be caught and presented to you as unparsable errors.
Also, theme developers aren’t SEO experts so they include structured data into their code, but it’s incorrect or not maintained which ends up in errors.
Okay, now that we know this info, let's learn how to deal with it.
Do I Need To Fix Unparsable Structured Data Errors?
Maybe, it depends.
If your only source of structured data is the one containing errors, then YES you do need to fix your errors.
Structured Data errors are not good for your ranking and signals to Google that your site isn't being maintained.
If you happen to have another structured data set that is error free and complete, then it's probably safe to ignore these errors.
Google only needs one correct and complete structured data set for them to be satisfied. As long as this other structured data set contains the right formatting, then you're set.
If you are a Shopify store that has Get Clicked SEO installed, then you don't need to fix your unparsable errors. Our structured data is correctly formatted and will override any existing errors you have.
In short, Google will use our correct structured data instead. This is beneficial for your store because this means you will be eligible for rich snippets, appear in search results properly, and display the right information in Google ads.
If you don’t have Get Clicked SEO installed, then I recommend trying to fix these errors.
How To Fix Unparsable Structured Data Errors
If you have a Shopify store, I recommend installing SEO Get Clicked which will help to override these errors.
If you want to fix them on your own, follow these steps below:
1.) In order for these unparsable errors to go away, you’ll need to first pinpoint where the error is coming from.
2.) You can do this by testing out your website in the Unparsable Structured Data Report. This takes a couple days to analyze and then report results.
3.) Now that you know where the problem is coming from (your theme or an app), you can contact the app or theme developer in question. Kindly ask them to update their code for this error message to go away.
4.) If you do end up fixing an error, go ahead and click "Validate Fix" in the errors detail page.
[caption id="attachment_9813" align="alignnone" width="800"] A glimpse of how the Unparsable Structured Data Report looks on Google Search Console[/caption]
What If I Change My Theme?
Unfortunately, changing your theme won't solve this issue because almost all themes have incorrect or incomplete structured data. You would basically be trading your current set of errors for a different set of errors.
What If I Delete the Problematic App?
Sadly, uninstalling an app (that is causing this error) might not be enough to get rid of the errors. Even if you manage to remove their code snippet from your liquid file, their structured data might be left on your theme.
This is why we recommend just bypassing these errors by getting yourself correct structured data like SEO Get Clicked.
Google is happy as long as they have one correct set of structured data that they can use.
You Are Going To Be Fine
Now you know how to deal with unparsable structured data errors if they are detected on your website.
Basically these are being caused by improperly formatted structured data on your site. This isn't being able to be read by Google so you are being notified.
This is happening because you have incorrect structured data being supplied by an app or your theme. This code lives on the back-end of your website.
If you want to fix it, it can be extremely costly because you would have to hire a programmer. The best way to deal with having structured data errors, is to make sure you provide Google with a good version of structured data.
[caption id="attachment_9789" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Don't worry, you are going to be fine![/caption]
Although having errors on your structured data is not ideal, it's also not doomsday.
You can recover from this set back. I recommend getting yourself a high quality SEO app like SEO Get Clicked that focuses on creating and maintaining structured data that is always in compliance with Google.
Remember to be careful when installing apps, because you never know what kind of code they contain that can harm your website.
If you have any questions about your unparsable structured data or SEO in general, feel free to send us an email.
To brush up on your SEO knowledge, try giving these other articles a read!