We often get asked which fields are required for a data type. The answer is that it depends on what you’re trying to do with the schema.org markup. What is the outcome you want to accomplish? The most common use case is that users are optimizing for Google, either trying to get Rich Cards / Snippets or trying to fix issues seen in the Schema Markup Validator (SMV) or Google’s Rich Result Testing Tool. Knowing the outcome users want is critical, because schema.org by itself doesn’t require any fields. In the following, we will first explain that and then we’re going to show you how Schema App applied required and recommended fields.
Schema.org Does not Require Fields
Schema.org is a vocabulary, like a dictionary doesn’t require you to use certain combinations of words in a sentance to speak to someone. It gives you the available list of class, properties (words) that you can possibly use. The nearest Schema.org comes to requirements are property restrictions, so that you provide the expected values. For example http://schema.org/description expects Text, http://schema.org/offers expects an Offer.
Schema.org Data Consumers Require Fields
The consumer of the schema.org applies requirements based on the use case. Google’s Search Documentation for the Recipe Data Type lists a number of required and recommended fields. These properties are required in the schema.org markup to meet the needs of the Recipe Use Cases. If you are not interested in the Google search feature then your markup without image can still be valid. The Structured Data Testing Tool or Schema Markup Validator is going to show an error as seen below.
Schema App Required & Recommended Fields
Many people find schema.org requires a steep learning curve, I believe it’s because there is so much choice. Nearly 600 data types and 800 properties can appear like a daunting task for beginners. For most intents and purposes users want guidance for schema.org fields to prioritize their efforts. While Schema App has had some validation rules for some time, e.g. Organization require Name, Logo, we have significantly extended the ruleset. We now have 211 schema.org rules that mostly mirror Google’s Structured Data Search Documentation.
The Schema App Editor property layout is reorganized based on these rules, pulling up the required and recommended fields to the top, while the remaining properties specific to each class remain below. As before, you can still save data items without filling in required fields, it will show you a warning and ask for confirmation.
Moreover, we built rules into the Data Items report to quickly see errors and warnings.
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Mark van Berkel is the co-founder and COO of Hunch Manifest and the creator of Schema App. He is an expert in Semantic Technology and Semantic Search Marketing. Mark built Schema App to solve his own challenges in writing and validating schema markup.