No More Time Ranges: Google Recipe Markup Now Requires Specific Times

SEO Schema

Schema markups play a huge role in your recipe content’s rank on Google’s search results.

However, with the recent change in their guidelines, your content risks being pushed down from the first page of the rankings and may even get penalized.

As Google removes its support for time ranges on recipe schema markups in its help documents, we’ll explain why it’s important to update your content and maintain your position in the search engine’s results pages.

What’s a Schema Markup?

Schema markups, otherwise known as structured data, are used by search engine optimizers and marketers to help search engines understand their website’s content.

This is also used by search engines to easily interpret what content should be prioritized over the other. These results are then automatically organized by the search engines in their respective results pages in the most intuitive way possible.

For instance, like in this post, if you are searching for the steps for making a burger, search engines like Google will provide you with results that it understands as most relevant to what you are searching for.

How does it prioritize content, then?

It uses the schema markups of your websites, such as the time to spend to cook a recipe, the ingredients that you need, and the tools you need to have.

This is handy for SEO because it helps you rank your content further up the results pages.

Google’s schema markup guidelines, however, will change from time to time. These changes affect the overall rankings, making it difficult for content to stay on the first page of Google’s results pages.

This is the reason why there is a constant need to update your content and your structured data to better fit Google’s guidelines and prevent being pushed down the rankings because of poor adherence or even outright violation which will lead to your website getting penalized by Google’s algorithms.

Recipes on Google

Google’s search console provides users with a variety of information for basically everything that they need to know.

Structured data allows Google to understand that your content is what a Google search term is using for things like reviewer ratings, cooking and preparation times, and information about a recipe’s nutrition.

This information is then presented by Google to users in any of its console’s features such as news, images, videos, maps, and of course, its default search tab.

Your schema markups don’t just help Google understand your content’s relevance, though. It will also help it create some interesting search results, such as guiding a user through the process of making a recipe. You can even create a carousel of your recipe’s images through structured data.

With the overwhelming amount of competition on the internet, it is imperative that you add schema markups on your recipe websites to make sure that you have even an inkling of a chance to appear on top of a user’s search results and let Google do magic with your content through its guided recipes and carousel features.

What Changed?

As we said before, Google’s schema markup guidelines for recipe content have changed yet again.

This comes unprecedented since most recipes usually follow a standard format for their structured data:

  • Image
  • Name
  • Aggregate Rating
  • Author
  • Cook Time
  • Date Published
  • Description
  • Keywords
  • Nutrition
  • Preparation Time
  • Recipe Category
  • Recipe Cuisine
  • Recipe Ingredient
  • Recipe Instructions
  • Recipe Yield
  • Total Time
  • Video

And more.

This schema markup change targets the existing guidelines for the times in cook time, prep time, and total time.

More specifically, it no longer supports the inclusion of time ranges and will now require you to input a specific time for these schemas.

In the past, if you were creating recipe content and inserting structured data for Google, you would just indicate a minimum and maximum range for prep time, cook time, and total time. This is no longer the case for future recipe content if you still want Google to comprehensively understand your website’s recipes.

Instead of having a time range to input to prepare and cook a dish, you should now indicate a specific time for them. If not, Google will no longer prioritize your content for its rich results, making it less likely for users to use your website’s recipe for their kitchen needs.

Sure, it makes no sense to remove time ranges for your recipes since almost all of the recipes we know of can be cooked in a variety of lengths. For example, mac and cheese can be cooked for at least 10 to 15 minutes, or you can saute your onions and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes before adding other ingredients.

However, since this is Google, you should just follow their schema markup guidelines if you want to maintain your high ranking on their search results pages.

Why Does It Matter?

We bet that most of your recipe content has time ranges, since you most likely create some breathing room for each of your reader’s time preferences.

However, Google’s omission of time ranges should signal your team to update each piece of your content. This is to help Google maintain the display of your content in rich results and even rank you high up in their search results pages.

Not following these updated guidelines will most likely result in penalization and even error reports on your search results. This may not happen instantly, but as is the case with other updates, it is better to adapt to these changes as early as possible to defend yourself from getting penalized.

If the goal of your recipe content is to reach as many people as possible, then modifying your structured data from having time ranges to a specific value instead is essential to:

  • Increase your website traffic
  • Drive conversions up
  • Invite more clickthroughs to your website

Update your schema markup now to ensure that Google prioritizes your content and you can maximize all of Google’s enhanced search results capabilities.

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