Google Announces: Forum & Profile Structured Data


HD Community Advisor
Staff member
This is pretty big news for the day.

Google has announced that forums can now add structured markup to both the forum discussion pages and the user's profiles so that Google can better track a user across the web. Essentially, it will help boost the Author's profile with first-hand experience and can provide a clear indication of first-hand expert knowledge on something.

Here's a link to how it all works -

Unlike other markup, Google recommends adding this as Microdata (RDFa). This will actually be much easier to implement for those people waiting on forum software to update with the new code. It allows you to get a jump start TODAY rather than in a few weeks. While Microdata is suggested, JSON-LD is still supported.

All this is great news, but I can also see some of the potentially bad side of things;
  • An influx of new spam as SEOs and others try to boost Author rank
  • Lots of new posts, all being the same
  • People faking who they are and what company they work for in order to perform a version of a Negative SEO attack
While the markup is not necessarily attributed to a company but to an author, if you can build enough BAD reputation or knowledge as an author on various forms, you could potentially influence the reputation of an author.

Either way, if you run a forum (hint hint @Artashes ), you'll want to jump on the implementation sooner rather than later. You may even get some of those coveted Rich Text snippets with regard to topics in search.
The benefits and cons are unknown at the moment as it was just released. One big advantage that HD has over other places is that posts are indexed quickly! Google indexes posts here usually within an hour or two, so the impact should be seen within a few hours I'd say.

It's just so new there's no knowing how far the impact is, other than Google programmed a whole section for forums and have modified their results pages to showcase the info. Unless they rip it all back out again, I don't see a downside to implementing it. More exposure in a different way.
@bigredseo There has been many conversations (at least within XenForo community) about this. One such conversation was started by a Google employee back in March 2023.

Users that experimented a bit too early faced a few errors. The good news, however, is that XF developers have been working on an organic implementation that they promise to include in 2.2.14 update due to release soon. đź‘Ť