HowTo structured data helps your website reach the right users for your contents.

HowTo structured data helps your posts be eligible for inclusion as rich text result on Search if it is properly marked up. HowTo structured data can gives your website and edge to reach the right kind of users for your contents.

Here is what google developers say about howTo structured data and how it affects search results display for your contents.

NOTE: Adding HowTo structured data to your page can automatically generate a How-to Action for smart displays. If you’d like to provide your users with the best visual experience on these devices, including the images specified in the markup, fill out the interest form.

Because a lot of people today uses smart devices, this information becomes really important. Take a look at this data:

The vast majority of Americans – 96% – now own a cellphone of some kind. The share of Americans that own smartphones is now 81%, up from just 35% in Pew Research Center’s first survey of smartphone ownership conducted in 2011.


Taking this into account, it is logical to have your ecommerce website able to provide Google with the correct structured data and schema for their content. make it eligible for inclusion as rich snippets display in smart devices search results.

How will my content display in smart devices if it is eligible for howTo structured data rich results in search?

Here are some examples of how your content may appear in Howto rich results. The display varies from content to content. For example, if you have images in your Howto steps, it will also affect how the Howto is displayed. But the important thing to note here is to make sure to add as many required and recommended properties as possible so your howTo structured data can be most effectively represented in Google Search.

rich result
FAQ rich result

If you noticed search results display like the one above, the content most probably have howTo structured data schema. howTo structured data is a cool way to have your content displayed by Google. But HowTo cannot be implement on all contents. There are rules that must be followed in order for the content to be considered eligible for rich result display.

WARNING: Google penalizes websites that implements structured data schema types to content that are not to be categorized in that schema types! Example, a recipe content having a howTo schema, etc.

Is howTo structured data right for your kind of content?

Let’s take a look at the rules for implementing how-to structured data. The content guidelines below are taken from the Google developers page and broken one by one to make it more understandable to average readers.

  1. Absolutely No Advertising in HowTos: Don’t use HowTo structured data for advertising purposes on your website. This gives Google the reason to rank your content lowest as a penalty.
  2. No un-wholesome Contents: How-to rich results may not be displayed if the content is obscene, profane, sexually explicit, or graphically violent; or if it promotes dangerous or illegal activities or has hateful or harassing language.
  3. No double HowTo on a page : All HowTo content must be visible to the user on the source page. The how-to should be the main focus of the source page. Don’t include more than one HowTo for a certain page.
  4. Task Related Materials and Tools could be included: Add structured data to all materials and tools necessary to complete the task.
  5. Each HowTo Step must include the entire contents of the source step.
  6. Summary and introduction should not be included in the how-to mark up. Don’t mark up non-step data such as a summary or introduction section as a step.
  7. Do not use images that does not reflect your HowTo: If the steps are best represented visually, ensure the images in these steps are marked up for each HowTo step. Only mark up the instructional step images that are specific for each step and don’t use the same image in multiple steps for the same how-to. Use the same images that correspond to the content on your page. Don’t use images that don’t reflect the how-to content, or use different images to optimize the rich-result.
  8. The use of Final image: If the end result can be accurately described by an image, ensure this image is present on the page, and your HowTo markup includes it using the image property. This image may be the same as the one marked up for the last step.
  9. Do not use HowTo structured data for recipes. You recipes content should use the Recipe structured data instead. Articles and general advice content that is not a specific set of instructions are not appropriate for HowTo markup.

What are the Required Properties that must be included in HowTo Structured data type?

You must include the following required properties for your content to be eligible for display as a rich result. You can also include the recommended properties to add more information to your structured data, which could provide a better user experience.

Here are the 7 HowTo structured data and schema content types: HowTo, HowToSupply, HowToTool, HowToStep, HowToSection, HowToDirection, HowToTip with their required and recommended properties.

HowTo schema type have the following properties: name, step.

schema properties

The following image shows the recommended properties and their definition: description, estimatedCost, image, supply, tool, totalTime, video.

schema properties definition

The HowToSection have the required properties: itemListElement, name.

Schema Itemlist and name

In the HowToStep have the required properties: itemListElement, text.

Itemlist element

Recommended properties for HowToStep are the name, image, url, video.

NOTE: Include only instructional text and don’t include other text such as “Directions”, “Watch the video”, “Step 1” in the markup property. Specify those phrases outside of the marked up property.

Check out the image below to see how it is done:Recommended and not recommended

The HowToSupply and HowToTool only have the following required properties: name, image. 

required and recommended properties

NOTE: The HowToSupply and HowToTool are used to complete the HowTo structured data schema.

The HowToDirection, HowToTip have the following properties:

HowTo structured data can help your website reach the right kind of users for your HowTo contents. Take advantage of this available tool for your website.

Let me know what you think about this post? Is there other things that might have been missed in the information? Don’t hesitate to let me know using the comment section below.

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