Google Offers Guidelines on Structured Data for Course Publishers

Google isn’t shy about offering guidance on AMP or structured data for certain types of content and has recently invited course publishers to the party

Online courses are a big business model for many publishers, so it’s no stretch to say that the announcement last week from Google about course structured data is a pretty big deal. We’ve talked with many publishers who are wondering where structured data fits in with their specific type of content, so it’s nice to have Google clearing the path for digital course publishers.


Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz reports, “Google has announced they have added two new flavors of rich cards for their search results, local restaurant and online courses. You can see these richer search results by searching for [best New Orleans restaurants] and [leadership courses], for example. These rich cards are contain a new user interface.” Google describes them as “carousels that are easy to browse by scrolling left and right, or a vertical three-pack that displays more individual courses.”

google structured data course cards


On November 18th, Search Engine Roundtable reported that “Google has completely revamped the documentation for article structured data in their developer section. It is really a complete rewrite, specifically to call out the differences between article markup for AMP pages versus article markup for normal HTML pages.” This is part of that rewrite.

When a publisher has a course content business model, they may create a single course or collection of lessons or activities that the user can mix and match to create his or her own course. However, the publishing frequency, unlike a magazine, could be relatively low.

Every successful publisher we know launched their digital existence with at least two content models. One is a portal content business model, and the other is usually a magazine content business model. However, most publishers we work with have several other content models, including digital online courses.

The course business model is so profitable that everyone is getting into it. In April 2015, LinkedIn bought for $1.5 billion and this September they launched LinkedIn Learning, a subscription website for online skills training. This course business model that they stepped into is an entirely new revenue stream for them, and a new product for their 450 million members.

LinkedIn Learning launched with over 9,000+ digital courses “taught by industry experts and cover a wide range of business, creative and technical topics, from leadership “soft skills” to design principles to programming,” according to LinkedIn’s official announcement, and they’re launching 25 new courses per week.

Lynda is already set up for Google’s course structured data, so they’re a good example to look at if you’re wondering how yours should look in search engines when you’ve followed Google’s guidelines.


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