Google recently added Science Datasets to its structured data options for search.

Science Datasets are defined by Google as “specialized repositories for datasets in many scientific domains: life sciences, earth sciences, material sciences and more,” as well as geographic, civic and government data.

Prior to this announcement, datasets on scientific domains were largely unavailable to search engines, which were forced to extract content from HTML pages in order to make it available in Search.

With this new schema markup, scientific domains can now provide descriptions of their datasets to Google, so publication and real-world data can be better-indexed and readily available whenever a data-oriented search takes place!

You won’t find it in search engine results pages (SERPs) quite yet; the schema is still in beta and has yet to be rolled out in Google Search:

Dataset markup is available for you to experiment with before it’s released to general availability. When you implement the markup, you’ll see previews in the Structured Data Testing Tool. You won’t, however, see your datasets appear in Search.

What Datasets Qualify For This Markup?

Google offers an extremely broad view of what qualifies as a dataset:

  • A table or a CSV file with some data
  • A file in a proprietary format that contains data
  • A collection of files that together constitute some meaningful dataset
  • A structured object with data in some other format that you might want to load into a special tool for processing
  • Images capturing the data
  • Anything else that looks like a dataset to you

Science Dataset Markup Benefits

The most obvious benefit is that schema-optimized scientific data will actually begin to appear in search engine results—in the near future. This in turn will improve ‘data discovery, leading scientists to the information they need for their work’.

Since schema is a shared markup vocabulary recognized by numerous search engines, schema-optimized scientific content could also appear in SERPs for other search engines besides Google.

Enhanced visibility for your content via rich snippets could also result in higher click-through rates, greater engagement with your site’s content and better visibility for your publications and scientific data.

Finally, there are some indications that Google may add structured data markup as a ranking factor in the future.

In short: If you have a science-based website with databases, datasets, infographics, charts and things of that nature, you should definitely consider this new opportunity for improved SEO visibility.

Drop us a line if you have questions, or would like support in adding this schema markup to your site!