Slaying Phantom Properties

Modified on Thu, 08 Jul 2021 at 01:15 PM

I don’t always get things right the first time. Since I’ve been using Schema App that hasn’t changed. This time something interesting happened.

There I was happily marking up a web page for a client when I realized – of course – I had selected a Type that wasn’t completely accurate. So I edited the data item, changed the Type, and hit save. Easy fix right? Kinda…

Phantom Properties

Schema App uses a really smart editor that helps save you time by being a Schema-Pro so that you don’t have to be. When you create a data item you’re asked what kind of Thing it is. Such as a Local Business, Place, Product, etc. The editor will help guide you on what input to enter by showing properties that are relevant to the Type of the data item you just created. That way you can do schema markup properly and super fast.

Back to my mistake. When I changed the data item Type the editor changed the requirements and recommendations. Of course, right? When you change the Type or Class you also change the relevant properties.

So what happened to the work I did? I had input data that is no longer relevant. I had created a phantom Properties.

The Error

This often happens to me. I fixed a mistake but created an error.

There are now a number of properties that are no longer recommended in the editor screen but are applying themselves to my markup. I didn’t know how to delete them and more importantly, I wondered how they would affect my markup. After talking with people much smarter than me on our Development Team I have the answers.

The schema markup would tell Google what the Type or Class is and then it would look for the relevant properties. It stands to reason that when indexing a web page with phantom properties Google would most likely ignore the irrelevant data. So when I use the Structured Data Testing Tool I’m just left with errors in my JSON-LD but none of them are fatal.

The Fix

Ok, the errors can be ignored and it won’t really affect anything. But if you’re like me you hate errors. They’re ugly and personally, I want them gone. If you run into this situation yourself there is now a list of phantom Properties for you to review and delete. No more phantom properties. No more errors.

Adopting a Phantom Property

Take note: while some phantoms are scary… if there is one that you’re not afraid of then you probably want to create a multi-type entity. It is perfectly fine to indicate that your data item is of more than one Type. Within the editor, navigate to the Type field at the bottom of the form builder. Use the + button to launch another input field and add your second Type. Click Save and then edit the data item again. Now the editor will list properties for both Types.

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