Google Explains Why Sites Should Combine Structured Data

Google’s Lizzi Sassman answered a question in a Google SEO Office session about whether it’s a good idea to combine different types of structured data.

The answer highlighted an important point about how Google interprets structured data and whether it is better to combine structured data or separate the two.

The combination of multiple structured data is called nesting.

What is nesting?

Structured data is primarily about higher-level data types (called types) and the attributes of those types (called properties).

It’s kind of like with HTML where the main HTML building blocks of a web page are called elements and each element has properties that you modify called “attributes”.

The HTML of the webpage begins by indicating that it is an HTML webpage like this:


Similarly, the structured data text begins by saying what the main structured data of the web page is.

The structured data of the recipe on the web page that is about the recipe looks like this:

<script type="application/ld+json">
"@context": "",
"@type": "Recipe",

Overlapping is the addition of other types of structured data within the main structured data.

So, if the page is about reviews, the main structured data should start like this:

<script type="application/ld+json">
"@context": "",
"@type": "Review",

But what about when the page is about a recipe and has a review?

Are you creating a structured data script?

Or do you combine both types of structured data?

Lizzie Sussman says there is a right and wrong way to do this.

Is combining structured data allowed?

Structured data follows a logical set of rules. Once you learn the rules, structured data becomes easier to understand.

This question is about the organization of structured data and how that affects how Google interprets it.

This is the question that was asked:

“Is it allowed to add one structured data inside another type of structure data? For example, adding structured data in a questions circle within a Q&A structured data.”

Lizzie Sussman replied:

Yes. Nesting your structure data can help us understand what the main focus of the page is.

For example, if you put a recipe and its review at the same level, it wouldn’t be as obvious as telling us that the page is a recipe with a nested review.

This means that the primary purpose of the page will be a recipe and a review is a smaller component of that.

As a tip, always check the documentation for the specific feature to see if there are more notes on combining different structure data types.

Currently, the supported carousel features are Course, Movie, Recipe, and Restaurant.”

Structured data tells Google what a page is

This is really interesting because what Lizzi says is that structured data helps Google understand what a web page is about.

But if you have two separate texts of structured data on the same webpage, it makes it difficult for Google to understand what the “focus” of the webpage is.

It’s best to combine them, she advises, so that the first part states what the webpage is about.

So if the webpage is about recipes, the structured data should start like this:

<script type="application/ld+json">
"@context": "",
"@type": "Recipe",

Google Search Center documentation on JSON-LD Structured Data discusses nesting:

JSON-LD* (recommended)

JavaScript notation embedded in a tag

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