Another Google bug: Invalid value type for field “availability”

In the first few months of 2019 Google released a bunch of new reports for Search Console for structured data.

Along with the new reports come various new bugs.

Bugs in Search Console are nothing new, I’ve discovered and written about several of them over the years.

With the new Search Console though, you can’t easily ignore the bugs. Search Console is now emailing website owners to tell them their website is wrong… even though it’s actually Search Console is wrong.

A recent one is the Availability field bug which shows up with this error message.

Invalid value type for field "availability"

From my research, it looks like Search Console has mixed up an outdated invalid value (http://schema.org/InStock) and the valid value (https://schema.org/InStock).

JSON-LD for SEO, Google Search, Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, Schema.org, and Google’s documentation all use the secure url (https://schema.org/InStock).

Search Console incorrectly wants the insecure version (http://schema.org/InStock) which is outdated. Even going to that url in a browser will redirect you to the secure url.

This could be a simple coding error where someone mixed up the two values. Happens all the time.

Or it could be more serious and Search Console coded an older, outdated specification of structured data. Effectively circa 2016 or 2017’s spec.

Hopefully it’s the first and Google can dedicate an engineer to fix it, especially given the range of impact.

Given my small reach and how frequently it’s shown up there, I’d bet this bug is showing up on thousands of ecommerce sites, maybe even millions by now. Even one of the WooCommerce developers has commented on the bug.

But until it’s fixed, Search Console is going to continue to cause panic by sending out emails with incorrect advice.

Hopefully stores won’t follow that advice because in the end, you need to follow Google Search’s structured data spec and not Search Console’s. Changing your availability to what Search Console recommends is putting your Rich Results at risk.

This is why it’s important to have someone trusted watching over your structured data. Falling behind is easy and risky for your SEO.

If you want a modern and up-to-date set of structured data for your store, JSON-LD for SEO is used by thousands of Shopify stores since 2015. It’s the safe choice for structured data on Shopify.

Eric Davis

Get more organic search traffic for your Shopify store

JSON-LD for SEO icon

Increase organic SEO traffic through Google's Rich Results. One click allows search engines and others to understand your store and products.

Install JSON-LD for SEO