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Testing the Impact of Schema Markup for SEO

Posted on June 27, 2024 by Ruth Everett

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For this week's #SPQuiz, we’re doing a deep dive into Schema Markup, how it can impact SEO and ways that we can test the impact of our schema changes. We asked our followers on LinkedIn and X whether they tested the impact of their schema markup changes. After aggregating the results from X and LinkedIn, we were surprised to see that 71% of our followers don't currently test the impact of the changes that they make when it comes to structured data. 

Poll Results:

Poll Results

What is schema markup?

Schema markup, also known as structured data, is a type of microdata that enhances the understanding of web content for search engines. By adding schema markup to a website, it can create more informative search results, which are often displayed as rich snippets and can significantly improve a website’s visibility. Google is a strong advocate of schema markup and provides detailed guidelines and tools to help SEOs implement and validate structured data effectively.

The primary purpose of schema markup is to help search engines better understand the content of web pages. By providing additional context and meaning to content, schema markup enables search engines to present more informative and relevant search results to users.

Another benefit of using schema markup is the ability to achieve enhanced search results through rich snippets, which can lead to increased visibility and improved click-through rates.


Types of schema markup


Schema markup can be implemented in several formats, each with its unique approach to embedding structured data into web pages. The main formats include JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa.


Among these formats, JSON-LD is the most commonly recommended and preferred format. Google explicitly encourages the use of JSON-LD due to its simplicity and non-intrusive nature, which helps keep HTML clean and organized.


What does Google say about schema markup? 

Google’s documentation on structured data highlights the benefits of schema markup for both search engines and users. According to Google, structured data helps their algorithms better understand the content of web pages, leading to richer and more informative search results.

The key points from Google’s structured markup guidelines include:

  • Ensure the structured data added is relevant to the content on the page. Misleading or irrelevant markup can result in manual actions or penalties. 
  • Markup should also be accurate and up-to-date to ensure that misinformation is not shared.
  • Regularly testing and validating structured data is recommended to ensure it meets guidelines and any changes that Google may introduce. 

Tools for validating schema

There are a couple of tools available to test and validate structured data

Rich Results Test:
This tool allows you to test your structured data and see which rich results can be generated by it. You can enter a URL or code snippet to check for errors and preview how your rich snippets will appear in search results.

Google Search Console:
Google Search Console provides detailed reports on the structured data found on your site. It can alert you to any issues and help you monitor the performance of your rich results.

Schema Markup Validator:

Unlike the Rich Results Test which will only display markup that will generate rich results, this tool allows you to validate all structured data, without Google feature specific warnings.

The impact of schema markup on SEO

Enhanced Search Visibility

Schema markup enhances search visibility by enabling rich snippets and other advanced search features. For example, a product page with proper schema markup can display price, availability, and review ratings directly in the search results, making it stand out from other listings. Additionally, structured data helps content appear in knowledge graphs, which provide authoritative information and increase your website’s visibility.

Improved Click-Through Rates (CTR)

Rich snippets generated from schema markup can lead to improved CTR. When users see additional information like ratings or event dates in search results, they are more likely to click on those results. 

Increased Organic Traffic

While schema markup itself is not a direct ranking factor, the improved CTR and user engagement from rich snippets can lead to higher rankings over time. Sites that use schema markup often experience increased organic traffic as their enhanced search results attract more clicks. 

Remaining competitive 

Incorporating schema markup into an SEO strategy ensures that websites remain competitive as search engines evolve. Google and other search engines increasingly rely on structured data to better understand web content and deliver more relevant search results. Using schema markup helps to future-proof websites against changes in search algorithms and new search features.

10 ways to test schema markup for SEO

1. Article Schema

Article schema helps search engines understand the content of news articles or blog posts, potentially leading to enhanced listings with author details, publication dates, and a useful snippet.  This can help increase visibility and CTR for articles, leading to higher engagement and potentially better rankings.

2. Product Schema

Adding product schema to your e-commerce pages can provide users with detailed product information, such as prices, availability, and reviews, directly in search results. This enhances the appearance of your listings, builds trust, and encourages purchases. 

3. Review Schema Markup

Review schema adds star ratings and reviews to search results, enhancing the appearance and trustworthiness of your listings. This can lead to a higher CTR as users are drawn to ratings and reviews. There is also the potential for improvement in rankings due to increased engagement.

4. Organization Schema

Organization schema provides information about an organization, such as logo, contact information, and social profiles. This can enhance your brand’s presence in search results and improve user trust, an important ranking factor.

5. Local Business Schema Markup

Local business schema provides detailed information about your business, such as address, phone number, and operating hours. This markup can help improve visibility in local search results and potentially higher foot traffic to the physical location.

6. Breadcrumb Schema Markup

Breadcrumb schema enhances navigation by displaying the path of the user’s location on the site in search results. This can help improve user experience and potentially higher CTR as users can easily understand the website's structure.

Another way to test breadcrumb markup is by removing it from certain pages, especially if you have well-structured URLs. This is worth testing to identify whether the breadcrumb markup improves visibility and click-through rates or if the URL structure alone is sufficient. 

By conducting this test, you can determine the effectiveness of breadcrumb schema in improving search results and user engagement, and decide whether to allocate resources towards its implementation across your site.

7. Event Schema Markup

Event schema provides detailed information about events, such as dates, locations, and ticket availability. The impact of this on organic traffic can be increased visibility for event-related searches, which can also lead to higher attendance rates.

8. Recipe Schema Markup

Recipe schema provides detailed information about recipes, such as ingredients, cooking times, and nutritional information. This can lead to enhanced search results for recipe queries, leading to higher CTR and engagement.

9. Video Schema

Video schema helps search engines understand the content of videos, potentially leading to rich snippets that display video thumbnails, duration, and other details in search results. This can increase CTR and engagement, particularly for video content.

10. Schema enhancements 

You can also enhance existing schema markup on your site to provide more detailed information and improve SEO performance. Testing these enhancements helps determine their effectiveness and the resources needed for broader implementation across the website.

Product Schema Enhancements:
  • Offers: Adding offers schema provides more detailed information about the availability and price of the product, including potential discounts, which can make the product listing more attractive in search results.
  • Product Variants: Adding product variant schema allows you to specify different variants of a product, such as color and size which provides a richer product description and can also help with improving user experience.
  • Pros and Cons: Pros and cons schema allows you to provide detailed structured data about the advantages and disadvantages of a product, service, or other entity. This can enhance search results by displaying pros and cons directly in the SERP snippet, helping users make informed decisions, and can increase click-through rates.
Article Schema Enhancements:
  • Author Information: Adding author schema to already present article schema helps to enhance the credibility and visibility of articles by providing detailed information about the author, such as their name, affiliation, and social profiles. This is also an important element to build trustworthiness, which is an important factor for ranking pages.
Organization Schema Enhancements:
  • Contact Points: Adding contact point schema to organization schema provides detailed contact information, enhancing the overall trustworthiness of the site.

By testing these schema enhancements, you can measure their impact on search visibility, user engagement, and trustworthiness, ensuring that resources are allocated effectively for site-wide implementation.

SEO test case study examples

We have conducted several schema markup tests with varying results, highlighting the importance of testing these changes to ensure that there is no unintentional negative impact on organic traffic. This approach also provides the necessary data to build a business case for site-wide implementation.

Changing Microdata to JSON-ld

Although Google prefers JSON-LD, we wanted to determine if this preference translates to improved organic traffic. We tested this on a customer’s website, which had various types of schema implemented with microdata, including breadcrumb, review, and offer schema. Overall, the results showed no detectable impact from this change.

Adding an additional question to FAQ Markup 

In this case study, an e-commerce customer added an extra question to their FAQ content and tested its impact by updating their FAQ markup. They anticipated a boost in organic click-through rates and an increase in rankings for brand-related search queries. This test did produce a significantly positive impact, with a 9% uplift in organic traffic.

Adding dateModified schema 

A customer aimed to enhance freshness signals by adding a dateModified attribute to the structured data on landing pages for each physical store. They believed this could influence rankings by indicating to Google that the page is updated regularly. However, the test was inconclusive for increasing organic traffic.

How our SEO split tests work

The most important thing to know is that our case studies are based on controlled experiments with control and variant pages:

  • By detecting changes in performance of the variant pages compared to the control, we know that the measured effect was not caused by seasonality, sitewide changes, Google algorithm updates, competitor changes, or any other external impact.
  • The statistical analysis compares the actual outcome to a forecast, and comes with a confidence interval so we know how certain we are the effect is real.
  • We measure the impact on organic traffic in order to capture changes to rankings and/or changes to clickthrough rate (more here).

Read more about how SEO A/B testing works or get a demo of the SearchPilot platform.

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