What to Baseline and How to Measure Results
So you figured out how to add schema.org to your website, and now you are wondering if it is working and the value it is contributing to your search engine optimization. We get this question a LOT and thought we would share the best practice we have developed over the years on how to verify if the work you did with structured data is working for you and delivering value.
- Before you start, baseline your traffic. Check to see how you’re performing before you setup schema markup. Google may discover your schema markup quickly (as little as 1 day) so you’ll want to baseline your traffic before you implement.
- Build your list of pages or sample of pages that you plan to markup. Using this list check for the following
- Search rank position (e.g. Google Search Console, Bright Local, SEMRush, etc)
- Traffic (e.g. Google Search Console, Google Analytics).
- Clickthrough rate % (e.g. Google Search Console), better content matching to queries can lead to a higher CTR as can search features like rich snippets.
- Bounce rate (e.g. Google Analytics), semantic search provides Google with more precise information to better match user searches so that can lead a decrease in bounce rate. Below is a sample report using Semantic Analytics to show the difference between pages optimized and those that are not optimized. Alternatively you can just compare the before and after dates.
- Time on Page, this is something that you will want to baseline. We see time on page increase after schema markup is added as a result of better matching between searchers and content.
- Search Features, there are a couple tools (SEMRush, Rankranger, Moz) that will monitor your pages search features (rich snippets, answer box, knowledge graph, etc). Below is an example report from Moz. This will also show competitors if they appear in results for keywords.
- Implement your schema.org markup and do an Initial Spot Check to ensure Google can see your schema markup. Go to the Structured Data Testing Tool and enter the URL for one of the pages you have optimized. If the integration is working, then you will see data items discovered for your page. If you see data items your integration is working.
- Google Search Console. After 3 – 5 days, your markup should have been discovered by Google Robots. If so, go to Google Search Console (if you don’t have this setup, set it up!) you will see markup discovered under Search Appearance → Structured Data
- If you’re expecting rich snippets, you can do some manual checking at this point. Search for the name of your products, services, business, etc on Google using an Incognito window. If you’re having trouble revealing the search result try Google’s search site operator to narrow your results by adding ‘site:www.yourdomain.com‘ to your search string.
- Within one week you will have some data to begin comparing your current, after markup content, with your baseline. Remember to check all the datapoints of interest – organic traffic, clickthrough rate, time on page and bounce rate.
- Google’s crawler doesn’t recrawl your entire website immediately, therefore over several weeks you will see your total Google Search Console Structured Data Items increase. Therefore, you want to check back after 2, 4, 6 weeks. By 6 weeks you should have a comprehensive set of data to measure your success.
- Schema App’s Semantic Analytics provides deeper insights on traffic patterns. Find out which content, authors, are products are outperforming based on your specific attributes. For eCommerce and Content marketing sites, Schema App can provide you with custom analytics reports that provide you with key insights: such as Report by Content Author, Topics, or Report by Product Price, Brand, etc. You can also use Semantic analytics to look at how pages with schema markup are performing against pages without the Schema Markup.