Say Goodbye to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, and Hello to the Alternatives

On July 7th, 2020, Google announced their Rich Results testing tool was out of beta. This exciting news was quickly tempered by the statement that they would be retiring their Structured Data testing tool. We were, in a word, devastated. And we weren’t the only ones

Here at Schema App, we know that structured data is about more than just rich result eligibility. We’ve always been big fans of the Structured Data testing Tool, and even have it embedded in our validation process. So, where do we go now? Fortunately, you’ve got options. We’ve taken the time to break down what they are and the pros and cons of each, so you can get back to validating your markup on your own terms.

Our main criteria are as follows:

  • Does the tool validate rich results and schema.org?
  • Does it render markup from dynamic JavaScript?
  • Is the interface user-friendly?
1. Rich Results Testing Tool — Google

An image of Google's Rich Results testing tool

Did you ever use the structured data testing tool only to see errors in your markup that didn’t reflect what you were seeing in Google Search Console? The Rich Results testing tool (RRTT) validations reflect Google’s documentation, and enhancement reports within Google Search Console.

The RRTT supports all rich result features and frequently adds new ones, such as Special Announcement (May 5th) and Article (August 10th). Plus, the tool lists all the rich results one page may be eligible for. In some instances, you can see a preview of how your rich result could appear in the SERP.

It does take more clicks to find error and warning messages, and these messages tend to be more generic. And, if you’re creating markup using the Service or CollectionPage type—tough luck validating their syntax! Google’s Rich Results testing tool only validates schema.org types that are eligible for rich results in search. If you’re using types that aren’t eligible for rich results, you can view the “raw” JSON-LD, to ensure it’s being crawled, but that’s it.

Pros:

  • Validates all Rich Results 
  • Rich result previews for some types
  • Up-to-date with Google’s documentation
  • Free

Cons:

  • Doesn’t validate all schema.org types
  • More clicks to find errors
  • More generic errors
2. Schema App Analyzer — Schema App

An image of the Schema App Analyzer

The Schema App Analyzer validates markup site-wide, for up to 10K pages. Run the Analyzer on any site and it will discover JSON-LD, RDFa and microdata, even when loaded dynamically. Once the site has been crawled, the Analyzer provides a comprehensive health report in the form of a data visualization, and a list of Items Analyzed by Type. Clicking “Show Details” for a specific item presents a list of each URL containing that item, and a breakdown of any errors or warnings.

Since this tool validates schema.org syntax, it follows more stringent rules. These can guide your schema markup beyond just the requirements of Google features. 

The Schema App Analyzer identifies markup that Google won’t be able to read as a result of site speed issues. If you see errors or warnings about “missing” properties that definitely exist on your page, you should investigate site speed to make sure all your markup is visible to search engine crawlers. 

Ultimately, this tool provides a micro and macro view of the overall health of your markup, pointing out what should be revisited for enhanced performance. 

The Analyzer is available to all Schema App subscribers from Pro through to Enterprise.

Note: Be on the lookout for imminent changes to the Analyzer, as we are readying reports to provide new ways of understanding your Schema Markup:

  • Schema Markup by Type
  • Schema Markup by Error / Warning
  • Schema Markup by Page Path
  • Schema Markup by Google Feature

Moreover, an updated user flow and a historical view of your data will show how your markup is trending over time.

Pros:

  • Validates Rich Results and schema.org types
  • Site-wide validation
  • Visualization
  • Included in Schema App subscription

Cons:

  • Adheres to strict Schema.org syntax
  • Site-wide rather than page-specific validation
3. Structured Data LinterStéphane Corlosquet and Gregg Kellogg

An image of the Structured Data Linter

The Structured Data Linter was created as part of a larger Structured Data initiative, driven by the philosophy that “Using structured data technologies…makes everybody’s life easier”. Not only does this open access tool understand microdata, JSON-LD and RDFa formats, it’s capable of validating schema.org (among other controlled vocabularies like FOAF and SKOS), and will provide warnings and hints if your markup is not valid.

This tool is only able to validate “raw structured data extracted from the page”. So, those of you using JavaScript to implement schema markup at scale won’t be able to see your markup in the tool at all.  It does provide an “enhanced search result preview” allowing you to see how a page may be rendered in the SERP. While it doesn’t validate against Google’s requirements for rich result eligibility, it provides a solid assessment of your markup syntax as a whole.

Pros:

  • Validates schema.org and other controlled vocabularies
  • Open source project (Free and unencumbered public domain software) 
  • Provides Programmatic Interface to validate
  • Enhanced search result preview

Cons:

  • Doesn’t render JavaScript
  • Doesn’t validate Rich Results
  • Limited hosting resources (no HTTPS)
4. Yandex structured data validator — Yandex

An image of the Yandex Structured Data Validator

Yandex—one of the initial four contributors to the schema.org vocabulary—has their own validator capable of assessing microdata, schema.org, microformats, OpenGraph, and RDFa. Markup is rendered in a format that makes nested relationships easy to see. However, they do note that “special snippets and the use of marked-up data in services are not checked for all formats”.

This tool also doesn’t appear to render JavaScript that loads after the page source. You can still validate this markup by testing the HTML code; however, there is a character limit, so depending on the size of the page, you may receive a “Request too big” message. You’ll also notice that, even when you have selected the English option, the embedded error messages are only available in Russian.

Pros:

  • Validates schema.org
  • Free with login

Cons:

  • Doesn’t validate Rich Results
  • Error messages in Russian
  • Doesn’t render JavaScript
5. Schema.dev Structured Data Testing tool — SEO Clarity

And image of the Schema.dev Structured Data Testing tool

Another new tool created specifically to fill the gap left by the structured data testing tool. The interface reflects the SDTT almost exactly, so it’s an easy transition from the original. It validates both rich results and schema.org syntax, with error and warning messages that are both easy to find, and easy to understand. That being said, it requires copy-and-pasting your JSON-LD into the tool before validating, so it’s not as easy as popping a URL into the SDTT. It’s also worth noting this tool only validates JSON-LD, and not other metadata formats.

Pros:

  • Validates Rich Results and schema.org types
  • Test in pre-production and production environments
  • Similar interface to SDTT
  • Free

Cons:

  • JSON-LD must be pasted in
  • Only validates JSON-LD
6. Ryte structured data helper — Ryte

An image of the Ryte Structured Data Helper

This new tool, from Ryte, is a Chrome extension that validates rich results and recognizes and renders other schema.org types. Markup is nicely nested, and errors and warnings are easy to understand. It allows you to test your markup in your browser without leaving the live page. If your markup is extensive, it can be difficult to navigate through all the elements, since the information is presented in a much smaller window than the SDTT. In our testing, we found the tool worked for basic JavaScript but didn’t recognize more advanced scripts. So, if your markup is loaded dynamically, this tool may not see it

Pros:

  • Validates Rich Results and schema.org types
  • Validates on live page
  • Free

Cons:

  • Small interface
  • Doesn’t render all JavaScript

To recap, here’s our overall assessment of how the tools stack up against our most integral criteria:

Validates rich results Validates schema.org Renders JavaScript Friendly
UI
Coolest feature

Google RRTT

Rich result preview

SchemaApp Analyzer

Site-wide health overview

SD Linter

Search result preview

Yandex SD Validator

Schema.dev SDTT

Familiar interface

Ryte SD Helper

Chrome extension

Obviously with such a big change, there’s been a lot of feedback from structured data users. The good news is that Google’s own John Mueller has stated that feedback is welcome and will be taken into consideration. We’re all doing our best to look at this as an exciting opportunity to further enhance existing tools, or even create new ones. But we can’t help but echo Izzi Smith’s sentiment in saying goodbye: Hey, Google! We’re not mad, just disappointed.

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