By Erik Newton, VP of Marketing at Milestone Inc.
More than half of sites Milestone tested showed some schema markup. But as you talk to SEOs and read on the internet, people are not certain they can detect an impact. There are two causes for this: one, the schemas were not marked up correctly and two, the results are there but the person does not know how to track and report the schema impact.
Milestone has been solving this reporting problem for more than 5 years and can offer these tips on how to track and measure schema markup.
- Baseline your SEO performance in GSC or SEO reporting tool.
- Implement your phase 1 schemas as an experiment by taking 100 pages and add markup to 50 and keeping a matching set of 50 unaffected. Note the rank, impressions, CTR, and traffic of each page by exporting a report from GSC to Excel.
- Make sure that the updated pages get crawled and reindexed.
- Wait about 4-8 weeks.
- Check the performance in GSC.
What metrics should you evaluate to measure schema impact?
- Increase in enhanced search results of the affected group and unaffected group of pages. If you select a group from this list, you can see a trended bar chart. Below that you can see if the urls you worked on are showing this enhanced result in the SERPs.
If you filter correctly to your page set in GSC, this performance report will show you trended data and you can compare to the year prior period.
- Change in rank
- Change in impressions
- Change in CTR
- Change in clicks or visits
Additional you can use the Search Appearance filter to check the trend of a certain rich result type across all pages. Schemas were deployed in mid-August and you can see a jump in impressions and clicks in early September.
This e-commerce site saw a jump in how-to rich results after deploying schemas.
This e-commerce site saw a huge jump in FAQ rich results after deploying schemas. Note the very significant amount of clicks. With charts like the one below, you can see the schemas lifted the rich results from zero to hundreds of clicks per day.
Here is an ecommerce retailer showing dramatic improvement in product rich results impressions and clicks. The dotted line is prior year, which was flat to down in the comparable period YoY.
Here is the same ecommerce retailer as above with overall SEO clicks down 11% and Product rich results up 113%, which is an indexed net difference of 127%.
Why do you check the Enhancements results schema impact first?
You want to understand if the schemas have impacted visibility. Where these results are newly showing indicates schema impact because structured data/schemas are usually required to attain them. Further, if the unaffected pages are not showing up, then you can prove the causation of the schema impact.
Do you need to detrend the data for sitewide lift or drop to understand the schema impact?
No, not if you do an A/B split test because it provides you a clean control that fluctuates with the site and seasonality. If you do not have a clean control group, you can detrend the data by dividing the % lift of the schema affected pages by the lift of the direct channel. If that number is over 1, then the structured data is correlating with improved results. The distance or % above 1 is the detrended net lift.
Why do most non-Milestone customers not see schema lift results?
The process described above is fairly difficult from choosing schema types to deploying the schema markup, and the experiment structure and tracking are a challenge for most. Mistakes and omissions will usually cause eliminate the chance for enhanced results and exposure. Reporting is tricky because it baselining is difficult. Milestone can help you do all of this.
How does Milestone solve these schema problems?
The Milestone Schema Manager makes it quick and efficient to develop and deploy schemas. It also monitors the pages for errors and flags them.
How does Milestone Schema Manager track schema performance?
The Milestone analytics can segment by rich media results and by groups of pages that have schemas deployed, so it is easier to see the lift and compare it to the trend of the SEO traffic overall.
Do impressions matter when measuring schema impact?
Given the choice, you would rather have your content appear than your competitors, so increasing impressions is a positive result. Further, impressions are a necessity for clicks. Impressions are very important for location-based businesses as they will show address, phone numbers, and reviews, information which consumers can use without clicking on them. That said, clicks and leads or purchases from the increased traffic in that organic channel source are a more trackable and material result.
My CTR went down as my impressions went up. Is that a problem?
This is common and not indicative of a problem. A lower CTR is not an issue as long as the number of clicks increased.