In a Google SEO consultation, Martin Splitt from Google answered a question about structured data validation and how the Google validator can show different results than the Schema.org validator.
Structured data validation
Both Google and Schema.org provide tools to validate that structured data is correct.
Google’s tool is called Rich Results Test.
Schema.org’s tool is called the Schema Markup Validator.
Google’s tool validates structured data and also provides feedback on whether the tested structured data is suitable for rich results on search engine results pages.
Rich search results are advanced search entries that make the entry stand out in the search results.
Schema.org’s Schema Markup Validator checks whether the structured data is valid according to official standards.
Why is Google’s validator different from Schema.org?
One might think that both structured data validators validate according to the same rules.
So it’s a good question why both validators might show different results.
The person who asked the question found that their structured data was perfectly validated on Schema.org, but not with Google’s validator.
“Why does structured data show errors on Google but not on schema.org?
Google Search Console shows invalid errors Count value in field ‘return fees‘, but our schema.org test says no error.
Martin Splitt from Google replied:
“Schema.org is an open and vendor-independent entity that defines the data types and attributes for structured data.
However, as a vendor, Google may have specific requirements for some attributes and types in order to use the structured data in product features, such as in our rich search results on Google Search.
While Schema.org is fine to simply omit some attributes or use specific values for an attribute, vendors like Google and others may have more specific requirements to use the structured data you provide to actually improve features and products. ”
Purpose of Google’s validator
Google’s validator has a different purpose than just checking that the structured data is valid.
This verifies that the structured data that Google needs (to potentially display a webpage in advanced search results) is valid.
The Schema.org validator only checks standards and has nothing to do with how Google uses structured data.
Is Google’s validator better?
Another thing to know about Schema.org’s validator is that it can sometimes falsely report that valid code is invalid.
I recently came across this while taking a JSON-LD structured data example with correct code from Schema.org and testing it in both validators.
Schema.org’s validator showed an incorrect error, while Google’s validator validated it correctly.
At least in this case, Google’s validator was more accurate.
It’s always a good idea to read Google’s structured data guide to ensure your website is programmed for Google, as structured data is generally used for advanced records.
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