Why does Google’s structured data validator show errors while the official schema version does not

At a Google SEO Office Hours, Google’s Martin Splitt answered a question about structured data validation and how Google’s validator can show different results than the Schema.org validator.

Validation of structured data

Both Google and Schema.org provide tools to validate whether structured data is correct.

Google’s tool is called Test rich results.

Schema.org’s tool is called Schema markup validator.

Google’s tool validates structured data and also provides feedback on whether the tested structured data meets the requirements for rich results on search engine results pages.

Rich results are enhanced search listings that make your listing stand out among search results.

Schema.org’s schema markup validator checks whether structured data is valid according to official standards.

Why Google validator differs from Schema.org?

You might think that both structured data validators are validating against the same rules.

So it’s a good question why the two validators can show different results.

The person who asked the question noted that their structured data validates perfectly in Schema.org but not with the Google validator.

They asked:

“Why does structured data show errors on Google but not on schema.org?

Google Search Console shows errors for an invalid enumeration value in the “ReturnFees” field, but our schema.org test says there is no error.

Please let me know.”

Google’s Martin Splitt replied:

“Schema.org is an open, vendor-independent entity that defines the data types and attributes of structured data.

However, Google, as a vendor, may have specific requirements for some attributes and types to use structured data in product features, such as our rich results in Google Search.

So while leaving out some attributes or using some kind of value for an attribute is fine with Schema.org, providers like Google and others may have more specific requirements to use the structured data you provide to improve features and the products “

Purpose of Google Validator

Google’s validator has a different purpose than just checking whether structured data is valid.

Checking whether the structured data required by Google (to potentially show a web page in enhanced search results) is valid.

The Schema.org validator is only checking standards and has nothing to do with how Google uses structured data.

Is Google Validator better?

One more thing to know about the Schema.org validator is that it can sometimes falsely report that valid code is invalid.

I recently ran into this where I took a JSON-LD structured data example from Schema.org’s correct code and tested it in both validators.

The Schema.org validator showed a false error while the Google validator validated it successfully.

So, at least in this case, Google’s validator was more accurate.

It’s always a good practice to check Google’s structured data guide to make sure your site is coding for Google because the general use of structured data is for enhanced listings.

Listen to the SEO office hours at 4 minutes:

Featured image by Shutterstock/ViDI Studio


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About the Author: Ted Simmons

I follow and report the current news trends on Google news.

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