Organizations that prioritize SEO have seen undeniable success despite the challenges posed by marketplace changes over the last two decades. A combination of BrightEdge surveys and research shows how organizations are leaning into Enterprise SEO. Research from BrightEdge SearchIQ also shows where they are focusing their schema efforts to understand context better. 

This is especially important in a new search state where structured data sets and markup help AI understand content context better. 

Organizations are leaning into SEO in 2023 due to compounding benefits

Despite economic conditions and investment scrutiny, we found several reasons why SEO remains essential. BrightEdge’s processing of trillions of data points about search behavior combined with analyst studies and customer surveys from thousands of marketers helps us better understand why organizations are turning so strongly to SEO right now.

  • Firstly, search continues to grow, and more people are using search engines to find what they need. Over 90 % of organizations plan to utilize SEO this year.
  • Secondly, SEO provides cover for media when media budgets are flat or reduced, allowing organizations to continue reaching their audience through search. 
  • Additionally, SEO has compounding benefits, meaning that for every $1 put into SEO today, organizations can find compounded benefits over time, resulting in greater ROI. 

Schema Improvements Show Deliberate SEO Now Activity

You can view the complete study here.

  • Finally, SEO builds trust and credibility as it helps to improve a website’s visibility and search engine rankings, which can increase its authority and reputation. All of these factors demonstrate the value of SEO as a long-term strategy for organizations to build and maintain their online presence.

Organizations are being proactive and getting better at understanding context with schema

Our research also found that organizations are improving their SEO strategies by implementing structured content and context, particularly by following Google’s guidelines and using schema, in order to future-proof their SEO and be more proactive with on-page traction.

BrightEdge SearchIQ looked at several factors that impact search rankings for 1000 keywords across ten industries over a quarter, comparing them to the same period last year. 

Our research found that top-ranking websites are becoming more proactive in their SEO, with significantly more schema tags being used to prepare for a state of search where structured data sets and markup help entities like AI better understand the context of content. 

Schema Improvements Show Deliberate SEO Now Activity

Across industries, the study found more deliberate SEO activity with an increase in keyword targeting, schema usage, and referring domains linking to the leaders’ websites. 

The data demonstrates that leaders are investing heavily in schema, which is a great way to future-proof content and signal context and relevance for better discoverability in a conversational and contextual environment.

For instance, in the Advertising and Banking industries, we saw improvements in technical on page elements and more referring domains, while Higher Education (Colleges and Universities) and Real Estate industries had more schema tags. In addition, Industrial Machinery and Insurance industries had more keywords and schema tags in their content, respectively, and the Retail sector had a 15x increase in schema tags used. In the Software space, websites ranking for top software keywords had improved text-to-code ratio, indicating they are getting leaner. 

  • For Advertising, we looked at keywords related to digital marketing and things agencies are interested in. But, again, we’ve seen the same schema growth here, and we’re also seeing some improvements in technical elements of their sites that are making core web vitals better. 
  • In Banking we’re seeing more keyword targeting happening.  And we see significantly more referring domains to the sites that rank in the top positions.  With the rollouts of helpful content and a spam update that recently rolled out, these could be indicators that the leaders have more authority than they may have in the last year. 
  • For Higher Education (Colleges and Universities) , we see more schema usage.  
  • In Industrial Machinery, we even see some deliberate SEO happening, with more keywords being used in the content, 5x the schema tags we saw last year, and more referring domains
  • In Insurance, we see more keywords in content that match what the user was searching, which suggests more deliberate SEO, more schema tags, and a slight uptick in referring domains that link to the leaders
  • Real Estate leaders saw a significant 9x growth in the number of schema tags we see for the space. If you are in this business, make sure you’re thinking about the context of your content and what markup is popular because it’s definitely something your competitors are doing

On that note, with retail-based keywords, we saw 15x the number of schema tags being used this year as last.  

  • In the Software space, we saw an improvement in the text-to-code ratio indicating websites that rank for the top software keywords are getting leaner. 

Why does this matter

Firstly, as SEO grows, it is essential to understand why to get executive buy-in for your campaigns. Especially as SEOs compounding benefits over time highlight additional value beyond traditional expectations. 

Secondly, with the announcements from Google and Microsoft that they will be moving search to more of a conversational and contextual environment, many marketers are looking for ways to ensure their content is discovered.  90% of companies surveyed by BrightEdge say SEO is a priority this year, and the data seems to validate that.


If you haven’t invested in implementing schema in your content over the past year, you are at risk of being left behind by those that have. While schema isn’t a direct ranking factor, it definitely gives engines more context for your site, and the data demonstrates that leaders are investing heavily here. 

Looking at the proactive usage of schema shows that leaders are taking steps to make sure their content makes it easy for search engines to understand the context of their content.  Schema is a great way to future-proof your content and make it as easy as possible to signal context and relevance.

We see significantly more schema types among the top 10 ranking pages across all categories, in some cases significantly more. Again, this is a sign that organizations are taking measures to prepare for a state of search where structured data sets and markup help entities like AI better understand the context of content.  

About the schema research 

What is this research: We collect factors that impact search rankings for 1000 keywords in 10 industries over the course of a quarter and publish them in our SEO Radar. BrightEdge looked at the state of these categories at the end of Q1 last year and compared them to this year. We found some subtle differences that suggest winning sites are getting more proactive in their SEO.

Detail and Methodology: We used BrightEdge’s SearchIQ technology integrated with Oncrawl’s data science engine to look at the characteristics of the top-ranking pages for 1000 keywords in each of the ten industries. Then, we compared these attributes from last quarter at this time to what they look like today and highlighted where we saw movement or improvements in performance. 

Read more about BrightEdge and OnCrawl.  





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By Margaret Blank

At the moment I am an expert-analyst in the field of search engine optimization, leading several projects and consulting on website optimization and promotion, I am actively involved in various thematic seminars and conferences.

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