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Structured data (like schema.org markup) should traditionally be used on visible content (a search on here will confirm that) and Google and others have said as much.

However, schema.org is now supporting JSON which would never be visible on-page. Additionally, and for quite some time, the Good Relations Snippet Generator has created snippets that are empty divs with instructions to post it before the closing <body> tag of your webpages.

Does anyone have practical experience (even better, A/B testing) of the results (or problems) from using Semantic Web markup on visible vs. non-visible content or any insight/guidelines?

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Semantic markup/annotations can be consumed by a variety of agents. As you tagged your question with seo, are you interested in search engines only? –  unor Dec 14 '13 at 21:00
    
Mainly, yes. I work in SEO and marketing and so while I'd consider other potential uses that would definitely be my primary concern. –  adam-asdf Dec 16 '13 at 16:54
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The instructions for the Good Relations on-line snippet generator tool only states to update the XHTML/HTML page header, and their Quickstart guide states for each example to:

Insert the additional HTML markup given below anywhere in the body section...

I do not see instructions to "post it before the closing <body> tag of your webpages."

Also, the schema blog on JSON-LD only states:

W3C's work on JSON-LD provides mechanisms for interpreting structured data in JSON that promotes interoperability with other data formats. We believe it provides value for developers and publishers, and improves the flow of information between JSON and other environments.

So these do not support using Semantic Web markup in non-visible content as far as SEO is concerned.

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I think they updated the Good Relations instructions but I think it used to say the part I quoted...oh well, it's pretty clear now. Thanks. –  adam-asdf Dec 16 '13 at 17:07
    
No worries. It should be visible, with matching content, or you'll likely have a problem, like this question. –  dan Dec 16 '13 at 19:37
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