If you have spent any time on Amazon you are already familiar with verbose descriptions of each item for sale, product reviews from verified purchases, and the ability to search by product name, product description and category. These elements are some of the secret sauce that has made Amazon so successful. They provide their shoppers plenty of information to make a confident purchase decision and at the same time this data is structured in a way that Google can gobble the information up.
Google is not a person but a robot, a collection of powerful computers and clever programming to accomplish the following mission:
to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.
The more information you put on your website and the better you organize it, the more you help Google to accomplish its mission. But without being sentient, how does Google accomplish this?
It may be easy to trivialize until you look at common scenarios. Consider a business with multiple locations on the ‘About Us’ page; each location has an address and phone number listed. Now consider a single location business who has a partner and both the single location and the partner business are listed on the ‘About Us’ page. From a search engine perspective, how would a computer program differentiate between these two ‘About Us’ pages? It could very well get confused and think a business has multiple locations when it only has one. Another common scenario is your local Chamber of Commerce. When a search engine sees all the businesses listed how would the search engine know what is the actual contact information for the chamber vs all the chamber members.
This is where Structured Data comes into your SEO strategy. Google wants to understand the world, and in order to do so data needs to have a schema in order to allow for automation without confusion. A great example of this is our mailing address format in the United States. A Typically mailing address is formatted in a hierarchy from specific to general. Any good eCommerce platform has this same type of schema built in for the products and services you offer. Height, Weight, Length, Width, Colors, warranty, price, description, reviews, and product image libraries are all datapoints that Google will vacuum up if in a structured schema.
If you already have an eCommerce site make sure you have completed the following:
- Make sure you Shopping Cart has built in support for Schema 2.0 (AKA Structured data)
- Give full product details - fill out all the fields: Short description, long description, price, dimensions, etc
- Provide multiple pictures of high quality
- Make Checkout as Easy as possible
On April 27th, 2020 Google announced the ability to link your eCommerce site and all its products into the Google Merchant Center for free. This is not free advertising but a free listing for each product within Google Shopping. Getting your eCommerce site connected will increase your exposure, especially if you sell non-commodity items. If your eCommerce is up and running you can get started with connecting it to Google Merchant Center at: https://www.google.com/retail/solutions/merchant-center/
Having eCommerce can be much more than just the ability to sell online. It is another doorway to getting Google’s attention and is organized in a way to really inform your clients.
To learn more about eCommerce I highly recommend you refer to the best practices articles for your eCommerce engine. Here are a few of the most popular:
- Shopify - Getting Started & Best Practices
- WooCommerce - Getting Started & Best Practices
- Wix - Getting Started & Best Practices