Retailers and Ecommerce Sites Need to be Leveraging Rich Snippets

Other Articles: Building a Search Marketing Funnel by Paul Coulter

If you have an e-commerce site but don’t use structured markup to identify product attributes, you’re missing out on some truly amazing opportunities.

When it comes to marketing products online, getting on the first page of the search results simply isn’t enough. Getting visibility is great, but it’s even better when people can see snippets of information about your products (referred to as rich snippets) directly in the search results. Marking up your content with “structured markup”  make it possible.  This ensures that your products are showcased in the most appealing way, which increases site traffic, conversions and enhances profitability.

What is structured markup?

Structured markup is a way to help search engine spiders and robots make sense of various types of information by way of standardization. After all, there is no way for a search engine spider to understand what kind of information is most useful for users. Expecting a bot to crawl through a product description and pull the most useful information isn’t practical.

In a way, structured markup is kind of like highlighting important passages in a book. In addition to highlighting important information, structured markup lets you label it as well. The end result is a search engine listing that’s significantly more useful to everyday users.

The concept of structured markup is not a new idea and was created by the World Wide Web Consortium in the early 1990s. In 2009, Google started using rich snippets, which is a type of structured markup, to present more relevant and useful results to users. By now, most Internet users are familiar with the concept, having seen various pictures and 5 star review ratings embedded directly within the search results.

When presented with terms like “structured markup”, “microformats”, “microdata”, or” RDFa”, many online retailers are left scratching their heads. Luckily, Google, Bing and Yahoo came together and decided on a common standard using the microdata format and schema.org vocabulary, which should simply the process.

Improve product visibility in the search results

Search engine listings that use  rich snippets really stand out from the crowd, and studies have shown that this leads to a noticeable increase in click through rates. Google claims it doesn’t use markups as ranking signals (yet), but having more visible listings is sure to drive more traffic to your e-commerce site. Because the presence of rich snippets provides for a better user experience it is logical to assume that search engines will begin to prefer websites with content that is marked up with schemas.

Two particular types of schemas retailers should consider are Products and Reviews.

Once you have added your markup, you can immediately test it with Google’s rich snippet testing tool.

The possibilities are endless

Although search engines are primarily using schemas to display rich snippets in the search results, this data could be used in a variety of ways.

  • As a shopper, a search engine could instantly return the lowest price for a particular product.
  • Increased use of this structured data will give rise to more vertical  or industry specific  search engines.
  • Users and companies can build technology to crawl the web and develop an unlimited number of creative possibilities.

Be an early adopter

At this point, not many online retailers are using structured markup. Fewer still have implemented the Schema.org markup that is recommended by Google. By doing so for your site, you will start enjoying the benefits of having improved search engine listings earlier. People will be able to find your products more easily, which will give you a significant advantage over the competition. It’s well worth it to hire someone to apply these changes for you. Once they have been implemented, the work will pay for itself in no time.

Continue your online marketing efforts

Keep in mind that schemas are not designed to take the place of other online marketing techniques. For instance, you need to keep up with your traditional paid and organic search efforts. When combined with these efforts, schemas should push your online visibility to a whole new level. In turn, your site should receive more targeted traffic, and your conversion rate should climb as well. These days, it’s more important than ever to stand out on the search engine results pages, and schemas make it easy.

Helpful videos


Rich Snippets: Product Search

 

Rich Snippets: Reviews