When was the last time you checked Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) for any important messages about your site?
Ok, I know there’s quite a few of you out there who just kind of “forget,” so this is a reminder to take a minute, log in and see what’s waiting there for you.
Recently we began receiving emails from customers asking about a certain message they’ve been receiving within Search Console regarding “Products related issues.” The message reads that “Products may be negatively afftected in Google Search results” and encourages the site owner to fix the issues.
Antyime Google says your search results can be negatively affected, you need to take action to find out what’s wrong and how you can fix it. If you’re receiving a similar message from Google, it’s time to dive in and come up with a solution.
Luckily, in this instance, “Products related issues” can easily be rectified by adding Rich Snippets, aka structured data markup, to items in your store. In fact, this has been a recommendation from Google for the past several years.
What exactly is structured data markup? Simply put, it’s code that is placed on pages throughout a website that provides search engines with more detailed information that can then be displayed on the search results page.
If you look at the email received from Google, you will see they’re looking for specific information related to items in the store: url, product ID, how long the listed price is good for, whether or not the product has reviews, and the brand.
While you may have this information displayed on the item page, that’s not enough. That information should also be included in your website’s code, much like META data.
When this information is presented in a structured format, Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines, can extrapolate it and present it in a visually appealing and eye-catching way in the search results which statistics show lead to higher clicks. These enhanced search results are all controlled using structured data markup and provide useful information to the end user.
In the example below, I used Google to search for “Apple iPad Pro Keyboard.” The result for Costco shows that they have 1 five-star review for it and not much more information (shame, shame Costco, up your snippets game!).
The result for Best Buy is giving much more information including way more reviews, the price of the item and whether or not it’s available for purchase.
Knowing the item’s cost and whether it’s in stock or not allows me to go directly to Best Buy’s site and make the purchase rather than click thru to Costco’s and maybe find out it’s priced higher and not available.
It’s very easy to see how implementing structured data on your site can enhance your search listings and lead to additional sales, so if you’re getting warnings about this in Search Console it’s time to fix it.
Not sure whether or not your site is using structured data, or whether you’re passing all the proper data over to Google? Well, there’s a tool for that! Simply go to your store, load an item, then copy the URL. Then head over to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool and plug in the URL . Look at the results and see what Google is looking for and whether or not it’s being fed from your store.
If you’re not providing structured data, we can help. Our Structured Data – Rich Snippets – Microdata Markup feature will add the required fields to your store so you can pass the information on to the search engines in the proper format allowing them to display additional information about your products in the search results.
This is one of those “must do” items for store owners. One that is critical if you want to remain competitive and ensure that you’re doing everything you can to capture every possible customer who’s searching for a product you sell.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out!
General Manager, YSW
Scott Sanfilippo began his eCommerce journey in 1994 by co-founding one of the Internet’s first online retailers, TheFerretStore.com, which was acquired by PetCo in 2006. In 2001, he co-founded the eCommerce design and marketing firm Solid Cactus, which was acquired by web.com in 2009. Today, Scott is the General Manager of Your Store Wizards and lives in Delray Beach, FL. Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.