Schema is the HTML markup language that provides added information to search engines and makes it easier for them to learn about your products and website. While Schema data isn’t proven to boost rankings, it does appear in 33% of search results.
The more you communicate with Google, the more information it’s able to show to customers, which makes you look more authoritative as a brand. Here are a few ways eCommerce companies can benefit from utilizing Schema markups, and why they should take advantage of them.
Improve Authority with Price and Product Information
While your customers certainly care about the brand and website they buy from, they’re also price motivated. Schema allows companies to list exact specifications in the descriptions to convince customers that they’re worth the click.
For example, here are some search results for a Kate Spade iPhone case. Best Buy uses structured markup to inform you of the price, as well as letting searchers know that the product is in stock.
Quickly Adjust Prices and Product Availability
Few eCommerce companies have the luxury of selling items with static prices year-round. In all likelihood, your prices go down as the item sits on the shelf and then plunges again for clearance listings and major sales. Fortunately, Schema is a great tool for updating product prices that change often — and in some cases can even make adjustments multiple times in one day.
This flexibility and rapid response is the main reason multiple companies try to implement Schema data before the holiday season. Prices tend to yo-yo dramatically during the weeks surrounding Black Friday, and brands need to make sure the accurate prices are represented. If not, they risk losing sales or overworking their customer’s service team with price inquiries.
Schema data can also react to product availability and highlight information like amount left in stock and low inventory items. One of the fastest ways to ruin the customer experience is to rank highly and drive traffic to an out of stock or 404 page.
In the Kate Spade screenshot, since Best buy is pulling the pricing data indirectly from the price listed on the page, if the item goes on sale, the structured data immediately shows the change. The Verizon Wireless listing, however, shows the price in the meta description, which means that there could be a delay until any sale is listed in search results.
Highlight Product Reviews and Comments
It’s common for customers that are new to your brand to be wary of your website and products, no matter how large or official your brand is. Your audience wants to know they can trust your products and will receive them on time and intact. This is why 88% of customers check online reviews at least occasionally, they want to hear from past customers and make sure they’re making a smart decision.
To prevent your customers from bouncing to a different website or getting distracted on review sites, Schema data can highlight customer reviews and showcase your average star rating and total reviews.
If I am searching for Phillips Bluetooth headphones, for example, schema allows me to easily see what other customers thought of that product and website, directly in search.
Today’s customers understand statistics and will trust 100 customers giving something a four-star rating than one customer offering a glowing five-star review. I you have a large number of comments aggregated on your site, Amazon, or Yelp, you can quickly establish trust and safety by showing off your ratings.
Recently, Google changed their guidelines for using structured markup on reviews. For the search engine to show your star rating in their organic results, you need to have the reviews hosted on your site and not some third party aggregator like Trust Pilot. If you use reviews on your website, particularly if you are a local business, be sure to check out the updated guidelines to make sure you’re user content will be displayed appropriately.
Like Your Social Profiles to Your Organic SERPs
Not all eCommerce sites have a short path to purchase. Larger and more expensive items tend to require a more complex funnel, where the customer does research and visits the site multiple times before finally converting. If this is your website, consider using Schema data to highlight your social media profiles and continue the conversation about your brand and product on Facebook or Twitter. Below you can see social media results for the Salvador Dali museum in St. Petersburg, Florida which are right below the customer reviews.
Social media information tends to show up in the larger knowledge cards on the right hand side of the page. In some cases, brands may have to follow a verification process to display social media content, but once you do, you can override the information that Google finds automatically. This ensures you’re always showing the best information about your brand.
Like product prices and reviews, social media profiles work to establish authority and trust for your customers. Clearly you care about what shows up on your Google listings and your overall web presence. They can check on Twitter to see your customer service responses or Facebook to learn how you respond to comments. This also allows your fans to interact with you on platforms they’re already familiar with, and potentially share your page with their friends.
All of these actions let the customer know they’re in good hands if they buy from you.
PPC Benefits of Schema
Schema won’t just benefit your SEO strategy, it will also give a boost to your SEM plans. Google regularly checks to make sure the prices provided by the company feed line up with the current prices on your website. This keeps companies honest and prevents them from sending Google lower prices to make sure they show up more often in product listing ads. If your prices change frequently, or if your feed takes longer to process, then you could get penalized by Google for mismatched prices.
Schema makes it easy for Google to update your prices on its ads when they change on your website. It’s not a surefire solution if you’re having problems with your feed or communicating with Google, but it patches up the holes and answers Google’s questions about price differentials. Not only will this data help your business stay on the good side of Google, it will also keep your prices competitive and accurate for customers.
Prepare for the Future
Voice assistants like Siri, Google Now, and Alexa won’t give you a list of potential websites and leave it up to you to find the right answer, they’ll speak the answer back to you. As the artificial intelligence (AI) behind this technology improves, it will dramatically impact how we use search engines.
One tool that digital assistants can use to find the answers searchers need is through structured markup. Schema could help them quickly find the relevant information, making your website the only answer they show. In the future, websites won’t compete against ten blue links, they’ll be competing to be the only answer given. Structured markup could be the way that AI’s choose what content to show our future customers.