In this blog post, I will share you the importance of schema markup or rich snippets for an online store. Further on I will show you how you can show them using Magento 2 SEO Extension and Opencart SEO Extension. First let’s understand some basics about the SEO, schema markup, rich snippets and few other things.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results—often referred to as ‘natural’, ‘organic’, or ‘earned’ results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users; these visitors can then be converted into customers. (Source – Wikipedia)
Many online businesses rely on search engines for bringing traffic to their website. As search engine is the primary point of entry to many people, the traffic from the search engines is vitally important to online stores. Whenever we want to buy anything online, we always Google that product’s name in the search field and view the results. The results that appear on the first page of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) are likely to get more traffic because most users click on first results.
The structured data or rich snippets provide information to the search engines about the web page and display that information on the SERP such as price, stock, ratings, reviews, votes, etc. With the help of rich snippets, the users can see the quick information about the page even before visiting it.
Also, the search results which have rich snippets draws more attention in comparison to other search results. The rich snippets display richer information about the web page search results. Rich snippets allow the webmaster to highlight their web page content on the SERP. Because results showing rich snippets have higher visibility within the SERP.
1 – Data Vocabulary – An open-community HTML specification used to nest structured data within HTML content. Like RDFa, it uses HTML tag attributes to name the properties you want to expose as structured data. It is typically used in the page body but can be used in the head.
3 – Schema.org – In June 2011, Schema.org collaboration was formed between Google, Bing, Yandex, and Yahoo. Schema.org is designed to create and support a common set of schemas for structured data markup on web pages. The search engine collaborators proposed using the schema.org vocabulary along with the Microdata, RDFa, or JSON-LD formats to mark up website content with metadata about itself.
*Google recommends using JSON-LD for structured data whenever possible.
Apart from showing ratings, reviews, and votes, you can also show images on the SERP. Usually, the images will appear for food and recipes search results. So if a user types any food recipe name let’s say lasagna, the user will see the food image, cooking time, and nutritional value.
The rich snippets support thumbnail image of the videos. You can provide details such as the description, thumbnail URL, upload date, and duration. Apart from YouTube, the video thumbnails can also be displayed for other websites.
If your product has received any reviews or ratings you can show review snippets in Google Search results page. When Google finds valid reviews or ratings markup, they may show a rich snippet that includes stars and other summary info from reviews or ratings. In addition to the text of the review, a rating is an evaluation described on a numeric scale (such as 1 to 5).
A breadcrumb trail on a page indicates the page’s position in the site hierarchy. Search engines use breadcrumb markup in the body of a web page to categorize the information from the page on SERP.
Breadcrumbs allow a user to navigate all the way up in the site hierarchy, one level at a time, by starting from the last breadcrumb in the breadcrumb trail. So instead of displaying long URLs, the breadcrumbs appear more clear, attractive and also useful for navigation.
Pricing plays a very important role for e-commerce stores. The customers are always hunting for the competitive prices everywhere, they always compare the price from one website to another and select the one who offers the best price. Using rich snippet, we can show the pricing information on the SERP. So when the customer searches for the product, the price and currency will be fetched from the product page.
It’s quite often while searching for the product on different shopping websites, when we finally find and view the product page we realize that the product was ‘Out of Stock’, the product was no longer available. But if the webmaster markup the product page using ‘ItemAvailability‘ rich snippet property, the customer can know the availability of product on the SERP itself.
For some websites, Google shows an additional search box for that website. Sitelinks Searchbox is meant to provide more refined and faster results to the users.
Sitelinks Searchbox works in two ways: –
– So if the webmaster has used the schema markup, then the users will be redirected to the website’s own search engine results page when the user types a query in the sitelinks searchbox. The users will see “search example.com” in the searchbox.
– If the webmaster has not used schema markup, then the Google will display the second set of refined search results that are obtained from the targeted website on the SERP itself. The users will not be redirected to your website. The users will see “Results from example.com” text.
Please note Google considers various factors for showing sitelinks searchbox for your website. So merely adding the markup code will not allow you to display the sitelinks searchbox. Check out the guidelines here.
The biggest advantage of implementing structured data is to achieving higher CTR (Clik-Through Rate). CTR is the ratio of users who actually click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement.
With rich snippets, the search-results appear more pleasing and attractive due to stars, votes, image, price and other information. Rich snippets make your result stand out from the other search results. Because users know what to expect from the web page before visiting it. Generally, the first-page search results have 60-70% or more CTR percentage than the other pages.
Organic search results are search listings on SERP that appear because of their relevance to the search term, as opposed to them being advertised. In contrast, non-organic search results may include pay per click advertising. When people search on Google, text ads can appear above or below the search results.
So if I type ‘pizza’ word on Google, the first two results that shows are the paid advertised results showing the ‘Ad’ icon before the URL. After that, you can see the organic search results below from Pizza Hut and Wikipedia.
There are some general guidelines that apply to all structured data. These guidelines must be followed to enable structured data to be eligible for inclusion in Google Search results. Following the guidelines will also help the search engines to find and index your web pages better.
Webmasters must follow the structured data guidelines for showing rich snippets on SERP. They should not markup the content that is invisible to users, showing irrelevant or misleading content, or other manipulative behavior. Otherwise, that pages may receive a less favorable ranking or be marked as ineligible for rich results in Google Search.
For example, the user finds the huge number of reviews and ratings on the SERP and when the user finally visits the web page, there are no reviews or votes. Also, sometimes users find a low price on SERP and higher price on the product page. These kinds of rich snippets spamming will surely increase the bounce rate of the users. The traffic on the website will go down after some time. The webmasters should keep in check and use structured data properly.
Rich snippets – JSON LD should be properly linked with product attributes.
For testing and previewing your markup content, Google has developed Structured Data Testing Tool for webmasters. The tool helps you preview your structured data markup for web or mobile app URL as it would appear in the SERP. This helps you ensure your structured data markup or App Indexing integration generates the Google Search display you expect.
Preview Rich Snippets
Here is the sample preview of the Google Search Result page showing rich snippets properties such as rating, price, stock, and breadcrumb. Also, the snippet shows the AMP icon before the meta description.
Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you to monitor and maintain the site’s presence in Google Search results. Google recommends becoming a verified site owner of your site in Search Console. Search Console provides many useful debugging and monitoring reports and tools to test rendering, availability, and structured data indexing.
Many research studies have found that most of the searches are done on mobile phones. It has become mandatory to make your website mobile friendly as the majority of the traffic is coming from these devices. To make your websites optimized for mobile viewing, the first thing you need is to make your existing site responsive.
Having a responsive template/theme for the website allows the users to view the web page content according to the viewing device’s resolution. The user doesn’t require to pinch and zoom the content or view in landscape mode. Responsive websites automatically adapt and renders the content on any type of devices such as desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. You can check out Xtremo Responsive Theme for Magento 2.
Once you have made your website responsive, you can check whether it is mobile friendly or not with the help of Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP) is an open-source initiative to improve the performance of web content for mobile devices. Google Search indexes AMP pages to provide a fast and a reliable web experience to users. When an AMP page is available, it can be featured on mobile search as part of rich results and carousels.
On mobile search, the AMP icon helps users quickly identify pages that load quickly and smoothly. When users select an AMP page, Google Search retrieves the page from the Google AMP Cache. It enables a variety of load optimizations that often make these pages appear instantly, such as prerendering.
You can implement AMP feature for your e-commerce store using following extensions:
Please note that even if you structured your data as per guidelines it will entirely depend on the Google to whether show or hide the rich snippets. Also, if the rich snippets are visible, it does not guarantee that your result appears higher or rank up. The Google algorithm tailors search results to create what it thinks is the best search experience for a user, depending on many variables, including search history, location, and device type.
All the rich snippets discussed above can be implemented using the following extension:
In case you need more information or require any customization, then please send us an email to [email protected]