It’s no secret that the UK leads the way for eCommerce in Europe. In fact, online shopping contributed almost 8% of the country’s GDP in 2019 and internet sales accounted for 33% of all UK retail sales during May 2020.
The pandemic and the effects of its restrictions have altered our buying behaviours and with another lockdown, there’s no sign of things changing. It’s now more important than ever to leverage your eCommerce site as best as possible to stand out in search, as those marginal gains could help you generate more custom.
This is where Schema can help.
What is Schema?
Schema is a structured data vocabulary, which can be added to your HTML to define elements on your site and help search engines better understand your site and pages.
Schema doesn’t directly affect rankings, but in some cases, it can enhance how your pages display in the search results, known as Rich Results, which can better inform users of the page’s content and improve the clickthrough rate.
Implementing structured data doesn’t guarantee that your rich results will display, but following Google’s structured data guidelines will ensure your pages are eligible for inclusion – one of the most important being that marked-up content must be visible on the page.
There’s all manner of Schema types available to use. If you have a few days to kill, you can find a comprehensive list of all supported Schema types here. There are a few ways to put structured data in place on your site. We’ll be using JSON-LD for our examples, as this is the format Google recommends.
Use Google’s Rich Results Test to check your markup is valid and doesn’t contain any errors. You can also try the Structured Data Testing Tool, but this is being deprecated, so it’s best to get used to using the former. Some tests may return a ‘Warning’, with recommendations to include marking up other details, but don’t worry if your site doesn’t contain that information.
This shouldn’t affect the ability of your page to display as a Rich Result.
If there’s an ‘Error’, you’ll want to alter your markup to ensure it follows guidelines and includes everything that’s necessary.
Incorporating structured data onto your product pages allows a host of features to be available for inclusion as a Rich Result. Each of these can help your snippet stand out against competitors in the SERPs, informing your users of important product details and potentially improving your clickthrough rate.
These features include:
As suggested in the name, this type of markup should be applied to specific product pages only – not categories or product lists. All marked up content should be visible on the page.
Aggregate Rating Schema
As shown in the example above, Aggregate Rating Schema can be nested within Product Schema in order for the potential to display rating stars and review counts in the results.
This Schema type draws on the number and average rating of a collection of reviews to display relevant information in the SERPs. It’s important that the review information is specific to that product (not a category or the company) and that the information is visible on the page.
Shipping Details Schema – One to watch
At the time of writing, this Schema is only available in the US. But because it’s such a helpful feature, it wouldn’t be a surprise if this is rolled-out to include the UK in future.
A more recent addition to the Schema family is the ability to mark up shipping details to display in the SERPs. This is also possible in Google Merchant Centre, but the Schema support now removes the necessity to have an active Merchant Centre account, making it more accessible than ever.
With shipping costs and expected delivery times being key considerations in purchasing decisions, displaying these details in the results could be the USPs needed to help improve clickthroughs to your products.
This structured data can be applied to any page which features questions and answers in an FAQ format, which can be particularly useful on category pages.
Not only are FAQs great for adding rich, relevant content to category pages which could help address customer pain points, guide them towards a purchase and improve the ranking of the page, but having these FAQs display in search results can be a means of taking up valuable real estate, making your result more attention-grabbing and limiting the space for your competitors.
Read our Senior Content Marketing Manager John’s guide to writing industry-leading FAQs for more great tips.
A few important notes on this:
- FAQs only display for results ranking on page one
- Your first three FAQs will display, with subsequent ones requiring a click on ‘Show More’. Why not include at least three to ensure you’re taking advantage of the space available?
- They’re currently limited to only displaying to the highest three ranking sites that use it, so if you’re the fourth, you’ll miss the cut.
- Displaying these FAQs in search doesn’t necessarily mean your CTR will improve. If you answer everything here there’s no incentive for people to visit your site, so give them a reason to click through.
It pays to be tactical with which pages you apply this to.
Homepage & Other Pages
While we’re here, it’s worth mentioning some other Schema staples used on most sites to help search engines understand business and content. eCommerce is no different.
This markup is used to improve brand signals for your site and it can also help enhance your knowledge graph when people perform a branded search.
Important information to mark up here can include your company logo, trading name, contact details and social media pages. This markup only needs to go on one page, not all.
Breadcrumb trails are a vital component of eCommerce sites.
They help your users navigate the site easily, understanding where they are in the hierarchy of the site. They also provide strong signals to the search engines on your site structure.
Google is often intuitive enough to accurately display these breadcrumbs for you in the search results, but if your categories are being pulled through without capitalisation and including dashes (like in their URL), it might be worth applying this markup to help improve their appearance.
That was just a taster of some important Schema types to consider implementing for your eCommerce site. It’s worth looking at the full scope of supported Schema to see if there are more opportunities suitable for your site.
If you’re looking for help with your SEO strategy, why not get in touch?