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E-commerce Link : Highlighting Your Way to the Top

How to rank in more Google searches using structured data markup

February 2014 By Kristina Zaremba
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Ever wonder how Web marketers get their products to appear in Google Shopping?

Google's shopping, map, news and image searches use structured data to serve users these special result sets. Structured data refers to pages webmasters have marked up on the backend with tags to describe each content field for search. On a product detail page, for example, structured data can help search engines index a product's name, brand, price, color(s), size(s), image(s), description, customer reviews and more.

This markup information not only helps the product appear in specialized search sets, such as Google Shopping, but also helps the product surface in regular searches, regardless of the engine, by supplying detailed information about the item that search bots can understand. So, a product page that uses structured data will have a better chance ranking for long-tail queries—such as "Nike, blue running shoes, women's size 7"—than one without markup, because structured data enables search engines to better parse a product's specifications.

Leveraging Structured Data
Structured data gets content in front of users who might have otherwise filtered it out by refining their search results. In the product page example, without structured data, the page won't appear in Google Shopping and, therefore, will never rank for users who use this advanced search function. Even if users don't consciously choose to use Shopping search, Google is now integrating results from its other search properties into its regular search results page by serving video, image, map and shopping results along with Web results whenever relevant to a user's query.

Therefore, it's important to leverage structured data to help content appear in more searches—thereby maximizing impressions and awareness. Structured data comes with an added bonus, as well, by enhancing the appearance of pages in search results by generating rich snippets.

Snippets are the descriptive text blurbs that appear under every search result. A rich snippet is any search result that appears with extra information, such as a thumbnail image, star rating, runtime (for a film), or cooking time (for a recipe). Rich snippets look much more appealing and can help increase clickthrough rates by helping content stand out on a noisy search results page.

 

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