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The developers’ documentation for product structured data has been updated by Google, introducing new requirements that determine the eligibility of a website to display merchant return policies within the merchant listing experiences.
Structured data serves as a means of conveying information about a webpage specifically to search engines. It is not intended for direct user consumption when visiting a webpage.
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Search engines utilise structured data to enhance their understanding of web pages, enabling them to present the information from the structured data appealingly and practically. This can lead to increased traffic to the webpages. Therefore, it is essential to correctly implement the prescribed markup for product structured data, as specified by Google.
Google showcases rich results for specific products within its search engine and image search.
These rich results provide details such as:
The guidelines for product rich results, like all of Google’s guidelines concerning structured data usage, have strict criteria regarding the types of pages eligible for structured data implementation.
The primary requirement for product-structured data is that it should only be applied to pages that pertain to a single product.
When it comes to products with multiple variations such as:
Retailers often create product pages that feature all these variations on a single webpage. This allows potential buyers to easily view, compare and select different options for the same product.
However, some websites choose to publish separate web pages for each variation of the product. In such cases, the question arises: should the same structured data be used with minor variations on each webpage? Or should one page be selected as the representative for the product and use structured data only on that page? And how the Merchant return policy and Merchant listing come into play.
To address this, Google Search Central has updated the guidelines for product structured data, providing clarification on how to use structured data for product variants.
What Does This Means?
The general Merchant listing guidance for using structured data for each specific product remains unchanged. Rich results, which include enhanced search results like product information, continue to support structured data for pages dedicated to a single product.
What has changed is that Google now clarifies that web pages focusing on variations of a single product can qualify for rich results. This means that each webpage dedicated to a specific product variant can have its structured data, allowing search engines to understand and present the information relevant to that particular variation.
In summary, while the use of structured data for individual product pages remains the same, Google’s updated guidelines now make it clear that web pages dedicated to variations of a single product can also make use of structured data for improved visibility and presentation in rich results.
Structured data types are used to convey specific information to search engines, indicating the nature of the data being presented. In the case of a merchant return policy, a particular structured data type is employed.
Structured data types consist of “properties” that provide relevant details about the specific data type.
Google has introduced support for the Schema.org MerchantReturnPolicy structured data type.
The MerchantReturnPolicy structured data type encompasses properties including:
Two Essential Properties: The newly introduced MerchantReturnPolicy type includes two mandatory properties.
Required properties are integral and must be included in the structured data to ensure eligibility for the rich results associated with the MerchantReturnPolicy type.
The following are the two indispensable structured data properties:
ApplicableCountry: This property specifies the country for which the return policy is applicable. It helps search engines understand the geographical scope of the policy.
ReturnPolicyCategory: This property categorises the type of return policy, providing further context and clarity regarding the specific terms and conditions associated with returning products.
By incorporating these required properties into the structured data, websites can enhance their eligibility for rich results related to MerchantReturnPolicy, thereby providing valuable information to users and search engines alike.
Google has introduced an alternative method to qualify for rich results in the returns policy shopping experience, providing an option that doesn’t require the configuration of structured data.
According to Google’s guidelines, merchants can achieve eligibility by:
Users who utilise WordPress plugins for managing structured data should stay vigilant for plugin updates, as these updates may introduce new settings specifically for structured data.
It is important to note that the settings within WordPress plugins may not automatically populate with the required information. Users may need to manually fill in the settings once they become available to ensure the propagation of structured data throughout their website.
In summary, Google’s updated guidance on merchant return policy structured data offers valuable instructions for merchants seeking to enhance their listing experiences.
By implementing the MerchantReturnPolicy structured data type and including the mandatory properties of applicableCountry and returnPolicyCategory, merchants can ensure their eligibility for rich results that specifically relate to return policies.
Furthermore, Google provides an alternative pathway to eligibility by configuring shipping settings return policies through the Google Merchant Center Help. This alternative method can be advantageous for merchants who prefer not to configure the associated structured data directly.
For publishers utilizing WordPress plugins to manage structured data, it is crucial to stay vigilant for plugin updates that may introduce new settings. Taking the opportunity to complete these settings when they become available will ensure the seamless propagation of structured data across their websites.
By adhering to these guidelines and effectively leveraging structured data, merchants can enhance the visibility and presentation of their return policies, leading to an improved shopping experience for their customers overall.
Merchant listing guidance refers to the instructions and recommendations provided by Google to merchants regarding the optimization and presentation of their product listings on various platforms, such as search engines and online marketplaces.
It includes guidelines on how to structure product data, implement structured data markup, and configure settings to improve the visibility and appearance of product listings.
Merchant listing guidance often covers topics such as:
By following the merchant listing guidance provided by Google, merchants can enhance the visibility of their products, improve user experience and increase the likelihood of attracting potential customers.
It helps merchants understand and implement best practices to effectively showcase their products and drive conversions.
Craft compelling and informative descriptions for each product in your listing. Highlight key features, benefits and unique selling points to attract potential customers. Invest in professional product photography to showcase your merchandise in the best possible light.
High-resolution images with multiple angles and zoom functionality can help customers visualize the product and make informed purchasing decisions.
Display accurate pricing information and any ongoing promotions or discounts prominently in your listings.
Transparency and competitive pricing can attract customers and encourage them to choose your products over competitors.
Learn More: Leveraging Google shopping