If you’re selling online, you’ve probably heard people preach about the importance of search engine optimization (SEO).
Those people are right. Standard SEO practices like keyword research and link building can improve your search ranking results, helping potential customers discover your online store.
But just because someone can find your website doesn’t mean they’ll visit it—much less buy your products or services.
That’s where ecommerce schema markup comes in.
Ecommerce schema markup is a different SEO-related strategy that allows you to provide valuable details to interested shoppers before they even visit your page. And as many brands have seen, these details can make it far more likely for customers to click through.
So, how can you take advantage of this underutilized SEO strategy? Allow us to show you.
Table of Contents
- What is ecommerce schema markup?
- How to implement structured data for ecommerce
- Best practices for using schema
What is Ecommerce Schema Markup?
Whether you know it or not, you may already be familiar with schema markup. If you’ve ever used a search engine to shop online, you’ve probably seen results with a rich snippet underneath, showing details like product availability, reviews, and prices.
That’s schema markup in action. But how does that information get there?
Well, you have to put it there in the form of code. To put it simply, schema markup (also called structured data) is a type of code you can add to your website to inform search engines—and, by extension, potential customers—about the content of your pages.
Ecommerce schema markup refers to the specific use of this code in the context of online business.
While there are schema markups for everything from job postings to recipes, the most valuable type for ecommerce is the Product type. Product-specific schema helps you add dozens of additional “labels,” to your product page. For example, you could add:
- offers – Data under this property includes the price, currency, product availability, shipping details, and more.
- aggregateRating – This property allows you to display an overall product rating.
- review – This property includes customer opinion about the product.
- hasMeasurement – This property allows you to add your product’s exact measurements or a range of measurements for adjustable products.
- hasMerchantReturnPolicy – Data under this property specifies if a merchant return policy applies to the item.
These categories, and many others, tell the search engines everything they need to know about your web page.
Whether you’re using WordPress or a plug-and-play ecommerce platform like Shopify, you can add these ultra-helpful lines of code to your web pages.
We’ll touch on the best ways to do that a little later. For now, as long as you understand what schema markup is, you’re good to go.
The Role of Structured Data in Ecommerce
While using schema markup is unlikely to improve your SEO ranking directly, it has several benefits.
Perhaps most importantly, the schema markup you add helps Google, Bing, and other search engines make sense of your on-page content. Like heading tags, structured data gives the search engines vital clues about how best to display your page on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
Aside from the back-end benefits, schema markup also influences the customer’s perception of you.
Having a rich search result full of information adds a sense of legitimacy to your site. Well-known retailers like Amazon and Walmart already use schema markup to efficiently share vital product data with shoppers. If you implement structured data for ecommerce, your search results can look just as professional.
As a bonus, a rich result will take up more real estate on the SERP, giving your brand more on-page visibility overall.
All these factors can lead to more customer engagement.
While rich results aren’t a guaranteed by-product of adding schema markup to your ecommerce site, it’s still worth adding the code to your website.
How to Implement Schema for Ecommerce
The good news is that while the concept behind schema for ecommerce is complex, adding it to your site is relatively straightforward if you have some basic coding knowledge.
The exact process for implementing structured data will depend on how you run your online store, but this step-by-step guide should apply in most scenarios.
Step 1: Create the Script
Naturally, the first step is to produce your schema markup code. Though you could write your schema markup by hand, we’d recommend using Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to speed things up.
To use the tool, all you have to do is:
- Choose the “Products” data type from the list.
- Enter the URL for the product page you want to mark up and click “Start Tagging.”
- Click on a page element (such as the price or product name) and assign it the appropriate tag from the dropdown menu that appears. Repeat as needed.
- Click the “Create HTML” button at the top right.
- Choose your preferred markup format from the dropdown menu at the top. We recommend JSON-LD (as does Google).
- Copy the displayed code to your clipboard.
Step 2: Test Your Script
Before you add your script to the product page, you’ll want to test it to ensure it works. For that, we’d suggest Google’s Rich Results Test tool.
Simply toggle to the “Code” setting, paste in your script, and click “Test Code.” On the page that follows, you’ll be able to see any issues with your script and recommendations on how to fix them.
Fix any invalid items and other issues directly in the tool, then run the test again until everything works.
Step 3: Deploy the Script on Your Website
Once you’re satisfied with your script, it’s time to add it to your page.
Copy your tested script from the Google tool, then log into your content management system (CMS). From there, open the HTML viewer, paste in your code snippet and save your changes.
You can add your JSON-LD to the <head> section of your HTML document (recommended) or the <body> (if you prefer).
Run a final test of the URL through Google’s Rich Results Test, and you should be good to go!
Alternative Option: Use a Schema Plugin
If you’d rather not fuss with code, there may be an easier way to take advantage of schema markup. Stores running on a CMS like WordPress can instead use a schema markup plugin like Schema. Plugins are code-free solutions that add structured data automatically to your site.
However, you typically need the paid premium version to make the most of these plugins. Pricing is usually reasonable, but it is an extra cost to consider.
Best Practices for Using Structured Data for Ecommerce
Adding structured data to your product pages may be easy enough, but there are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Mark up individual product pages – As tempting as it may be to save time by marking up product category pages, rich results only work on pages listing a single product.
- Include what’s most relevant to the customer – The more you include, the happier the search engines will be. However, adding every little detail is a lot of work. At the very least, consider filling in the following properties:
- The price
- The product name
- A brief description
- Either review or aggregateRating (for social proof)
- Be patient – Finally, don’t expect to see your structured data in the search results right away. It can take several days after you publish your new-and-improved page for Google’s crawlers to find and re-index it.
Take Advantage of Schema Markup—and So Much More—With Human
Ultimately, every SEO practice you implement—from writing structured data for ecommerce to working on earning organic sitelinks—can bring your brand one step closer to success.
With that said, we know better than anyone the effort that goes into a successful SEO strategy. It can be a lot to keep up with. Implementing ecommerce schema markup can be a particularly complicated, time-consuming process—especially if you’re unfamiliar with the world of code.
But here’s the skinny: It’s worth the time.
That’s why we offer ecommerce-focused SEO services designed to help you grow your online business and reach your goals. Whether you need support with complex coding or want a hand with time-intensive SEO tasks, we’re ready to jump in.
Reach out to us today to see what we can do for your brand.