Your Ecommerce Shop & Structured Data - Solutions Abound

Providing search engines with structured, detailed information about the products' available in an online store is a powerful approach to optimizing the digital experience for users. And the benefits to ecommerce merchants are pretty significant as well.

Support for and microdata means adding extra machine-readable information to existing Web pages so search engines can learn more about the content on a website. That means websites can essentially tell the search engines something additional about the products being listed by the store such as the number of reviews a product has received, the product's availability, or specific properties including price by simply adding a few extra tags to the HTML. The good news is that it's not nearly as difficult as it seems at first impression.

Using structured data on a website essentially just requires adding in elements to the HTML tags that enclose information about the item that we want to display differently on the search results. That can be somewhat tricky depending on the ecommerce platform that is currently being used, but on the whole, it's a relatively straightforward process for designers and developers that entails 1) figuring out what to make available in a structured form (like price and availability) and 2) modifying the HTML according to standards.

Fortunately, most of today's top ecommerce systems have support built-in at the core or provide either plugins, extensions, or modules to facilitate the integration of structured data.

As seen in the Mastering Search column of the March 2016 issue of Website Magazine, the Rich Snippets Suite for Magento provides an opportunity to very easily use structured data in an ecommerce store, but there are others for that specific solution including RichSnippets from QuirkyFox Labs and Rich Snippets CTR Boost from Media Rocks.

Magento, of course, isn't the only ecommerce system that understands the importance of structured data. Almost every one of the top-ecommerce systems provides at least some guidance on the topic or some solution to simplify integration. Shopify users, for example, can find a great deal of useful information in that community's forums as well as the JSON-LD for SEO tool available in the Shopify App Store. OpenCart users also have several extensions from which they can choose.

The best advice you can get about presenting data in a structured way for the benefit of search engine users (and your own enterprise) is to first check with the ecommerce system currently have in place. Most will have some existing process or solution, or in the least will have some documentation available for guidance.