What will they do in return? For example, you can get rich snippets for your products. And rich snippets improve products CTR in search engine results significantly: http://inchoo.net/online-marketing/microdata-markup-is-now-more-important-for-ecommerce-websites-than-ever/.
There is also a very interesting second order effect microdata can have on your search engine rankings. Though Google says having microdata and rich snippets is not a ranking signal, CTR is a ranking signal. Putting two and two together is left as an exercise for the reader.
We recently had a case where clients site emitted microdata for products through 2 third-party extensions – one for product details and the other one for reviews. Google algorithms were not impressed. No rich snippets for our clients products:
We found 3 problems with the existing implementation:
- Review and product microdata was disjointed. It was on the same page, but bots saw it as 2 different schemas, while it really needed to be connected.
- Product microdata was incomplete. It was good enough for Google Shopping, but not complete enough for Google Search.
- All microdata was emitted inside user invisible, <meta> tags.
Fixing them meant turning off the output of these 2 extensions, and making custom code to add proper, complete microdata to product pages on our clients site.
It’s not worth doing anything, if you can’t measure the results of your work. So, here is a tool that will tell you if your microdata is good or not: https://developers.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool/.
Secondly, be sure to know exactly what they want you to provide:
Note that there are 3 options for structured data format currently. Microdata, RDFa & JSON-LD. Microdata has the best support, so that’s what we used and recommend.
Down and dirty
Just a few advices for microdata implementation:
Google isn’t everything, especially in some markets, so it might be wise to check other search engines documentation. For example, when sending VideoObject microdata, and adding a thumbnail image, Google wants
itemprop="thumbnailUrl" property, and Yandex wants
itemprop="thumbnail" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/ImageObject" with its
Other thing to consider is not messing up product microdata for other consumers besides search engine bots, e.g. Google Shopping. So, be careful, and test, but the safest bet is to give all microdata you can. While leaving out some pieces of schema may lead search engines to discard your metadata, extra data does not hurt.
You can put all microdata in <meta> tags, and it’s technically easier to do, but it’s better to append it to visible elements on page because it will shorten your html, and, because we think search engines like real, user visible page elements decorated with microdata as an assurance that you are not trying to scam them. It’s a horrible world out there, yeah.
Nothing is guaranteed. Google literally gives you all the requirements, and when you fulfill them, they may give you rich snippets. But if there is one thing that seems to trigger their algorithm deciding to give you rich snippets, that would be product reviews. If you don’t have them, do your best to get them from users.
Once our improved microdata for products was online, Google’s algorithms enabled rich snippets for our clients products in just one day:
Now, that feels more clickable, doesn’t it? And here are examples that prove it. This product got the full rich snippet, with rating, number of reviews, price and stock status. It’s CTR increased from 3.58% in the month before rich snippet to 4.05% in the month after:
This product made the record, with CTR improved from 5.16% to 7.76% after the rich snippets. Right below it in SERP stayed the same product from another shop. Without rich snippets. We bet their CTR was much lower:
And so on. What’s most important, no matter to what percent, every product in our clients lineup had CTR increased in the period, proving how positive is the impact of rich snippets.
Broader view shows that our client improved their mobile conversion rate by 103.59%, and revenue by 200.20%, but we’ve done plenty more besides microdata in this timeframe, so that’s more an indication of what Inchoo can do for you, than what microdata can. What we are sure of is that those rich snippets surely didn’t hurt this statistic either.
Though we concentrated on product microdata here, that’s not the end. There are plenty other microdata schemas which may apply to your site. Search engine bots are data hungry beasts, and feeding them well sure pays off.
If you want to learn more about how we can help you with your microdata, contact us anytime.