Industrial and Business-to-Business (B2B) markets often find themselves on an uncomfortable playing field. B2C companies have flashy marketing strategies, pretty websites, and seem to get all the glory.
B2B is different. These websites can be modern looking, but typically need to focus on functionality above all else since their users are often engineers needing a CAD download, purchasers needing to easily buy products in bulk, or simply users looking for custom or niche products and services.
Product Schema can be an incredible way for Industrial and B2B companies to set themselves apart in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and compete, no matter their company size.
Product Schema Overview
Product Schema is part of an overall umbrella of Schema, which is just another way of saying “Structured Data.” Schema (or Structured Data) is a way of clearly communicating to Search Engines the difference between different data points on a website or webpage.
- Is that 9-digit number a phone number, fax number, product ID, or model number?
- Is a term on the page a product name, model name, or manufacturer?
Adding Product Schema markup to the code clearly defines all the pertinent and important data points of products to Google in a language they not only recognize but adamantly prefer. In just the past few weeks, Google has added Product Schema requirements to Search Console highlighting additional specifications they want to see in this markup. Any time Google adds anything to Search Console, Digital Marketing Professionals pay attention and respond. And you should as well.
Product Schema is very robust. There are many markup options available to allow for specific clarification as to what data points are for a given product. However, the options are exact and predetermined by Schema.org. When adding the markup to the website, a Digital Marketing Specialist (and Developer) must follow the requirements and scope defined by Schema.org. Without following the requirements precisely, the added benefits of having Product Schema will not materialize.
One way to see how the code is registering is to test it using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
After you fetch a product page’s URL, you will see all the applied schema categories. Clicking into the Product Schema option will allow you to see any Warnings or Errors firing.
Note: Warnings cannot always be remedied. Sometimes there are attributes available in Product Schema that will not apply to your product. That is OK. Warnings can just help identify additional areas that are available, but they may not be applicable. Errors, on the other hand, should be remedied.
Another place you can see the above information is directly within Search Console. There is a URL Inspection area to submit URLs that will display any errors or warnings with Product Schema.
Product Schema Alters Results in the SERPs
When Product Schema is added to the code of a product page it qualifies for additional “rich” features in the SERPs. These additional features can greatly increase click-through rates and make a result stand out among the competition.
If a website has e-commerce and lists Prices, the Price can be displayed in the results when Product Schema is present and properly implemented. If there are warnings or errors, click into the products section and expand the details and you will be able to see the same data the Structured Data Testing Tool gave you.
Product Schema with Price Displayed
Below is an example of where Price is displayed in the SERPs. This will only happen if Product Schema is properly implemented.
Products Schema with Review Markup
Another very impressive feature of Product Schema is Review markup. To be able to add Review markup, your website must have a Reviews Module added for users to be able to review your products. Review markup has specific attributes assigned to it that should be present as well.
- Date Published
Below is an example of how the Google Structured Data Testing Tool shows this markup:
Based on the information above, you can see how it altered this product’s result in the SERP’s.
Taking Cues from Google
The reason this is such a focus right now is that Google has added an area in its newest version of Search Console that specifically calls out Errors regarding Product Schema. In a general sense, Google has always had structured data information in Search Console. However, in February 2019 Google added additional requirements for Product Schema and has displayed the Products field directly under Mobile Usability in the Enhancements section.
Any time Google highlights something like this, SEOs take notice. Google is saying “This is important!”
Schema is Ever-Evolving and Expanding
It is important to understand that nothing with Google and SEO is static. Google is constantly expanding requirements for websites wanting to compete in the SERPs. If you want to be present in relevant searches you cannot ignore or neglect your website’s SEO. It will never be “done”. Every quarter Schema.org is expanding available markup options and Google keeps expanding their Developers Guide with additional structured data information.
Given that schema is code based, many may struggle with what to do next. Unless you are a Developer, it can seem daunting. Totally valid…very common. Given that schema needs to be implemented correctly for it to be effective, it is always recommended to work with someone who knows what they are doing. Certain platforms will have plugins you can try that will allow you to add schema. Be sure to test it though!!!
As a Digital Marketing Manager, I will always recommend having an SEO (or Digital Marketing) Program with a company that knows is up-to-date with the latest trends and has the capability to implement structured data efficiently and effectively. Why? Because SEO is complex and never static. Staying up-to-date is difficult and having a team of professionals (a “brain trust” if you will) is vital to staying current. No one person can know it all, and it all is important and intertwined. SEO Best Practices and requirements are a web that all work together.
Want help? The Digital Marketing Team at Ecreativeworks is skilled in product schema evaluation and implementation. Request an evaluation today!