How Microdata Can Help Your E-commerce Site

You can increase the organic search click-thru rate of your e-commerce site by up to 30% with relatively little extra effort. Nope, that’s not just a fairy tale, a dream you had once or a sales pitch. And it’s easier than you may think.  It comes down to one word: microdata.

Case studies from retail firms around the world have documented up to 30% increases in organic traffic just from adding a few lines of extra HTML code to their sites.

What Is Microdata?

Microdata (a form of structured data) is a type of HTML language (HTML5) that helps search engines better understand the content of your site and what it means. As search engine spiders crawl your site, they come across the microdata in the code and serve up more relevant results to searchers.

Structured data is a general term for all markups including microdata microformats, and RDFa. Microdata is the recommended markup, but any will work to create rich snippets in the search listings. Snippets are the lines of copy that appear below each link in the search results and give the user an idea of what the page is about. Microdata defines pieces of the content as specific types of information (such as reviews, recipes, events, videos and more) which then allows Google to create rich snippets. This is incredibly useful for SEO on all sites, but especially e-commerce.

Why Use Microdata for E-commerce?

The goal of an e-commerce site is to sell a product. Microdata makes it easier for consumers to find the product they’re looking for and decide where to purchase it before even clicking a link. Sites with rich snippets simply look better in search listings than those without. They also include valuable information for searchers which makes them look more reputable and trustworthy. The pleasing looks of a search listing with rich snippets is a big reason for the increased click-thru rate.

Example without rich snippets:

sans rich snippets

Example with rich snippets:

rich snippets office depot

Which result would you be more likely to click? Probably the second, right? It includes information that you’re looking for as a consumer … the price, rating, reviews and even if it’s in stock or not.

How to Implement Microdata

Implementing microdata is actually fairly simple and only requires adding the HTML5 tag to the product information within the code. To fully optimize product pages, make sure to include the tags for:

  • Product Name
  • Image
  • Description
  • Price
  • Availability
  • Reviews/Ratings
  • URL provides a really handy list of microdata markup tags that are supported by major search engines, including Google, Yahoo! and Bing. The Structured Data Markup Helper is also extremely useful and shows you exactly how you should update your site. Once you have the microdata (or any other form of structured data) in place, make sure it’s working correctly by running it through the Structured Data Testing Tool.

Although it’s not mandatory, the fact that microdata is so helpful and simple to integrate into a site makes it an absolute must for e-commerce sites. It allows search engines to serve users with relevant information which will increase qualified traffic to your site and products.

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