2020 is a turning point for e-commerce SEO

Nothing like search marketing can impact your e-commerce traffic and sales. If you are an e-commerce owner — or an e-commerce manager — you know that SEO is a key factor to drive sales, especially if paid traffic is too expensive. This year we are at a turning point: in fact, in 2020 using structured data has really become crucial to get the best exposure on Google. For free.

Here is what happened: back in April this year, Bill Ready, President of Commerce at Google, made an announcement that was going to change the game rules for e-commerce owners. Its title was loud and clear: It’s now free to sell on Google. The core message in there was:

Search results on the Google Shopping tab will consist primarily of free listings, helping merchants better connect with consumers, regardless of whether they advertise on Google.

After a few months, Bill published another important announcement: free retail listings landed on Google Search.

Now, we’re bringing free listings to the main Google Search results page in the U.S., helping shoppers choose the products and sellers that will serve them best, from the widest variety of options.

Boom! That’s really a game-changer. It allows e-commerce sites to get more exposure for their products and increase the CTR.

How can you get into Google’s Free Product Listings?

Here is where structured data comes handy. Adding a layer of metadata to all your products allows Google to display them to potential customers. So, here is the real question: how do you add structured data to your products?

In this article, I will show you how to use structured data to get organically into Google’s free product listings and also how to benefit from the same technology to gently push your users to shift from informational pages to product pages.

Why Google is selling your goods for free

Let’s take a few steps back and set the context.

Behind this openness, of course Big G is chasing its own interests.

When looking for a product, often users go straight to Amazon’s search box and skip Google search. In 2018, a research published by Jumpshot found that Amazon, with 54% of the marketshare, took over Google in terms of product search. For Google, that’s an issue.

Amazon Vs Google in the product search battle

Advertising money and sales need to stay on the same track.

To put it simply, in order to collect more money from advertisers that want to sell their products, Google needs more traffic made by users that specifically search for products. On the other side, users tend to choose Amazon because it has a larger and well organized offer of products.

In the product search battle, Google is competing with Jeff Bezos’ war machine. Some argue that even if more product searches take place directly within Amazon, Google is still an important source of traffic for all online retailers, including Amazon. Keep this in mind, because we are going to dive deeper into this specific aspect in the next paragraphs.

To overcome its most feared competitor Google needs to showcase more products — and to escalate its capacity, what Big G needs, in the end, is to have more data.

That’s why Mountain View’s giant is opening its doors to free product listing. In the long-run the data about products provided by e-commerce websites will help Google win the product search battle.

What’s in it for you?

On the bright side, between two parties, the third gain. And in this fight between two giants, e-commerce sites of all sizes are going to earn free visibility and better exposure if they play their cards well.

Implementing (or improving) structured data on your e-commerce is the way to win more visibility for your products on Google’s SERP, get a higher CTR from organic search, and ultimately close more sales.

What is structured data for e-commerce?

In the context of SEO for e-commerce, structured data is a specific piece of code that follows the standards of schema.org and allows search engines understand and classify the content of your web pages, identify your products and their specific features, and easily interact with the content architecture of your website.

Using structured data impacts SEO results because schema.org markup makes your content eligible for specific rich results and SERP features such as Google’s Free Product Listings — which help your pages gain a higher CTR.

The advantages of structured data go far beyond SEO, and also include opportunities of content reuse, internal findabilty, and semantic analytics. But, let’s start from the SERP.

How does structured data for e-commerce look like in the SERP?

Adding structured data to your products allows you to be eligible for Google Merchant and, therefore, to get into Google’s Product Listings. How your products look like on the SERP depends on how deep and accurate your data is.

With lack of structured data, your product looks poor. But when you add structured data, it’s another story. Product features and categories, rating, availability, and other relevant information create an informative rich snippet that helps your product stand out in the crowded Google Shopping page.

Think at structured data as a special trick to grab the user’s attention and improve your CTR.

As you can see in the screenshot above, accurate and complete structured data results in exhaustive Product Snippets. Inaccurate or poor structured data results in simpler snippets like the one in the screenshot below — or it may not get a spot on the SERP at all.

How to add state-of-the-art structured linked data to your e-commerce

WordLift adds to your products state-of-the-art structured data and extended product markup that allows you to get more visibility on Google’s retail listing. 

Furthermore, WordLift allows you to create a Product Knowledge Graph out of the relevant connections between products, brands, product categories and features. 

This e-commerce specific form of knowledge graph is a powerful tool to enhance the findability of your products. On one side, it helps you get better results in terms of organic search traffic and, on the other, it helps you improve the internal linking structure and refine your product recommendations

If you want to learn more about this and discuss your e-commerce SEO with one of our experts, just book a call.

Grow your organic traffic and give a boost to your conversions

If you want to learn more about this topic, don’t miss Doreid Haddad’s webinar: how structured data impacts e-commerce sales. In 43 minutes, he shares with you best practices, practical tips, and tools to improve your e-commerce SEO through structured data.

If you don’t know where to start with SEO, have a look at our SEO Management Service and discover how we can build business results together.

Transactional, informational, and mixed search intents

Sure, when a user searches for a specific product, this search is most likely going to result in a conversion. That’s why the so-called transactional queries worth so much to Google and to its advertisers — and most of the time they are also very competitive in terms of CPC.

But transactional queries are not the only way to get a sale done.

Informational searches can also play a role into the customer journey — and here is where content marketing makes the most sense: in fact, when you help potential customers to better understand a matter connected with your products and you can trigger them to buy your products.

Mixed search intents are often overlooked, but they can play a key role for your sales.

What are mixed search intents and how to target them

Search intent is not always binary. Many SERPs try to give an answer to mixed search intents.

In these cases, Google populates the SERP with both informational and transactional result, allowing customers to disambiguate their need by making a choice.

Let’s say that you have an eyewear e-commerce. Of course, in terms of SEO you are targeting eyeglasses brands and specific products that you are selling. But, there is more potential in users’ searches.

For example, a potential customer who wants to buy new sunglasses may not look for a specific brand or model, and instead try to figure out what are the latest trends before making a purchase. The query would look something like this: sunglasses 2020. Here is what Google gives to these kind of users, whose real intent is ambiguous.

As you can see the search engine result page (SERP) contains a Sponsored Product Carousel on the top, while most of the blue links are informative pieces of content related with sunglasses trends for this year.

What does it mean? As an e-commerce owner, you can target these mixed search intents to attract potential customers on your website both by entering into Google’s Product listings (paid, in this specific case), and by creating a page which puts together informative content and a showcase of your products related with the search.

How to gently push your readers to shift from informational to product pages

For sure, Content marketing is a powerful way to attract potential customers that are just looking for information, exploring a topic, and maybe planning to buy. How do you trigger your readers to buy a product? 

To shift from informational to transactional intents, you need to gently push your readers to become customers. WordLift puts in the hands of any e-commerce owner the tools to help potential customers take the leap and buy something.

1. Product Navigator

WordLift’s Product Navigator gives a concrete shape to your readers’ desires by suggesting a series of products that they might be interested in. 

The Product Navigator of WordLift for WooCommerce on Oakley.com USA

2. Product Faceted Search

In a way, the Product Faceted Search is similar to the product Navigator, with the difference that, interacting with the refinement chips, users can narrow the selection of products on the basis of their own interest. 

With the Product Faceted Search, users can refine the selection following their own interests

3. Product Context Card

When you mention a specific product on a page, Context Cards allow your readers to have a sneak peek on that product by looking at a very nice preview.  

How Product Context Cards look like in the context of an editorial piece of content

Wrap-up: the pillars of e-commerce SEO strategy in 2020

Structured Data is the key

Nowadays, adding structured data to your e-commerce product is not only the easiest way to enter into Google Free Product Listings, but it’s also the best one, as it allows you to dive deep into the product features. In this way, the users will get an outstanding first glance of your product on the SERP and be enticed to click.

If you use WordLift, you can add state-of-the-art structured linked data to your e-commerce without writing a single line of code. The AI will take care of that.

Mixed search intents are the low hanging fruit in search marketing for e-commerce websites

Searches are not black or white. The fact that Google can’t disambiguate the intent behind generic searches is an opportunity in terms of content marketing. Creating content that targets mixed intent queries could untapp many sales.

Always Be Closing

Pushing your content readers and potential customers to click on one of your products and buy it requires an intelligent mix of content and UX. Showcasing your products on informational pages or giving to your customers several alternatives and product pairings create a number of chances for the users to see, desire, buy what you’re selling.

If you have an e-commerce and you want to discuss your SEO strategy with us, book a call with one of our experts.

Schedule a free audit of the structured data on your e-commerce

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