Google doesn’t do a great job of describing how the search results work between Google Search and their paid ads from Google Ads and Merchant Center.
A JSON-LD for SEO customer was asking about this when I sent him the following email. It’s not a perfectly precise definition but I think it can help as an overview of how many of Google’s systems fit together.
Google Search, Rich Snippets, and reviews in the search results are one system, call it the organic system.
Google Merchant Center, ads, and reviews in the ads are a different system, call it the paid traffic system.
JSON-LD for SEO will add the structured data for your store to the organic system. If you use a reviews app I’ve integrated with, it’ll also pull out your reviews for the organic system.
JSON-LD for SEO’s role in the paid traffic system is very limited. The same structured data it adds for the organic system is used by Merchant Center when they audit your landing page to make sure your ads prices, availability, and condition are correct. This is part of Merchant Center’s Automatic Item Updates feature (which you’ll want to use).
The rest of the paid traffic system is handled by Shopify or other apps and services. This includes the system to send your product data to Merchant Center, called a data feed, and another system to send your product reviews. Many times you’ll need two different systems to get all of that data into Merchant Center.
Then once that data is in Merchant Center, you can use Google Ads publish ads that appear in the search results. These can be regular Adwords ads, Product Listing Ads, or any number of other ad formats Google creates.
If your Shopify store hasn’t received Rich Results yet, installing JSON-LD for SEO could be a quick and easy improvement that can lead to more traffic.
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