How Shopify review apps make it easy or impossible to integrate with them

Recently I was chatting with a customer about what it takes to add a new product review app integration for JSON-LD for SEO.

Most of the time, the only thing standing in the way of an integration is the review app itself.

Some reviews apps are open and make it easy to share your review data with your theme and other apps. I can research, build, and release integrations with these apps in a matter of hours.

Other review apps hide and lockdown your data so no one can access it, not even your theme or apps you authorized.

(And some review apps won’t even let you export your own reviews but that’s a rant for another day…)

Behind the scenes Shopify has an official, built-in way to share data between various apps and the theme called Metafields. All of my regular integrations use that to read the review data.

In other words, the good review apps save a copy of their review data in Shopify and then JSON-LD for SEO can read it and format it for the structured data.

It makes integrations super simple and best of all…

They make for fast stores.

Since that data is already in Shopify, it just appears.

Contrast that to other schemes review apps use that require loading even more JavaScript or running your own private server to access the data. Then you run into problems around keeping the data updated, differences in search engines that can’t read JavaScript, and crashes when your store receives a lot of traffic.

For years I’ve been trying to get review apps to follow Shopify’s process and use Metafields but it’s like pulling teeth. Metafields are better for Shopify, better for your store performance, and it makes using your review data much easier.

Someday maybe Shopify will make it requirement for review apps.

I guy can dream right?

Eric Davis

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