Looking ahead with structured data, Shopify, and SEO

A big part of running JSON-LD for SEO is trying to figure out what data Google wants and if it makes sense to add more data than the minimum.

If you’ve ever looked at structured data in any depth you’d find there are hundreds of fields and dozens of different data types that could be used.

But which ones matter?

A customer recently asked a question about two structured fields and my answer highlights how you need to think about Google and your future SEO.

As for the SKU and MPN, could you please explain how Google uses these fields? Where are the published or visible?

That’s a good question, but there’s not really a great answer from Google. This is part of their algorithm so they don’t share much of it.

This is from what I’ve noticed based on some research and testing I’ve done:

There are a lot of fields that Google requires and recommends in the structured data. But there’s only a few that are visible in the product Rich Snippets:

  • prices
  • availability
  • review counts
  • review average

But Google are tweaking and using a lot of the other data too.

For example, there’s data for product images that didn’t do anything until last August. Now those product images are used as part of Google Image Search. That change was added and the stores who already had the product image data got a boost while other stores have to play catch up now.

SKU and MPN were optional for at least a year. They weren’t even included in my app until a few months ago. But now they are recommended by Google.

It could be that Google is working on another update.

It could be that they want to use that data to refine their search algorithm.

Or they could just want that data.

(I know Google Merchant Center requires the SKU or MPN. You have to jump through hoops to be able to NOT provide it.)

One thought is that Google has been asked to add Product Rich Cards for a long time but they never have.

I might guess that in order to add that, they need a way to standardize products so they can show them all at once from the various sites. A SKU or MPN could be one easy way to do this.

But I don’t know.

Google is very secretive about their plans until they launch something. But by looking ahead you can take some reasonable guesses about what changes might happen.

Get even one of those guesses right and your could benefit from it.

I know my customers of JSON-LD for SEO have gotten a lot of benefits from installing it. One time purchase months ago is now paying off for them in additional traffic and sales.

Though I can’t promise the same results for you, installing JSON-LD for SEO can be an inexpensive investment in your store’s future.

Eric Davis

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