Who is responsible for the structured data in your Shopify store?

Yesterday I was looking at my support metrics and saw that 42% of my support conversations for JSON-LD for SEO were problems in another app’s or the theme’s structured data.

While it’s not the fault of my app, I do know enough about how structured data works that I’ll still respond and try to help the customer understand what’s going on. Oftentimes the problems in the theme and other apps can be ignored, as Google is quite forgiving with many classes of structured data issues as long as JSON-LD for SEO is used.

(My hypothesis for this is because for years, structured data has been poorly coded and if Google followed the specifications strictly, billions of webpages would be disqualified)

This reminded me of a forum thread a customer sent me awhile back where many people were trying to fix their structured data issues and were dishing out blame to everyone they could.

When it comes to the structured data in your store, the responsibility falls to whomever added the code.

Oftentimes that’s the theme developer and any apps that add code to your storefront. Other times it might be code that was copied-and-pasted from the Internet into your store (don’t do that, that’s a fast way to get a Google penalty).

Surprisingly to most people, Shopify’s platform doesn’t create any structured data. They don’t even create any of the webpages for your store themselves, it’s all your theme and app’s code.

Shopify will load and run the theme’s code and give that code data from your store, but it’s not actually Shopify who is responsible for the final HTML output or structured data.

Now, if you’re using a theme or app developed and maintained by Shopify then "Shopify the Platform" still isn’t responsible but "Shopify the developer of the theme XYZ" would be responsible. Usually those teams are separate from the "Shopify the Platform" teams though sometimes they share support.

Tracking down who is responsible though can be problematic though. Many apps modify the theme anonymously and anyone with access to your theme can add in custom code, making it difficult to see who did what. I’ve even seen some apps edit the actual products descriptions to sneak data in (with no way to undo those edits).

That’s why JSON-LD for SEO includes its name and tries to be transparent about which code comes from it. It’s also easy to remove (just one line).

Most Shopify themes and even SEO apps don’t quality for Google’s Rich Results so you lose out on highly visible SEO enhancements.

JSON-LD for SEO provides high-quality data that will let your store qualify for Rich Results. Often times faster than the industry averages.

Eric Davis

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