Do online shops have it worse or better off than brick-and-mortar retailers when it comes to securing new customers? In today’s digital economy, eCommerce shops come out on top. Because while the density of web-based product information continues to multiply, so do the tools geared at helping shoppers sort through it all.
We’re talking about rich snippets. They’re how eCommerce retailers can increase engagement with their products, all before the potential customer lands on their product page.
But how does this work? What are enhanced search results and rich snippets? We’ll introduce you to both.
What Are Rich Snippets and Enhanced Search Results?
The best way to begin is by explaining what rich snippets are (also referred to as featured or enhanced search results).
To see what these search results look like, open your browser and quickly search for a consumer good. For example, let’s look for AirPods. You’ll notice that the first listings that pop up include ads and links to online stores where you can buy this product.
On the other hand, some results have structured data that you can quickly skim through, as shown in the screenshot below. This result is much more insightful than the previous one, agree? It’s visible and grabs your attention, and that’s what rich snippets do.
The things that make a rich search results snippet great is that it can include and conveniently display crucial product information, such as:
- whether the item is in stock;
- the price of the product;
- an overall rating in the form of stars;
- a short description of the item.
Such a format brings much more value to the user. And it attracts their attention too. In fact, based on a recent study, featured snippets can have a visible click-through rate share. We’re talking about more than 35%.
This is good news for eCommerce stores, as more organic traffic may get you additional conversions and a higher page ranking. So, you can work on improving your online store in these terms alongside your other SEO efforts, such as Core Web Vitals optimization. A 2021 Google update has put the usability of a website high on the pedestal. This is one of the reasons why many online stores started taking steps towards headless commerce architecture and redeveloping their storefronts as progressive web applications. You can browse these Magento 2 PWA examples to get a better understanding of what they’re like.
How Are Such Snippets Formed?
That said, you inform the search engines about your products by using product schema. It can then be used to define microdata (visible to the user) or JSON+LD (invisible). These should give a clear picture to the search engines.
Notably, the most popular eCommerce platforms already support product schema for rich snippets by default, including Magento, Shopify and BigCommerce.
1. Product Information: Metadata
Begin your optimization with on-page SEO tweaks. How much information can you squeeze into your metadata? Well, if you do it right, you’ll be able to include the basics that people are looking for, such as the main specs of the item.
Let me remind you that the average meta description is as little as 160 characters. Thus, do your best to highlight the most prominent data.
If the user is searching for a JBL speaker, you’ll want to include things like the brand name and the product’s major strengths. If you manage to fit in your target keywords, great!
However, you may also include just enough information here to get people excited about the product and to make them click over to your website and look at it in more depth.
As long as there is some information clarifying that you know quite a bit about the product and that you sell it (this is the most critical point), everything will be fine. You can add additional details on that particular product page on your website.
Moreover, make sure that this short description is well written since people will be judging things based on that as well. Typos and other issues turn too many people off, so focus on the data-driven eCommerce marketing strategy.
2. Take Care of Your Store’s Reputation: Reviews
Your online reputation and how your customers evaluate what you sell both count a lot. Why? People tend to gravitate towards stores they can trust. Having decent reviews is the best way to show that they can indeed trust you.
Plus, your rating will appear in rich search results. The more positive reviews that you have complete with star ratings, the better.
Of course, controlling your online reputation requires effort. But you can start by providing good customer service and quality products while encouraging people to leave reviews of all kinds.
However, don’t offer your customers anything in exchange for a positive review, as that can cause problems. Plus, it’s unethical, if not illegal.
With that said, make sure that your product pages have a decent ratings and reviews section. For instance, this is how Reebok displays customer feedback on product pages.
We see a section that collects all reviews, as well as a small star rating in the main product overview area on the right.
Do we have to bring up that this is the data regarding the item’s rating that the search engine will pull into the product results snippet? Look at the screenshot below. There, we have it. The Nano X Shoes have 2018 reviews and a 4.6 rating.
3. Pricing & Availability
Pricing and availability also appear in rich search results. This information needs to be prominently listed on the product pages of your eCommerce website, or else it won’t pop up where it needs to.
Why is the item’s price something that your rich search results must include? Easy. Because people like to shop around for the best price before they decide to buy something. The more obvious your price is, the better, especially if it’s clearly the lowest sum out there. If you can beat your competitors here, you’ll receive the business.
The availability attribute is also easy to understand. Is the item available for purchase? Is it in stock? If it is, then this needs to be shown in the rich search results along with the price.
This is something that you shouldn’t lie about. If you don’t have it in stock or if it’s back-ordered, then make that obvious. Basically, if you have plenty of that item in stock, include this detail. You’ll find that many customers will just head to the first place where they can order it from, if they don’t want to shop around.
I’ve entered “Satin pillowcase” in the search. Here are the results before me. Personally, I find the first snippet result more complete and satisfactory than the second one because it states the price and availability.
4. Additional Product Details
Do you have anything else to highlight about the product you’re selling? Give more details. Product-rich snippets can show additional information about the item.
Dimensions, weight, ingredients and even best-use scenarios — whatever matters to your customers for your specific product. This part of the result can give answers to possible questions, help the user compare and prove you have taken the time to include as much detail as possible.
Check out which product details of a whiteboard appear in the snippet. Straight away a shopper can make conclusions whether this product suits their needs. We see the board’s size, frame color and recommended use.
Rich snippets are surely a way to boost your eCommerce store’s CTR and possibly your conversions. The snippets can help your pages become more noticeable among the other search results and will give shoppers a lot of important information about the product.
However, you must understand that even if you’ve done everything right, there’s still a chance that a search engine might not display your snippet within the SERP. But it surely won’t hurt to rethink your product pages. Optimize them in terms of eCommerce SEO, improve them with a neat reviews section and generally aim at enhancing the store’s performance.