Competition for top Google rankings is at an all-time high as more and more businesses continue to move online.
To help e-commerce sites that struggle to be discovered, Google Search Central has released a new guide on e-commerce best practices for Google Search. Full of useful information, this guide is a developer’s roadmap for designing a Google-friendly e-commerce website that will show up more frequently in search results, helping customers find their store and products.
We scoured the detailed and in-depth guide so you don’t have to (although if you have time, you totally should!)
Here are our favorite tips from Google’s new e-commerce guide.
Upload Product Data to Google Merchant Center
Uploading product data to Google Merchant Center will help the search engine better understand your products, giving them a better chance at appearing in relevant search results.
Small companies that update products less frequently can use an automated feed to periodically crawl their site to pull the product data right into Google. This won’t provide Google with the most in-depth information, but automated feeds take a lot of the guesswork out of uploading your data.
Larger companies with more frequently changing products can manually upload data feeds to Google Merchant Center to have more control over how they appear in search results. Automated feeds can’t guarantee when changes will be implemented because they only crawl sites at certain times. However, manually uploading the information ensures that updates are made when you want to make them.
Include Structured Data
Google is good at understanding what a webpage is about, but you can help it understand your website even more (therefore helping your ranking chances!) by including structured e-commerce data on your site.
Structured data, or schema, is a standardized machine-readable coding format that describes the content of the page in detail. The more structured data you include, the more Google can do with it.
You should include the following structured data on your site:
Interested in learning more about schema? Check out this post for more best practices and helpful tools.
Use Quality URL Structures
Quality URLs help Google find and retrieve your e-commerce pages more efficiently.
E-commerce platforms usually handle URLs for you, so this tip is for people building their own sites from scratch.
Avoid using too many alternative URLs that return the same content as Google may not realize they are for the same page until after both pages have been crawled and retrieved. If your web server treats upper- and lower-case text in the same way, use the same case for all text so it’s easier for Google to determine when URLs reference the same page. Finally, use descriptive words in URLs so Google can understand them better. For instance, /product/silver-aluminum-insulated-bottle is much better than /product/8095.
Display Partial Results for Better UX
For example, searching for ‘fork’ on a silverware website could draw up hundreds of results. Rather than loading all those products onto a single page, breaking the results up into multiple pages – also known as pagination – will take some stress off your site.
You can break up results in multiple ways:
- Pagination: Results display in multiple pages separated with numbers and “next” and “previous” buttons to navigate between them.
- Load more: Instead of multiple pages, a “load more” button at the bottom of the page reveals more results right there.
- Infinite scroll: Users simply scroll to the bottom of the page to load fresh results.
Even More Resources for E-Commerce Businesses
After reading our summary of Google’s latest e-commerce recommendations (and maybe after even reading out the best practices yourself!), you’re probably itching for some more e-commerce education. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check out these resources: