Google updated its guidance on product structured data
Google Search Central updated its Products Structured Data documentation to clarify the product-related pages that qualify for structured data.
Product Structured Data
Structured data is a way to communicate information about a web page to search engines.
It is not meant to be seen by users visiting a web page.
Search engines use structured data to understand webpages better. It also allows search engines to display the information presented in the structured data in an attractive and practical manner, which can result in more traffic for web pages.
That’s why it’s crucial to implement the markup as prescribed by Google, particularly for product structured data.
Google shows rich results for specific products in Google search as well as in Google images.
Rich results for products display information such as price, customer ratings, and availability.
The guidelines published for product rich results, like all of Google’s guidelines on the use of structured data, are strict on what kinds of pages the structured data can be used on.
The main criteria for the product structured data is that it can only appear on pages that are about a single product.
Structured Data For Product Variants
Products are generally sold with multiple variations, including size, model and color.
Retailers typically publish product pages that contain multiple variations of the same product on the same web page. That makes it easy for potential buyers to view, compare and select variations of the same product.
But what about websites that publish multiple web pages for the different variations of the same product? Is it okay to use the same structured data (with minor variations) for each web page?
Or do you select one page as representative for the product and use the structured data on that one page?
Google Search Central updated the guidelines for product structured data to clarify how to use structured data for product variants.
The guidance for using structured data for each specific product remains the same. Rich results still only support structured data for pages devoted to a single web page.
What changed is that Google clarified that web pages focused on variations on a single product can qualify for rich results and can benefit from having their own structured data.
To qualify for a rich result, the product variation page must be published on a “distinct URL.”
The product structured data guidance states:
“Use markup for a specific product, not a category or list of products. For example, “shoes in our shop” is not a specific product. Currently, product rich results only support pages that focus on a single product.”
Then it shows the updated guidance immediately after the previous sentence:
“This includes product variants where each product variant has a distinct URL.”
What’s The Big Deal?
Google’s updated guidance clears up any confusion on whether to add structured data to product pages that feature the same product but in different variations.
For example, a merchant can have a web page about a shoe and then multiple separate web pages for the different colors of that shoe.
The web pages for the different colors of the shoe can have their own product structured data and will qualify for Google rich results based on those variations.
Of course, this doesn’t change any search-related guidance warning against creating cookie-cutter pages that are essentially the same page with minor variations.