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Allie Vanden Heuvel

How to Use Microdata on Your E-Commerce Site

Allie Vanden Heuvel

What if I told you that you could increase your search click through rate by up to 30%? I bet you’d be interested. What if the next thing I told you is that getting there only requires some simple changes to be made? Now you’d really be interested.

So what is this miracle worker I speak of? Microdata.

Microdata has been a huge benefit for e-commerce sites in multiple ways over the past couple years, and the fact that it’s easy to integrate it into your site makes it a must-do. We’ll cover how to use it for your e-commerce site and why you should be using it. But first, let’s start with the basics of what microdata exactly is. 

What is microdata?

Microdata is an HTML language (HTML5) used to help search engines understand what the content on your site is and what it means. When the search engine spiders begin to crawl your site, if your site contains microdata in the code, the engines will be able to serve up more relevant results to the searchers based on the HTML5 tags.

Since you have an e-commerce site, you want the search engines to know what you sell is a product. Not anything else. And better yet, your product has reviews on it that all consumers want easy access to.

Here’s an easy-to-understand explanation from schema.org that helps put it into perspective a bit better:

“HTML tags tell the browser how to display the information included in the tag. For example, <h1>Avatar</h1> tells the browser to display the text string "Avatar" in a heading 1 format. However, the HTML tag doesn't give any information about what that text string means — "Avatar" could refer to the hugely successful 3D movie, or it could refer to a type of profile picture — and this can make it more difficult for search engines to intelligently display relevant content to a user.”

Why is microdata important for e-commerce?

Integrating microdata into your site offers significant advantages as an e-commerce marketer, and many sites have admitted to seeing a great improvement in organic search since implementing it.

Dutch car insurance site (Independer.nl) saw a 28% increase in search CTR after implementing microdata. I bet that’s a result most of you would like to see and report to your boss. ALJT Media also saw a huge increase in organic search traffic that they attribute to implementing microdata on their site, as well.

HTML5 tags can (and should) be added to all of the products on your site. By having this code on your pages, search engines can pull in relevant data such as product name, description, price, etc. to users. By telling the search engines that the content on your site is a product name and product description, rather than just plain content, this allows the engines to send more qualified traffic to your product pages.

Microdata can also be implemented on product reviews — another key player in e-commerce marketing. Proper HTML5 tags can be implemented on each individual review, as well as to the aggregate reviews, so customers can see an overall average rating of the product without having to click into each review.

How do I implement microdata on my e-commerce site?

Implementing microdata on your site is fairly simple. It is done by adding the HTML5 tags to product information so the search engines can easily read what the items are on your site.

You’ll want to add HTML5 tags to fully optimize your products to the following:

·         Product Name

·         Product Image

·         Product Description

·         Product Price

·         Availability

·         Product Reviews

·         URL

Here’s an example of what a product may look like before adding microdata:

LG 32" Flat Screen TV

<img src="lg-tv-32in.jpg" alt='LG 32" TV' />

Rated 3.5/5 based on 11 customer reviews


In stock

Product description:

32” LG Flat Screen TV has great quality picture and sound. Includes tv stand and is wi fi ready.

Customer reviews:

Not overly impressed - by Sarah, January 1, 2014

1/5 stars

I thought the picture could would have been more clear and crisp.

Great TV - by Matt, February 25, 2014

4/5 stars

Impressed with the quality. Great size for a bedroom.


Now here’s an example of what the product looks like with microdata with schema.org:

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Product">

 <span itemprop="name">LG 32” Flat Screen TV</span>

 <img src="lg-flat-screen-tv-32in.jpg" alt='LG 32" TV' />

 <div itemprop="aggregateRating"

itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/AggregateRating">

  Rated <span itemprop="ratingValue">3.5</span>/5

  based on <span itemprop="reviewCount">11</span> customer reviews


 <div itemprop="offers" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Offer">

<span itemprop="price">$200.00</span>

<link itemprop="availability" href="http://schema.org/InStock" />In stock


 Product description:

 <span itemprop="description">32” LG Flat Screen TV has great quality picture and sound.

 Includes tv stand is wi fi ready.</span>

 Customer reviews:

 <div itemprop="review" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Review">

<span itemprop="name">Not overly impressed</span> -

by <span itemprop="author">Sarah</span>,

<meta itemprop="datePublished" content="2014-01-01">January 4, 2014

<div itemprop="reviewRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Rating">

  <meta itemprop="worstRating" content = "1">

  <span itemprop="ratingValue">1</span>/

  <span itemprop="bestRating">5</span>stars


<span itemprop="description">I thought the picture would have been more clear and crisp.</span>


 <div itemprop="review" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Review">

<span itemprop="name">Great TV</span> -

by <span itemprop="author">Matt</span>,

<meta itemprop="datePublished" content="2014-02-25">February 25, 2014

<div itemprop="reviewRating" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Rating">

  <meta itemprop="worstRating" content = "1"/>

  <span itemprop="ratingValue">4</span>/

  <span itemprop="bestRating">5</span>stars


<span itemprop="description">Impressed with the quality. Great size for a bedroom.




Just by glancing at it, you’ll notice how much more detail comes along with integrating microdata to your products. The more detail you can provide the search engines about your product through these specific tags, the better.

By having microdata on your site you have also given Google the opportunity to provide a rich code snippet. If Google understands the content on your site, they can give a better experience to their users.

See this example of three sites selling a coffee maker. Two of them have a rich code snippet, one of them does not. Which are you more likely to click on?

final snippet

You’ll see something similar here with only apple.com pulling in a rich code snippet to make a much more attractive link to click on.


To learn more about rich code snippets, visit Google Webmaster Tools.

Not a coder? Not a problem

For you less tech-savvy e-commerce marketers who want to do microdata but can’t build it into your code, consider using the Webmaster Data Highlighter.

This is an easy and efficient way to select information on your site and tell Google how you want it to appear as a rich code snippet. Take a look at this short video for more information on how it works and how to get started. Keep in mind that the Data Highlighter can only be used on pages that have been recently crawled by Google.

In conclusion

Microdata is excellent to use on all e-commerce sites.

It allows the search engines to provide relevant information to users, which then in return drives increased qualified traffic to your site and products. It provides a good experience to users from the get-go.

While microdata is not required to be on your site, I would strongly recommend implementing it as soon as possible and giving Google the opportunity to provide rich code snippets for your products when users search for them. It gives the users more detailed information, and they are more enticing to click on.

Do you think having microdata on an e-commerce site is as important as I do?

Author bio:

Allie Vanden Heuvel is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Savvy Panda. She enjoys all things inbound marketing, and driving growth and improvements to multiple businesses and organizations.

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