Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rich snippets for shoppingsites

When the holiday season begins, it is only to be expected that there will be rich snippets for all online business and e-commerce sites. To those who are lessfamiliar, rich snippets are search results made more captivating using the structured data from your web pages. It usually displays price, availability, and product features and is generally informative and customer-friendly.
Many sites offer Merchant Center feeds for use in Google Product Search - thus simplifying most of the input needed for rich snippets. For Google to make use of Merchant Center feeds for rich snippets, you should also use the rel= ‘canonical’ link on your product pages. This way, Google can match the URLs in your feed to the pages found by its crawler. If prices for your products are generally constant, then adding markup is an effective alternate method to provide product data for rich snippets.
For most online business owners, having a Merchant Center feed is the right option as your product details, prices andavailability are updated fast. The data can also be shown not only in rich snippets but also in other applications like Google Shopping and Product Ads. For merchants whose product prices and availability status seldom change and if they are not too keen to set up a feed, then adding markup is a perfect option.
Google has already made the announcement that it will support enhanced search results for shopping sites – thus paving the way for E-commerce sites to hop on to the rich snippet bandwagon. The rich snippet display will surely provide a compelling case for click-through with pricing and availability details right below the page link.
On their Webmaster Central blog, Google has announced support for the ‘rich snippets’ for shopping and Ecommerce sites synchronizing with the holiday season. Now, e-tailers can feed Google with prices, availability status, and product reviews so that Google might include that information in the snippets of text that make up its organic listings.
Google offers you two different options for providing them with the relevant information - (1) using data feed of the type that many merchants employ with Google’s Product Search or (2) adding markup code directly to your website to indicate which data are prices, which are product reviews etc.
Google suggests as its preference the Merchant Center feed method for providing this data to ensure product prices, availability, and reviews can reflect the most updated information. The other less favored option for providing this information to rich snippets is to markup the details on yourwebsite to make it easier for Google’s spiders to determine which areas of yourpages represent what information.
It needs to be mentioned that retailers have a third option and that is to leave Google to their own methods to obtain the information they want. However, Google claims that the data feed option will facilitate quick updating of rich snippet information. On the other hand, if you mark up data on your site, it may take Google a couple of weeks for rich snippets to display.
Many suggest that Google should provide for a time stamp on the information they show to help users. There are also others who advocate thatGoogle could offer merchants the optionto insist that rich snippets are not shownfor their own listings.

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