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Fueling New Search Experiences with Structured Data and Product Feeds

Fueling New Search Experiences with Structured Data and Product Feeds

Search engines are evolving beyond simple keyword searches to provide users with more comprehensive and personalized results. Structured data and product feeds play a pivotal role in powering these new search experiences.

In this in-depth guide, we’ll explain how structured data works, highlight examples of new search experiences, and provide best practices for optimizing your structured data and feeds. By the end, you’ll understand how to leverage these tools to improve visibility and drive more conversions through search engines.

Let’s get started!

How Structured Data Works

Most websites contain information scattered throughout pages in an unstructured format that’s difficult for search engines to understand and parse. Structured data solves this problem by annotating pages with semantic tags that denote things like contacts, events, reviews, recipes, products, and more.

This structured information allows search engines to display rich snippets and knowledge panels that provide users with more context without clicking through. It also enables new types of personalized search experiences beyond traditional blue links.

Google, Bing, Pinterest and other search engines support different structured data formats. The most common is JSON-LD (<script type="application/ld+json">), but microdata (itemscope) and RDFa (typeof="schema:Item") are also options.

Product feeds take this a step further by aggregating all your product data—like titles, descriptions, images, prices and inventory—into a centralized structured data file. Search engines can then display these products in enhanced ad formats or directly within the results page.

New Search Experiences Powered by Structured Data

Let’s explore some of the exciting new search experiences now possible thanks to structured data:

Product Search

Google Shopping and Bing Shopping allow consumers to search directly for products. Eligible items appear in a rich product listing alongside traditional blue links. Structured product data and feeds are essential for powering these specialized product search results.

Event Search

Searching for upcoming events or things to do will surface structured event data at the top of results. Users can browse listings, RSVP, and get directions directly from the SERP. Event platforms like Eventbrite have fully embraced for discoverability.

Recipe Search

Recipe schema makes results more actionable by allowing users to select filters like prep time, servings, or dietary restrictions. They can also scan through the full recipe instructions without leaving Google. Popular food websites like AllRecipes make thorough use of recipe-structured data.

Local Business Search

Business profiles with opening hours, payment options, service areas and more help users find what they need quickly. Features like Google Posts leverage structured data to keep business pages updated automatically. The GOAT website uses schema to optimize their local business listings.

FAQ: Rich Results

Topical queries return rich results drawing directly from a website’s structured FAQ data without requiring a click. Users get fast answers to common questions. Tech companies like Anthropic employ FAQ schema on their support pages.

As engines support new schemas over time, expect to see even more innovative uses of structured data emerge. Proper implementation is key to participating in these evolving experiences.

Top view laptop computer, notepad, coffee cup and houseplant on marble background.

Optimizing Structured Data and Product Feeds

With a basic understanding of how structured data powers new functionality in search, let’s cover best practices for optimizing your implementation:

Select Relevant Schemas

Only use schemas that correctly describe the type of content you host. Start with the basics like Organization, Person, and article, before expanding. has a complete list.

Validate Structured Data Markup

Use the Structured Data Testing Tool to debug syntax issues that could prevent parsers from understanding your data. Fix reported errors before deploying.

Keep the data fresh and Accurate

Outdated information provides a poor user experience. Set up systems to regularly update your structured data, especially for dynamic elements like events or inventory levels.

Optimize for Keywords and Queries

Structure data with potential search queries and intent in mind. Use targeted keyword phrases and descriptive titles and headings to surface the right content.

Link Internal pages

Cross-link related articles, products, locations and more using schema. This builds internal context and trust for search engines while giving users a more seamless experience.

Syndicate Product Feeds

Regularly update Google Shopping, Bing Shopping and Pinterest product feeds. Make accurate global identifiers like GTIN, MPN or brand part of each feed record for improved matching.

Consider Enriching with Images

Schemas for recipes, how-tos, products or other visual content will perform better with accompanying images wherever possible for an enhanced presentation.

Consider User Experience

Ensure structured data enhances—not distracts—from your core user experience. Place annotations unobtrusively using JSON-LD in the <head>.

By adopting these structured data best practices, you can optimize your digital content to fully participate in the latest search experiences and drive more qualified traffic from informed users.

Key Takeaways

To summarize some of the core points covered:

  • Structured data annotates pages with semantic tags that help search engines understand content types and display rich snippets.
  • Product feeds aggregate structured product data for shopping engine listings and new personalized product searches.
  • Schemas like Events, Recipes, FAQs, and more power innovative new search experiences beyond traditional blue links.
  • Implement relevant structured data schemas and regularly update dynamic elements like inventory for an optimal user experience.
  • Validate markup, optimize keywords, and syndicate feeds to major search partners to see benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about using structured data:

What is the best format for structured data—JSON-LD, Microdata, or RDFa?

Any of these formats will work depending on the use case, but JSON-LD is generally the most flexible and widely supported today.

How often should product feeds be updated?

Aim to sync new or updated products to your feeds daily, or even more frequently, for timely availability. Dynamic fields like pricing and stock should update hourly or as close to real-time as possible.

Is structured data only for e-commerce websites?

Not at all; blogs, publishers, local businesses, and more can all leverage appropriate schemas. The schema you choose depends on your specific content and goals.

How much structured data is too much?

Only implement the schemas directly relevant to your content and use cases. Over-tagging content can potentially do more harm than good if used excessively or inappropriately.

What are some examples of new or emerging structured data schemas?

Schema extensions continue to evolve for things like food and recipe nutrition, software apps, job postings, and more. As supporting engines come online, expect schemas for reviews, Q&A, and even multimedia like audio and video.

Can structured data hurt my site if it is not implemented correctly?

Yes, invalid or poorly optimized structured data can potentially cause issues compared to doing it right. Always test thoroughly and fix any issues reported by the Structured Data Testing Tool.

How do I track the success of structured data efforts?

Monitor changes in rich result click-throughs, time spent on site from featured snippets, and queries that surface in your structured content. Over time, these can help gauge positive or negative impacts.

I hope this guide has helped explain how structured data powers new search experiences and provided best practices for optimizing it on your own site. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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