It’s that time of the year again.
Google's latest core update, which came out on September 12, 2022, will bring some major changes to the eCommerce space.
With this update, the world's largest search engine said more people could get enhanced product listings on Google Search. Before, this feature was only available to businesses that had signed up on the Google Merchant Listing portal.
In this blog, we will help you understand the impact of Google’s September 2022 Core Update and how you can prepare your website for the maximum visibility of your products.
But before we understand the core update, let’s brush up on some related basics.
What is a rich snippet?
Rich snippets are a Google search feature that helps users with in-depth information about a particular topic without having to visit individual web pages. For eCommerce companies, rich snippets help shoppers quickly get every kind of product information.
For example, if you search ‘leather shoes’ on Google, you are bound to find a separate list of leather shoes in the SERPs.
Note: These results are organic. The sponsored ads section is at the top with the ‘Ads’ label on the top left corner, as shown below.
With the organic ‘Popular products’ section, shoppers can see the product's price and customer ratings and filter products based on features such as price and size right on the SERP.
If you click on any of these, you will be redirected to the product checkout page.
This is how rich snippets of product-related content help website owners increase their visibility on SERPs.
Creating a rich snippet for your e-commerce brand is a great way to boost your SEO efforts. It requires writing product descriptions with keywords, using clear images of products, and adding structured data for the products, among other things.
What does the expanded eligibility mean for website owners?
Google is constantly developing the search experience to provide the best results for users. From knowledge panels that showcase the authority for a search term to the ‘People also ask’ section, the goal is to help searchers find everything they need right on the SERPs.
Before the September Core Update, there were two ways to offer product experiences on Google.
- Creating a Merchant Listing Center account and adding products through your merchant account to be featured in the ‘Popular products’ section.
- Developing product pages on your website and adding product structured data to list them as product snippets in search results.
With merchant listings, businesses can highlight their products on Google Search, with the goal of sending buyers to the product's checkout page from the SERPs. Product snippets, on the other hand, are more like a center for information about your products, with things like reviews, offers, and availability.
Both these features were a great way to stand out from the competition, but they required website owners to do twice the amount of work and manage data in two different places.
But with the new core update, website owners can be eligible for merchant listing experiences by simply adding product structured data to their web pages. Recent changes to product-related properties and types in schema.org, such as the addition of clothing sizes and ratings for energy efficiency, have led to this change.
Changes in Google Search Console
To help website owners create and track structured data for product snippets and merchant listings, Google has made some changes to the search console.
The old product structured data report in the Search Console has been replaced by a shopping section with two new reports: the merchant listings report and the product snippets report.
These reports help you track warnings and errors and add or edit valid product pages for markup on your website.
With the new merchant listing report, you'll be able to see if your free Google listing has problems in the structured data. The new product snippets report will help you identify similar issues for the product structured data on your website.
How to add structured data with the Sept ’22 Core Update?
Structured data helps Google understand the information on your web page more efficiently. It also makes it more likely that your website and its products will show up on SERPs with more information, like ratings, pros and cons, shipping, availability, and price drops.
Follow these steps to integrate structured data:
- Make a list of as many structured data properties as possible. For more information about the types of structured data properties, refer to this Google Search Central article.
- While adding the structured data to your website code, follow the Google structured data guidelines to the T.
- Check your structured data for errors with the help of the Rich Results Test.
- Publish your web page and check how Google sees it and its structured data. You can use the URL Inspection tool for this.
- If you’re making many changes to your website, submit the most recent sitemap to ensure Google uses the latest version of your website.
New HTTPS report in Search Console
Another notable development in the September ’22 Core Update is the new HTTPS report, which helps website owners identify which pages of their websites are not shown using HTTPS and why not.
This report adds to the ‘Page Experience’ report released last year, which helps website owners understand how users perceive the interaction with a web page beyond just the information displayed.
It includes aspects such as loading speed, the time web pages take to become interactive, and the visual stability of a web page when viewed from different devices.
The new HTTPS report will help website owners ensure that every web page is safe and secure for users.
That’s all about the September 2022 Google Core Update. The implementation of the merchant listing eligibility was completed on September 26, while the HTTPS report implementation is still ongoing.
If you see a big change in how many people visit your website, don't rush to conclusions, and don't make any quick changes. A good way to deal with this change in traffic is to analyze your website’s structured data and solve the issue you are seeing.
If you want to know more about the best ways to create search-engine-optimized content for your website, check out our exhaustive knowledge pool of Scalenut blogs.