Google updates documentation on structured product data
Google updated the developer documentation for the structured product data to add requirements that allow a site to display product return policies in the merchant listing experience.
Experiences with dealer entries
The update applies to a set of rich search results that are exclusive to merchants, known as Merchant Listing Experiences.
Examples of merchant listing experiences include:
- Shopping knowledge area
- Popular products
The Google Merchant Listing developer page describes this as follows:
“Merchant listing experiences provide enhanced experiences including the shopping knowledge panel and popular products, as well as shopping experiences in Google Images and Google Lens.
The structured data required for merchant lists and product snippets is described in our structured product data documentation.”
Merchant return policy structured data type
A structured data type tells search engines that the data is a specific data type, in this case a merchant return policy.
Structured data types have “properties” that provide information about the data type.
Google added support for the Schema.org MerchantReturnPolicy structured data type.
The MerchantReturnPolicy structured data type has properties such as return fees and the number of days in which the product can be returned.
Two required properties
The new MerchantReturnPolicy type has two required properties.
Required properties are not optional and must be present in the structured data to ensure eligibility for the MerchantReturnPolicy-specific rich results.
These are the two required structured data properties:
- applicable country
The value for the first property is a country code.
Google explains the values for the second, the returnPolicyCategory:
The type of return policy. Use one of the following values:
- https://schema.org/MerchantReturnFiniteReturnWindow: There is a set number of days to return a product.
- https://schema.org/MerchantReturnNotPermitted: Returns are not allowed.
- https://schema.org/MerchantReturnUnlimitedWindow: There is an unlimited time to return a product.
When using MerchantReturnFiniteReturnWindow, the property merchantReturnDays is required.”
Recommended properties are optional, but should be used when they are appropriate to be eligible for all related rich results.
There are four types of recommended properties:
- return shipping fees
- return method
- Return FeesAmount
Alternative to structured data to get rich results
Google’s new Shopping Experience Eligibility section in the return policy explains that there is an alternative way to become eligible without having to configure the associated structured data.
They recommend configuring the return policy for shipping settings in the Google Merchant Center Help (configuration details can be found here).
Google’s documentation recommends:
“Retailers’ shipping policies can get complicated and change frequently. If you’re having trouble viewing and keeping up to date your shipping and return details with markup and have a Google Merchant Center account, consider configuring your return policy for Shipping Settings in Google Merchant Center Help .”
As with other types of structured product data related to merchant products, Google prefers the Google Merchant Center settings when merchants use both Merchant Center and structured data for return policies.
Structured data settings
Publishers managing structured data with WordPress plugins should keep an eye out for updates to the plugins, as they may contain new settings for that structured data.
The WordPress plugin settings are not likely to be filled in automatically, but may need to be filled in once the settings are available in order for the structured data to propagate throughout the site.
Read Google’s new return policy structured data documentation
Featured image from Shutterstock/Sasha Turkina