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This week’s #searchdrop looks at Google’s new structured data for retailers, plus how long links take to affect rankings and Google’s (potential) Authority profile.

New Structured Data Type For Retailers Is Now Supported By Google

This week we’ve heard some great news from Google that refers to the new type of schema.org markup for retailers.

We all know that structured data is a very important feature for SEO as it allows Google and other search engines to better understand not only what your website is about, but also your individual pages. But nowadays, structured data might also be used to provide search engines with information that will be vastly presented in the search results.

As an example, we could bring the product schema with specified price or stock level. In this case the price and stock information will appear below the meta description of the organic listing in the search engine.

Google now decided to step up with a new schema.org feature that will allow retailers to display the shipping information within the product listing.

Even though retailers were previously allowed to specify and display the shipping details to their customers, not many know that it can be done only by the Google Merchant Center. From the 22nd of September 2020 Google will be also able to pick these details from the shippingDetails schema.org markup. This is great news as it brings a lot more flexibility to the website owners who might prefer to use structured data to share all information.

We’ve looked at the official documentation presented on the Schema.org website and we are now able to present you the most important types of information you can provide to the search engines with shippingDetails schema.org markup:

  • Delivery Time (deliveryTime) – The total amount of time required between the order being placed and then being delivered to the customer.
  • Does Not Ship (doesNotShip) – Presents information about locations which the business is unable to deliver to.
  • Shipping Destination (shippingDestination) – Presents the details about where products can be shipped to.
  • Shipping Rate (shippingRate) – Exact cost of shipping the order to the customer.
  • Shipping Settings Link (shippingSettingsLink)- Website link which contains shipping rates and delivery time information.

We hope that this news will be beneficial to you as an online retailer and you will be able to improve the presence of your products on Google as well as providing the most crucial shipping information, policies and other options which are associated with the product to the right customers at the right time.

Google webmaster answers questions on links and how long it takes for them to affect rankings

Google’s John Mueller has once again taken to a Webmaster Central Hangout to share his wisdom on the search engine’s algorithm. Focusing on the link algorithm specifically, he clarified how long it takes for links to have an impact on a website’s ranking.

Multiple Google algorithms?

When asked if parts of the linking algorithm are updated during the large core updates, Mueller began answering by explaining that there isn’t just one algorithm. Although it’s often referred to as the core algorithm, it is in fact made up of multiple small ones which are adjusted through significant changes and changes to the “interpretations”.

As there are numerous algorithms that could have changes made to them at any time, Mueller then explained that a link algorithm update could occur at any time and not just during a core update. Quoted from the live Webmaster Central Hangout, Mueller said:

“So, from that point of view, it’s not that we would say the way that we handle links never changes or the way that we handle links always changes when we make a core algorithm update.”

How much time does it take for links to affect rankings?

In short, the answer is that the effect is immediate. Mueller explained that although most people wait weeks or even months to reap the benefits of links:

“The way that we process links is something that is continuous. So it’s not that we have to wait for a specific time frame to see the new effect of the links.”

The reason in which it could take a while for the benefits of the links to be visible in the search engine rankings could be because it takes more than a few links to make a large impact.

To find out more about the linking algorithm, check out this article on Search Engine Journal.

Is Google Building an Authority Profile Of Sites?

Following from this recent post by Google on the subject of reliable information in search results we may have our first hints at a set of principles Googles algorithm adheres to in the calculation of authority for a topic. Mordy Oberstein theorises that Google is in the process of building a “site authority profile” for sites within niches that are YMYL or require a high level of E.A.T such as Health or Legal sites.

The aspect of the blog post that alludes to this is:

“We’ve learned that sites that demonstrate authoritativeness and expertise on a topic are less likely to publish false or misleading information.”

Google has ‘learned’, and this implies a process has driven Google’s understanding of what it takes to talk with authority on a subject. Therefore it’s fair to assume (as Mordy has) that there is some degree of profiling going on with sites and their respective topics.

There isn’t any indication currently as to what the process entails, but it’s believed Google’s Search Quality Rater’s input is important. Equally, it’s fair to assume that E.A.T criteria (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) is a big part of what would make up an ‘authority profile’.

What should I do about a potential authority profile?

  • Continue to build on your key topics – If Google is building an authority profile of sites across a range of industries then you need to get ahead of the changes by focusing on building your site’s authority for your target topic. You can do this by extending your content with deeper information such as FAQs, adding internal links to important blogs and documentation on your target subject. It’s also important to try for coverage in industry niche publications as part of your digital PR strategy.
  • Build authorship for topics – when you’re producing content for any topic it’s worth giving authorship to a select person or people. This allows you to refine who is relevant for a certain topic and use the authority of this person’s name to leverage higher value authority on a topic. For example, if you’re a dentist, then have you most senior Dentist write about Dentistry, not some branded ‘fake’ author or your marketing person. This doesn’t mean these authority figures in your business need to write the entirety of your content, they just need to be the author on-site and have input or be happy to put their name to the content e.g. believe the content is trustworthy and accurate.
  • Monitor high authority sites in your industry – Watching the competition is huge in SEO and this is no different. Watching how other high authority businesses engage with their key topics will help inform your strategy and understanding of what’s required to compete with your competition.