What is microdata?
Microdata are schemas of structural data that are called metadata. Google and other online platforms can easily get information from your site if the data structure is in accordance with the guidelines, see http://schema.org/Product.
In order to make microdata seem more comprehensible, you can treat them as meta tags that describe each page, that is meta title and meta description. Those tags make it possible for engine robots to easily index the descriptions that you placed on your sites. Currently Google supports microdata on availability and prices of your products.
How microdata is used?
Sticking to Google’s example, microdata is used to verify if the product information in the product file imported to Google Merchant Center is in accordance with what you present on your site. In order to keep high standards, Google makes its best to guarantee that the data presented in Product Listing Ads are correlated with data on your product page. Lack of the data correlation may lead to temporary rejection of your products in Google advertising.
Correct microdata implementation and turning on “Automatic product updates” option in Google Merchant Center will guarantee that the price and availability data will be taken directly from your site until next product feed update. It will guarantee that updated data will be served to the user and it will prevent any information gaps between the e-store and product feed data.
How microdata works with the product feed?
Product feed is necessary to run Product Listing Ads campaigns in Google Shopping. Regular product updates are more and more important since sooner or later Google will be become more meticulous when it comes to checking products in online stores. In order to guarantee smooth and informative user experience Google robots need microdata to check the data consistency.
Currently, microdata implementation is not mandatory but it’s recommended by Google. However, it can be assumed that in the near future microdata implementation will be mandatory. This is why it’s advisable to go about implementing microdata as well as keeping the best quality product feed file. Good quality of the product feed is a bulletproof way of keeping your product ads online and controlling many product parameters.
What can you do
to solve the problem of “lack of microdata”
As we already mentioned, as of now, 25th of April 2016, these are only recommendations that Google wants to introduce. If your product feed is updated quite frequently, for example 3 times a day, you don’t have to worry. In order to forget about lacking microdata issue, you just need to turn off “automatic product updates” option in Google Merchant Center settings.
It’s best to take care of your product feed and then start working on microdata. Why such attitude? Microdata is about products price and availability that Google needs to set price levels and ad positions correctly. This information is obviously very important for end users. However, what’s most important is to provide a proper title and a good product picture, which is what well-prepared and managed product files guarantees.
The very microdata implementation means modification of the source code of product pages. You just need to place tags in accordance with the schema: http://schema.org/Product. A detailed description how to do it correctly can be found in our article: Step by step guide: example of microdata implementation.
If you implemented microdata, you can easily check their correctness by using a Google tool.