The goal of structured data for Rich Results
I was emailing with a JSON-LD for SEO customer the other day about their structured data. They had 3 structured data apps. One was creating critical issues (aka errors) with Google. Another promised to remove all other sets of data. And a third from JSON-LD for SEO.
Unfortunately, the app that promised to remove all other sets of structured data hurt the store. The app had bad code, failed to provide a complete set of data, and blocked correct data coming from JSON-LD for SEO.
It's a common misconception that you should only have one set of product data.
To be clear, Google Search doesn't care if you have more than one set of data. Google Search will pick the best set of data to use for its analysis and ignore the other Product data. If there are errors in the data, you may need to fix or remove those errors. The exception is when you have another set of data that Google can use.
The only time I recommend removing excess Product data so that there is only one is if you're having issues with Merchant Center. Here's my guide on how to remove your theme structured data if needed.
With structured data, your goal shouldn’t be to remove all of the critical and non-critical issues.
Your goal should be to have as much data that makes sense for your store and follows the data guidelines. That’s how you get and keep Rich Results. That’s what you really want for your store.
You have to go beyond Google’s warnings and dig into the documentation to understand what should and shouldn’t be added.
Sometimes you’ll even need to test something for months to see how it works. That’s why JSON-LD for SEO manages the structured data for you. Its code has been continuously tested to make sure it works correctly with Google. With thousands of stores using the app, it’s easy for me to see how Google uses and responds to the structured data.
Non-critical issues that say Improve item appearance, mean that Google sees the valid data, and if you can add more information, please do. The non-critical issue isn't always required or relevant to your store. For example, you may see the missing field for "review". That review field is an optional field that doesn't apply to Shopify products. It's for editorial or critic reviews where someone writes a review article about a business, book, or movie. Think of a blogger reviewing a product that was sent to them, not customers leaving reviews for the products they paid for. It's not something you'd have on your products.
I have a short video explaining the difference between review and aggregateRating and why we don't use the review field if you're interested.
Critical issues that say Invalid, means Google won't use that entire set of data to generate Rich Results on Google. You may have another set of data that works great thus it's possible the error may be ignored. So make sure you understand where that error is coming from and if you have a more complete set of data for Google to use. When in doubt, email me and I would be happy to tell you if the errors can be ignored or if they need to be resolved.
The problem is that some apps and developers don’t understand the differences between filling in "all the data" and filling in the "correct data".
Adding every field under the sun to remove issues in Search Console just makes Search Console look clean. Instead, they've added data that isn't applicable, ended up breaking Google’s rules, and caused Shopify stores to lose Rich Results or worse.
That’s why so many stores trust JSON-LD for SEO for their structured data.