Google updated the developers documentation for the product structured data to add requirements that will make a site eligible to display product return policies in the in the merchant listing experiences.
Merchant Listing Experiences
The update applies to a set of rich results that are exclusive to merchants that’s called the merchant listing experiences.
Examples of merchant listing experiences are:
- Shopping Knowledge panel
- Popular Products
Google’s Merchant Listing developer page describes it like this:
“Merchant listing experiences offer 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 listings and product snippets is described in our Product structured data documentation.”
Merchant Return Policy Structured Data Type
A structured data type communicates to search engines that the data is about a specific data type, in this case it’s about 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 in order to ensure eligibility for the rich results specific to MerchantReturnPolicy.
These are the two required structured data properties:
The value for the first property is a country code.
Google explains the values for the second one, the returnPolicyCategory:
The type of return policy. Use one of the following values:
- https://schema.org/MerchantReturnFiniteReturnWindow: There’s a set number of days to return a product.
- https://schema.org/MerchantReturnNotPermitted: Returns aren’t permitted.
- https://schema.org/MerchantReturnUnlimitedWindow: There’s an unlimited amount of time to return a product.
If you use MerchantReturnFiniteReturnWindow, then the merchantReturnDays property is required.”
Recommended properties are optional but should be used if they are appropriate in order to become eligible for any related rich results.
There are four kinds of recommended properties:
Alternative to Structured Data to Become Eligible for Rich Results
Google’s new section for the returns policy shopping experience eligibility explains that there is an alternate way to become eligible without having to configure the associated structured data.
They recommend configuring the shipping settings return policies in the Google Merchant Center Help (details on how to configure it here).
Google’s documentation recommends:
“Retailer shipping policies can get complicated and may change frequently. If you’re having trouble indicating and keeping your shipping and return details up-to-date with markup and have a Google Merchant Center account, consider configuring your shipping settings return policies in Google Merchant Center Help.”
Like the other forms of product structured data related to merchant products, Google will give preference to Google Merchant Center settings when merchants use both the Merchant Center and structured data for the returns policy.
Structured Data Settings
Publishers who manage structured data with WordPress plugins should keep an eye out for updates to the plugins because they may contain new settings for this structured data.
The WordPress plugin settings may not likely auto-fill but rather they may need to be filled in once the settings become available in order for the structured data to propagate sitewide.
Read Google’s New Documentation on the Returns Policy Structured Data
Featured image by Shutterstock/Sasha Turkina