Providing better product information for shoppers

Ecommerce SEO: Boost Ranking on Google with GTIN and Brand Names

11 min read

As we previously discussed, the best way to improve ranking on Google Search is not tricking the system, but listening to Google’s SEO recommendations. One of the recently published recommendations is addressed directly to online sellers. It says: “Add product GTINs and brand names to the product details page.”

SEO with Google isn’t difficult. Let’s study how it works, why it’s essential, and how Ecwid can help you rank higher on Google.

Providing Better Product Information is The Key

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s content for a fast and convenient user experience, so that you could find the information and products quickly and interact with them effortlessly.

Talking about ecommerce, it means search engines try to match search queries with exact or relevant products and display sufficient information about them enough to make a purchasing decision (both positive or negative).

The only way Google bots can do that is to scan the code (content) of your online store, understand it and provide it to potential customers. Special code markdown helps them identify specific information (description, price, etc.) or elements (images, ranks, reviews, etc.) on the product detail page.

It’s pretty cool to know that ecommerce platforms like Ecwid know what vital content markdown is, and do that coding heavy lifting taking the burden off users. So, when writing a description or posting a review, you don’t have to worry about if search engines will be able to scan your store and show relevant content to your customers.

Why Is It Important?

If Google can’t identify or classify the content on your website, it won’t be able to show it to the public adequately or at all. By thinking backwards, we can come up to a logical conclusion that telling Google as much information about your products as possible will help it and other search engines to understand what you sell, and rank your product pages (and products) as high as possible.

So, how can publishing detailed product information impact your ecommerce business?

First of all, rich product results help you attract potential buyers when they search for items to buy on Google Search or Google Images.

Secondly, additional information about the product right on the search results page immediately shows your offer and triggers evaluation in the customer’s mind. This shortens their decision-making process. Thus, you grab the attention of a searcher before they see other results for similar products.

This brings us to the third point—competition. Enabling potential customers to see your rich product information is like having them on your product detail page. This tactic takes you one step ahead of your competitors who don’t use markdown or do it halfway.

google rich product information in search results


More info — higher position! Rich product information tells the entire story before you even visit the website enabling consumers to start the shopping process right on the search results page.

On top of that, being ranked well takes you higher in the search results and leads to increased traffic to your site.

Help Google to Help You

Now you know how Google, with its user-first approach, organizes search results to try to give consumers what they want and make their search for the right product shorter. But is there any way you can use it for good?

The answer is more obvious than you might have thought—do your best to provide detailed information about the products you sell. And not only in product descriptions.

Let’s take Ecwid, for example. In an Ecwid store’s admin, almost every piece of content that requires special attention has its own field. On the back end, we flag the content from these fields with specific code tags to tell search engines what they are. Thus, Ecwid communicates with Google bots to help you rank higher in its search engine. But with one mandatory condition—each of these fields must be filled out.

So the best thing you can do to help your online store rank higher and display products on the first page is to fill out all available fields on the product information page.

product details in Ecwid admin


With Ecwid, you can tell the whole story of your products: name, SKU, weight, availability, stock, description, images, and more

New Google SEO Recommendation: Provide GTIN and Brand Name

“Product identity is critical in commerce, because it ensures that businesses and consumers accurately understand the origin and unique identity of a product,” says Randy Rockinson, Product Manager for Product Data, Google Shopping, in his article on the importance of GTIN for Google. “This also applies to the web and Google Search, where an accurate understanding of a product helps to show the right product to the right user at the right time.

This means Google uses GTINs to identify the products across the entire digital world and match existing offers with the search queries.

But hey! What is GTIN after all?

Global Trade Item Number (GTIN™) (or commonly barcode) is a registered global numeric identifier of a particular product sold online or offline. Unique product identifiers are assigned to each product by their manufacturer, so if you sell the same product as another retailer, the GTINs will be identical.

gtin types


The most commonly used GTINs. Source

Types of GTIN

GTINs can be 8, 12, 13, or 14 digits long. They can differ depending on their geographical region of origin.

The types of GTIN that currently exist:

  • UPC. Unique Numerical Identifier, used in primarily North America, and has 12 numeric digits, also called GTIN-12 and UPC-A.
  • EAN. European Article Number (EAN), also called GTIN-13, is used primarily outside of North America. Typically has 13 numeric digits but can occasionally be either 8 or 14 numeric digits.
  • JAN. Japanese Article Number (JAN), also called GTIN-13,8 or 13 numeric digits. Used only in Japan.

Books of all types (ebooks, hardcover, audio) have their own special type of GTIN. You probably know this if you’ve ever tried to buy or sell a used book.

  • ISBN. International Standard Book Number (ISBN). A unique numerical identifier for commercial books published since 1970. It can be found on the back of the book, along with the barcode. It can be either 10 or 13 numeric digits.

The benefits of using GTINs — from a business perspective

You know that using unique identifiers can help your online success, but there’s another side of that coin—the business side:

  • Global identifiers tie together manufacturers, retailers, stocks, as well as the physical and digital worlds of commerce. If something with a GTIN is sold, every link in the chain will know that and take it into account.
  • GTINs help retailers and consumers find out the origins of their products. As a seller, you can verify that product data is accurate and complete, check the manufacturer for its business history, and thus provide your customers with high-quality products. Your customers can do the same and make sure they made the right decision to shop in your online store.
  • Barcodes help your business integrate with the global retail ecosystem, regardless of your geographical location or business type. They erase the language barriers and country borders, making your store a cell of the universal digital commerce world. Cool, huh?

What about the brand name?

The brand name is a secondary identifier Google will rely on validating the products. In some cases, when you sell self-made products that don’t have GTINs, a brand name can act as a substitute.

Additionally, brand names can sometimes be displayed in the search results, or on the Google Shopping tab. So having it listed is not mandatory, but highly recommended.

GTINs and Brand Names in Ecwid

Knowing GTINs are vital for the success of your ecommerce business on Google, how do you go about getting GTINs listed on your ecommerce products? With Ecwid, it’s easy, and you have several options.

Change the GTIN manually

Each of your products has a section of Attributes. Two of them already exist by default, and can’t be deleted. To find Attributes, go to your Ecwid admin→Catalog→Products→Click on any product. You will see tabs right below the page title (which will be the product’s name). The second from the left is Attributes. Click on it, and you will see the following:

Ecwid Product Attributes UPC and Brand


Find the GTIN field in your Product Attributes

As you see in the example above (and you’ll see the same in your store), we call all GTINs UPS (Unique Numerical Identifier) by default. However, you can change the field name in the Product Types area of your store setting. This name will appear on the product detail page, so you may want to use abbreviations relevant to your target audience for a better shopping experience.

If you don’t have many products, consider this way of making edits.

product types in Ecwid ecommerce


You can add more Attributes to your products to display more details about them

Change GTIN in bulk

But if you have hundreds or thousands of products, you might want to save some time on editing, right? In this situation, take advantage of Ecwid’s Export/Import Products tools.

You can download your stock as a CSV file, edit UPC/GTIN and Brand columns and then upload it back to Ecwid. For more info on Export/Import tricks, look it up in the Knowledge base.

export import products to update GTINs and brands in bulk


If you need help with CSVs, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Ecwid support team

GTINs and Google Merchant Center

While online merchants selling on their own websites and social media can choose to follow Google’s recommendation on GTIN and brand name, those who sell online using the Google Merchant Center might find themselves in trouble. Missing valid identifiers will negatively impact listings and advertising on Google Shopping. The products with errors will rank lower or may be excluded from the search results in some cases.

If you sell on the Google Shopping tab or advertise on Google with Google Merchant Center, adjust your listing as soon as possible and specify GTINs and brand names. Otherwise, your products and ads will be downranked.

If You Don’t Have GTINS

If you are a manufacturer yourself, not a reseller, you can assign GTINs to your own products. To learn how to do that, visit an official register of your choice, or check out the GS1 company, as recommended by Google.

But if you’re a reseller and don’t know the GTINs of your products, you’ll have to find them. Request the barcodes from your supplier. If they don’t have them, it might be a good idea to think about changing suppliers to ones with valid GTINs.

To verify provided identifiers, you can use the GTIN database.

Do Not Cheat

If you think that typing random letters and numbers can act as a bona fide GTIN, you are very wrong. Google is integrated with all valid GTIN databases you can think of, and they will instantly see that you are feeding them the wrong GTINs. In short, don’t do it.

In Closing

If you want to take advantage of another opportunity to rank higher in Google Search and Google Shopping, consider Google’s recommendations regarding providing detailed product information in your store. Specifically GTINs and brand names.

This information is vital in the identification of what you sell and matching your products to relevant search queries. Like with so many other aspects of SEO, you can skip our GTIN recommendations, as it’s not a mandatory aspect of selling online—no one’s gonna get hurt if you don’t. But if you want to take full advantage of SEO, you won’t want to pass up this chance to rank.

As with anything else, Ecwid is here to help you and to make this aspect of your selling easier. Your Ecwid store already has the fields for GTINs and brand names, and tools for mass editing if you have lots of products. All you need is to invest some time to validate the GTINs if you have them (find or create them if you don’t) and upload them to your Ecwid store. Easy peasy.

Do this, and we bet you’ll see a positive change in ranking in your near future. Think of it as a reward from Google for your contribution in creating a better internet experience for shoppers.

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About the author

Max is a Content Marketing Manager at Ecwid. He’s been in the e-commerce industry for the last four years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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