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The Fundamentals of Influencer Marketing

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The Fundamentals of Influencer Marketing

What exactly is influencer marketing? How does it differ from other forms of advertising? And why should marketers care?

Influencer marketing has become a powerful tool for businesses looking to reach new audiences.

Marketers use various strategies to identify influential individuals and gain access to their followers.

In this article, we’ll discuss what influencer marketing is and the variable for incorporating influencer marketing into a brand’s strategy.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing uses celebrities, athletes, bloggers, and other influential figures to market brands.

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Influencers are those who have large social media followings and have the ability to influence their audience.

Brands use influencers to promote their product or service through paid advertisements, free giveaways, and endorsements. In addition, they can generate significant brand awareness and loyalty through paid or unpaid posts.

The goal is to get them to share valuable information and create excitement around a particular topic, product, or service. The key benefit for brands is that they reach a larger audience at a lower cost than traditional advertising methods.

The Right Influencer

However, this opportunity comes with some responsibility on the part of the brand.

Brands must be careful when choosing an influencer because it’s easy for them to fall in love with the idea of working with someone influential.

Unfortunately, without thorough background research, this can lead to a situation where a potentially ideal influencer promotes products that aren’t aligned with a brand’s values. Therefore, it’s important to ensure the influencer you want to work with aligns with your brand’s goals and values.

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Influencer marketing also requires brands to pay influencers fairly. If you don’t pay your influencers what they deserve, they won’t promote your brand in the vision you want them to. Additionally, you can risk a potentially fruitful relationship.

Creating A Plan

When collaborating with an influencer, it’s essential to not just think of the total cost but the project’s goals and establish what you would like accomplished in the front end.

This can include a discovery call to plan out potential posts or how-to videos. Will you provide the content and supporting information, or will they? Of course, all this will affect the cost and time involved in creating the posts.

Influencer marketing has become one of the most effective ways to get people talking about your business online. It’s essential to know how to find the right influencers for your niche to ensure your message gets across.

Why We All Need Influencer Marketing & How We Can Use It

A study showed that in 2022 influencer marketing is set to reach $16.4 billion and 75% of brand marketers plan to include influencer marketing in this year’s strategy. This type of marketing is growing fast and doing well.

And this isn’t just for B2C brands, since 86% of B2B brands find influencer marketing a valuable strategy. That’s a considerable return on investment if you have the right approach.

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If you’re only using traditional digital marketing (SEO, PPC, social media, etc.), you’re clearly missing out on a huge opportunity to increase your ROI.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an agency, brand, or business – everyone can benefit from trying influencer marketing.

Don’t believe me? You should. Influencer marketing is not “out of your league.” Here’s why.

Influencer Marketing For Agencies

How many clients does your agency have? That’s how many new influencing opportunities your agency has at its fingertips.

Agencies can use their clients, the ones they like and like them, to help promote their agency for them.

Think of it like receiving a referral or customer review.

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If someone enjoys working with you and the business next door asks how they got so successful so quickly, they’re going to tell the next-door business all about your agency and how you helped them.

Case Studies & New Content

Capitalize on this process and ask your clients for video testimonials to become a part of your referral program (create one) and if you can use their results for case studies.

If you’ve been able to impact a client positively, they’re highly likely to approve you sharing the story of how you took them from one to 10.

Gather a dozen different case studies from your past and current clients to publish on your website, social pages, email newsletters, and ads. This isn’t only additional content but content your existing and new clients will appreciate.

You can also make the case study an appealing PDF and share it with the case study client for them to share among their peers.

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If you help them reach their goals, they’ll love the PDF filled with graphics, charts, and impressive numbers to share with other business owners.

Trial By Error

Another way to utilize your clients for influencer marketing is to ask your clients to test out a new product.

If they’re a big client of yours, it’s appropriate to let them know that your agency is trying to innovate with all of the tech advances, and you want to try a new strategy or product with them as a test.

FREE Of Charge

If things work out with the test, woohoo! You’ve added another section to the contract. And you have a new service or product to charge for in the future.

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If things don’t work out, you get insightful and honest feedback from the client and know how to fix the product or plan.

Brands

One of the most significant ways I see brands utilize influencer marketing is by partnering up with other brands.

Before I get too deep into this, I want to clarify that there are prominent corporate players like Sprint and Blue Apron. And they’re also individual brands like famous Instagram users and YouTube celebrities.

A brand can be an individual brand, like you trying to grow your role as a digital marketer in the industry. However, it can also represent a larger entity for cosmetics and skincare like Maybelline.

Now, back to the brands and the whole influencer marketing idea. Brands will partner together in campaigns to help widen their audience with influencer marketing.

They can use relevant brands in the same industry or reach out of the spectrum and partner with entirely different brands to increase their exposure to a new audience.

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When you work with an influencer in a different industry, you get a level of influencer where you can capitalize on the new audience. Be strategic in who you reach out to and ask to partner up in a new influencing campaign.

Partnering with the wrong brand will profoundly impact your brand’s reputation and possibly ruin it.

Red Bull partnering with Coca-Cola for a new content campaign also wouldn’t be the best of ideas. On the one hand, Red Bull is heavily involved in extreme sports. But, they’ve chosen that angle due to their actual product, an energy drink named Red Bull that essentially “gives you wings,” to be extreme.

Sure, the Red Bull athletes could do an incredible stunt riding a mountain bike down the ledge of the mountain holding both a Coca-Cola and a Red Bull can, but what would be the point?

It wouldn’t make sense because, technically, the two can be seen as competitors. They both are on-the-go drink manufacturers.

Instead, Red Bull could partner with Nike and do a content campaign featuring Nike’s new apparel line, Red Bull’s energy drink, and summer sports.

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Just because your brand is in the same industry as another doesn’t mean a collab will work. It’s important to research how your consumers will react to the ad.

Businesses

We can most commonly recognize influencer marketing when businesses do it.

If your business makes pipes for the plumbing industry, head to that list of the most famous plumbers and start reaching out.

Doing outreach is a huge part of influencer marketing. It almost feels like putting on a public relations or journalist hat for a second as you try and narrow down your influencers.

Once you’ve found an influencer who has agreed to help promote your product, don’t just stop there. The more influencers you have, the more brand exposure you get, as well as trust.

The word will get around if one of the most famous plumbers uses your pipes for repairs. Other plumbers will trust the renowned plumber and follow in their footsteps to purchase and use only your pipes.

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When To Pay An Influencer

Sometimes, you don’t need to pay an influencer. Instead, samples of the product you’re asking them to promote, discounts, or free services usually suffice.

It changes and becomes a more costly strategy when you pick who the influencer is and depends on the type of content you want.

The bigger the influencer, the more they’ll want.

If you’re aiming for that Kardashian type of exposure, you will need to break out the wallet. And the credit card. And possibly your mortgage.

Influencers Who Cost, A Lot

If you’re a brand, business, or agency with goals like a Kardashian type of exposure and the budget to match. Then, by all means, reach out to your lawyers and start preparing contracts for when you lock in those influencers.

Make sure your contracts clearly state the expectations of the influencer. For example, if you want them to run the content by you before they publish it, specify that in the contract.

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If you want the influencer to only be able to promote your plumbing pipes and not work with any other pipe companies, state it in the contract.

Influencers Of Little To No Cost

For the rest of us, focus on the more affordable influencers. These people may already invest much of their time promoting your brand because they love your product or what you do.

Death Wish Coffee is an excellent example of this.

People love their product, the ridiculously strong coffee that comes with a side of sarcasm. The brand speaks its customer’s language, making it fun for customers to engage and promote the product themselves.

This coffee company can monitor its hashtag mentions and unlock hundreds of potential influencers that would love to receive a free month of coffee for posting more about their brand.

Look at what kind of mentions your brand, business, or agency is attracting online and follow the conversation. You’ll quickly discover who’s talking about you the most.

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Finding An Influencer

Then, look at their followers if they have a healthy following reach out and see if they’d be interested in partnering up with you on an influencer campaign.

Don’t stop reading. I know those of you who are rolling your eyes yelling, “NO ONE MENTIONS MY BRAND!”

Don’t worry. I’ve got a solution for you, too. Look at your big competitors. Think of the Red Bulls and Coca-Colas of your industry.

See what kind of mentions they’re getting and from who. Then, reach out to those influencers and pitch away.

You never know who will say yes unless you ask.

Plus, they may not want as much as you think or even be willing to promote for free after getting to know more about you and your business.

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Nowadays, there are numerous influencer marketing tools out there that can help connect you with the right people and brands. So, if you’re having trouble finding people you want to work with, it can be beneficial to give one of the tools a try.

Final Thoughts

Influencer marketing has become much more than just a buzzword.

Marketers have been using influencers to promote their products for years, but brands are now using influencers to build customer relationships and create new revenue streams.

By leveraging the power of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, marketers can connect directly with consumers through influencers.

This can help to increase brand awareness and drive sales. It can also open your brand, business, or agency to new audiences.

As we get closer to the end of this year, try strategizing the influencer marketing opportunities you have out there.

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Top Priorities, Challenges, And Opportunities

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Top Priorities, Challenges, And Opportunities

The world of search has seen massive change recently. Whether you’re still in the planning stages for this year or underway with your 2024 strategy, you need to know the new SEO trends to stay ahead of seismic search industry shifts.

It’s time to chart a course for SEO success in this changing landscape.

Watch this on-demand webinar as we explore exclusive survey data from today’s top SEO professionals and digital marketers to inform your strategy this year. You’ll also learn how to navigate SEO in the era of AI, and how to gain an advantage with these new tools.

You’ll hear:

  • The top SEO priorities and challenges for 2024.
  • The role of AI in SEO – how to get ahead of the anticipated disruption of SGE and AI overall, plus SGE-specific SEO priorities.
  • Winning SEO resourcing strategies and reporting insights to fuel success.

With Shannon Vize and Ryan Maloney, we’ll take a deep dive into the top trends, priorities, and challenges shaping the future of SEO.

Discover timely insights and unlock new SEO growth potential in 2024.

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View the slides below or check out the full webinar for all the details.

Join Us For Our Next Webinar!

10 Successful Ways To Improve Your SERP Rankings [With Ahrefs]

Reserve your spot and discover 10 quick and easy SEO wins to boost your site’s rankings.

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E-E-A-T’s Google Ranking Influence Decoded

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E-E-A-T's Google Ranking Influence Decoded

The idea that something is not a ranking factor that nevertheless plays a role in ranking websites seems to be logically irreconcilable. Despite seeming like a paradox that cancels itself out, SearchLiaison recently tweeted some comments that go a long way to understanding how to think about E-E-A-T and apply it to SEO.

What A Googler Said About E-E-A-T

Marie Haynes published a video excerpt on YouTube from an event at which a Googler spoke, essentially doubling down on the importance of E-A-T.

This is what he said:

“You know this hasn’t always been there in Google and it’s something that we developed about ten to twelve or thirteen years ago. And it really is there to make sure that along the lines of what we talked about earlier is that it really is there to ensure that the content that people consume is going to be… it’s not going to be harmful and it’s going to be useful to the user. These are principles that we live by every single day.

And E-A-T, that template of how we rate an individual site based off of Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, we do it to every single query and every single result. So it’s actually very pervasive throughout everything that we do .

I will say that the YMYL queries, the Your Money or Your Life Queries, such as you know when I’m looking for a mortgage or when I’m looking for the local ER,  those we have a particular eye on and we pay a bit more attention to those queries because clearly they’re some of the most important decisions that people can make.

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So I would say that E-A-T has a bit more of an impact there but again, I will say that E-A-T applies to everything, every single query that we actually look at.”

How can something be a part of every single search query and not be a ranking factor, right?

Background, Experience & Expertise In Google Circa 2012

Something to consider is that in 2012 Google’s senior engineer at the time, Matt Cutts, said that experience and expertise brings a measure of quality to content and makes it worthy of ranking.

Matt Cutts’ remarks on experience and expertise were made in an interview with Eric Enge.

Discussing whether the website of a hypothetical person named “Jane” deserves to rank with articles that are original variations of what’s already in the SERPs.

Matt Cutts observed:

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“While they’re not duplicates they bring nothing new to the table.

Google would seek to detect that there is no real differentiation between these results and show only one of them so we could offer users different types of sites in the other search results.

They need to ask themselves what really is their value add? …they need to figure out what… makes them special.

…if Jane is just churning out 500 words about a topic where she doesn’t have any background, experience or expertise, a searcher might not be as interested in her opinion.”

Matt then cites the example of Pulitzer Prize-Winning movie reviewer Roger Ebert as a person with the background, experience and expertise that makes his opinion valuable to readers and the content worthy of ranking.

Matt didn’t say that a webpage author’s background, experience and expertise were ranking factors. But he did say that these are the kinds of things that can differentiate one webpage from another and align it to what Google wants to rank.

He specifically said that Google’s algorithm detects if there is something different about it that makes it stand out. That was in 2012 but not much has changed because Google’s John Mueller says the same thing.

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For example, in 2020 John Mueller said that differentiation and being compelling is important for getting Google to notice and rank a webpage.

“So with that in mind, if you’re focused on kind of this small amount of content that is the same as everyone else then I would try to find ways to significantly differentiate yourselves to really make it clear that what you have on your website is significantly different than all of those other millions of ringtone websites that have kind of the same content.

…And that’s the same recommendation I would have for any kind of website that offers essentially the same thing as lots of other web sites do.

You really need to make sure that what you’re providing is unique and compelling and high quality so that our systems and users in general will say, I want to go to this particular website because they offer me something that is unique on the web and I don’t just want to go to any random other website.”

In 2021, in regard to getting Google to index a webpage, Mueller also said:

“Is it something the web has been waiting for? Or is it just another red widget?”

This thing about being compelling and different than other sites, it’s something that’s been a part of Google’s algorithm awhile, just like the Googler in the video said, just like Matt Cutts said and exactly like what Mueller has said as well.

Are they talking about signals?

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E-EA-T Algorithm Signals

We know there’s something in the algorithm that relates to someone’s expertise and background that Google’s looking for. The table is set and we can dig into the next step of what it all means.

A while back back I remember reading something that Marie Haynes said about E-A-T, she called it a framework. And I thought, now that’s an interesting thing she just did, she’s conceptualizing E-A-T.

When SEOs discussed E-A-T it was always in the context of what to do in order to demonstrate E-A-T. So they looked at the Quality Raters Guide for guidance, which kind of makes sense since it’s a guide, right?

But what I’m proposing is that the answer isn’t really in the guidelines or anything that the quality raters are looking for.

The best way to explain it is to ask you to think about the biggest part of Google’s algorithm, relevance.

What’s relevance? Is it something you have to do? It used to be about keywords and that’s easy for SEOs to understand. But it’s not about keywords anymore because Google’s algorithm has natural language understanding (NLU). NLU is what enables machines to understand language in the way that it’s actually spoken (natural language).

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So, relevance is just something that’s related or connected to something else. So, if I ask, how do I satiate my thirst? The answer can be water, because water quenches the thirst.

How is a site relevant to the search query: “how do I satiate my thirst?”

An SEO would answer the problem of relevance by saying that the webpage has to have the keywords that match the search query, which would be the words “satiate” and “thirst.”

The next step the SEO would take is to extract the related entities for “satiate” and “thirst” because every SEO “knows” they need to do entity research to understand how to make a webpage that answers the search query, “How do I satiate my thirst?”

Hypothetical Related entities:

  • Thirst: Water, dehydration, drink,
  • Satiate: Food, satisfaction, quench, fulfillment, appease

Now that the SEO has their entities and their keywords they put it all together and write a 600 word essay that uses all their keywords and entities so that their webpage is relevant for the search query, “How do I satiate my thirst?”

I think we can stop now and see how silly that is, right? If someone asked you, “How do I satiate my thirst?” You’d answer, “With water” or “a cold refreshing beer” because that’s what it means to be relevant.

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Relevance is just a concept. It doesn’t have anything to do with entities or keywords in today’s search algorithms because the machine is understanding search queries as natural language, even more so with AI search engines.

Similarly, E-E-A-T is also just a concept. It doesn’t have anything to do with author bios, LinkedIn profiles, it doesn’t have anything at all to do with making your content say that you handled the product that’s being reviewed.

Here’s what SearchLiaison recently said about an E-E-A-T, SEO and Ranking:

“….just making a claim and talking about a ‘rigorous testing process’ and following an ‘E-E-A-T checklist’ doesn’t guarantee a top ranking or somehow automatically cause a page to do better.”

Here’s the part where SearchLiaison ties a bow around the gift of E-E-A-T knowledge:

“We talk about E-E-A-T because it’s a concept that aligns with how we try to rank good content.”

E-E-A-T Can’t Be Itemized On A Checklist

Remember how we established that relevance is a concept and not a bunch of keywords and entities? Relevance is just answering the question.

E-E-A-T is the same thing. It’s not something that you do. It’s closer to something that you are.

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SearchLiaison elaborated:

“…our automated systems don’t look at a page and see a claim like “I tested this!” and think it’s better just because of that. Rather, the things we talk about with E-E-A-T are related to what people find useful in content. Doing things generally for people is what our automated systems seek to reward, using different signals.”

A Better Understanding Of E-E-A-T

I think it’s clear now how E-E-A-T isn’t something that’s added to a webpage or is something that is demonstrated on the webpage. It’s a concept, just like relevance.

A good way to think o fit is if someone asks you a question about your family and you answer it. Most people are pretty expert and experienced enough to answer that question. That’s what E-E-A-T is and how it should be treated when publishing content, regardless if it’s YMYL content or a product review, the expertise is just like answering a question about your family, it’s just a concept.

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Google Announces A New Carousel Rich Result

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Google Announces A New Carousel Rich Result

Google announced a new carousel rich result that can be used for local businesses, products, and events which will show a scrolling horizontal carousel displaying all of the items in the list. It’s very flexible and can even be used to create a top things to do in a city list that combines hotels, restaurants, and events. This new feature is in beta, which means it’s being tested.

The new carousel rich result is for displaying lists in a carousel format. According to the announcement the rich results is limited to the following types:

LocalBusiness and its subtypes, for example:
– Restaurant
– Hotel
– VacationRental
– Product
– Event

An example of subtypes is Lodgings, which is a subset of LocalBusiness.

Here is the Schema.org hierarchical structure that shows the LodgingBusiness type as being a subset of the LocalBusiness type.

  • Thing > Organization > LocalBusiness > LodgingBusiness
  • Thing > Place > LocalBusiness > LodgingBusiness

ItemList Structured Data

The carousel displays “tiles” that contain information from the webpage that’s about the price, ratings and images. The order of what’s in the ItemList structured data is the order that they will be displayed in the carousel.

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Publishers must use the ItemList structured data in order to become eligible for the new rich result

All information in the ItemList structured data must be on the webpage. Just like any other structured data, you can’t stuff the structured data with information that is not visible on the webpage itself.

There are two important rules when using this structured data:

  1. 1. The ItemList type must be the top level container for the structured data.
  2. 2. All the URLs of in the list must point to different webpages on the same domain.

The part about the ItemList being the top level container means that the structured data cannot be merged together with another structured data where the top-level container is something other than ItemList.

For example, the structured data must begin like this:

<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "ItemList", "itemListElement": [ { "@type": "ListItem", "position": 1,

A useful quality of this new carousel rich result is that publishers can mix and match the different entities as long as they’re within the eligible structured data types.

Eligible Structured Data Types

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  • LocalBusiness and its subtypes
  • Product
  • Event

Google’s announcement explains how to mix and match the different structured data types:

“You can mix and match different types of entities (for example, hotels, restaurants), if needed for your scenario. For example, if you have a page that has both local events and local businesses.”

Here is an example of a ListItem structured data that can be used in a webpage about Things To Do In Paris.

The following structured data is for two events and a local business (the Eiffel Tower):

<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "ItemList", "itemListElement": [ { "@type": "ListItem", "position": 1, "item": { "@type": "Event", "name": "Paris Seine River Dinner Cruise", "image": [ "https://example.com/photos/1x1/photo.jpg", "https://example.com/photos/4x3/photo.jpg", "https://example.com/photos/16x9/photo.jpg" ], "offers": { "@type": "Offer", "price": 45.00, "priceCurrency": "EUR" }, "aggregateRating": { "@type": "AggregateRating", "ratingValue": 4.2, "reviewCount": 690 }, "url": "https://www.example.com/event-location1" } }, { "@type": "ListItem", "position": 2, "item": { "@type": "LocalBusiness", "name": "Notre-Dame Cathedral", "image": [ "https://example.com/photos/1x1/photo.jpg", "https://example.com/photos/4x3/photo.jpg", "https://example.com/photos/16x9/photo.jpg" ], "priceRange": "$", "aggregateRating": { "@type": "AggregateRating", "ratingValue": 4.8, "reviewCount": 4220 }, "url": "https://www.example.com/localbusiness-location" } }, { "@type": "ListItem", "position": 3, "item": { "@type": "Event", "name": "Eiffel Tower With Host Summit Tour", "image": [ "https://example.com/photos/1x1/photo.jpg", "https://example.com/photos/4x3/photo.jpg", "https://example.com/photos/16x9/photo.jpg" ], "offers": { "@type": "Offer", "price": 59.00, "priceCurrency": "EUR" }, "aggregateRating": { "@type": "AggregateRating", "ratingValue": 4.9, "reviewCount": 652 }, "url": "https://www.example.com/event-location2" } } ] } </script>

Be As Specific As Possible

Google’s guidelines recommends being as specific as possible but that if there isn’t a structured data type that closely matches with the type of business then it’s okay to use the more generic LocalBusiness structured data type.

“Depending on your scenario, you may choose the best type to use. For example, if you have a list of hotels and vacation rentals on your page, use both Hotel and VacationRental types. While it’s ideal to use the type that’s closest to your scenario, you can choose to use a more generic type (for example, LocalBusiness).”

Can Be Used For Products

A super interesting use case for this structured data is for displaying a list of products in a carousel rich result.

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The structured data for that begins as a ItemList structured data type like this:

<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "ItemList", "itemListElement": [ { "@type": "ListItem", "position": 1, "item": { "@type": "Product",

The structured data can list images, ratings, reviewCount, and currency just like any other product listing, but doing it like this will make the webpage eligible for the carousel rich results.

Google has a list of recommended recommended properties that can be used with the Products version, such as offers, offers.highPrice, and offers.lowPrice.

Good For Local Businesses and Merchants

This new structured data is a good opportunity for local businesses and publishers that list events, restaurants and lodgings to get in on a new kind of rich result.

Using this structured data doesn’t guarantee that it will display as a rich result, it only makes it eligible for it.

This new feature is in beta, meaning that it’s a test.

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Read the new developer page for this new rich result type:

Structured data carousels (beta)

Featured Image by Shutterstock/RYO Alexandre

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