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I see with Google that you can add rich snippits for SKUs, GTINs (barcode numbers): https://developers.google.com/structured-data/rich-snippets/products

Here's an example of what I'm thinking of adding to our product page:

<span itemprop="gtin12">123456789101</span>

How does Google use this information?

I'm hoping they use it to index your page better and do not show it in the search results, as a 12 digit barcode number would look strange in a search result.

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Currently Google Search doesn’t display the code in their Products Rich Snippet.

Google recommends to use at least one of these properties: sku, gtin8, gtin13, gtin14, mpn. They call these "identification properties", and my guess is that this name points to the reason why they recommend to use them: it allows Google to identify the products (either globally or per merchant).

  • what advantage to the merchant is there in adding this information for google, SEO? The customer could use it to search for the product on a competitors website. – Holly Feb 24 '16 at 9:24
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    @Holy: Wouldn’t you display the product code anyway, even if not using Schema.org? If not (i.e., you want to keep it hidden), then I guess you also don’t want to convey it in your structured data. -- It’s probably impossible to point to a specific advantage for the merchant: if Google knows more about the product, Google Search can, in principle, do a better job in showing (or not showing) your product page in the results (and it might also help with Google Shopping).To which extent they actually use this information (if at all) is not documented. – unor Feb 24 '16 at 16:09
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Google only specifies that it is used for "various identification properties". This would strongly suggest that it is used purely for identifying the same product across multiple websites, which I would speculate is for SERPs, even if it's not shown to the user. Elsewhere it's used may be for Shopping or Knowledge Graph. It's definitely not something that would be shown prominently on a SERP to the user as it has no real value in that regard.

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