Why Are Rich Results “A Thing”?
As Google’s core business has come under assault from social channels, in recent years it has shifted its strategy to become more of a portal.
A place that searchers go and stay. Or, go and “do stuff”, rather than primarily go and click away.
That said, Google consistently drives more traffic than any other digital channel. Just not as much as in previously.
Given the steady rise in “Zero-Click” searches, as they’re often known, this is only likely to accelerate. With both Google and Facebook working to create “walled gardens”, from which users seldom leave.
It is in trying to capitalise on this shift in Google Search’ broader business that rich results comes in.
At SMK’s upcoming Content Marketing & Digital Copywriting Masterclass, we will be examining the impact of this, crafting winning search and social friendly copy, and much more.
How Do Rich Results Work?
Rich results (previously known as rich snippets) are like normal Google search results, but with additional data displayed.
Check out this tasty Jamie Oliver banana bread recipe example.
The vast majority of Google search results display the same 3 pieces of data: 1. Title tag 2. Meta description 3.URL
Rich results do the same, but with added detail and visuals. Since they are more eye-catching (as per Jamie example above) rich results often have a higher click through rate. Driving more traffic.
The extra information displayed is pulled from Structured Data found in a page’s HTML.
Structured data, also called schema markup, is a type of code that makes it easier for search engines to crawl, organise, and display your content.
Structured data communicates to search engines what your data means. Without schema markup, search engines can only tell what your data says, and they have to work harder to determine why it’s there.
Schema markup helps your website perform better for all kinds of content types, including:
Not only does marking up site content improve the representation and click-through rates of content in search results, when it displays (Note: Google does not guarantee it will always display), but it also facilitates additional functionality.
For example, the Local Business structured data can improve the visibility of local businesses within Google Maps.
Likewise, if you want to help users to make a reservation or place an order directly in Search results, you can use the Maps Booking API to enable bookings, payments, and other actions.
Similarly, Google now surfaces Popular Products organically within search results, leveraging insights from Product markup (listed above) and the Google Merchant Centre.
The Popular Products organic search feature, which launched in January 2020, identifies popular products from merchants to show them in a single spot, allowing users to filter by style, department and size type, with links to merchant sites.
How Can Businesses Unlock Rich Results?
Google’s rich results are drawing on your website copy and accompanying structured data in the surrounding HTML.
Therefore, a simple rule thumb is…
- If you have a decent amount of useful content on your site, which is well written and keyword friendly, maybe have a go at the structured data retrospectively – rather than making more content
- If you lack a decent amount of useful content, build that out first before getting bogged down in technical detail
At SMK’s upcoming Content Marketing & Digital Copywriting Masterclass, we will be going into detail on how to boost the ROI of Content Marketing. Mapping content to different stages in the user journey, tailoring around search intent and copywriting best practice for all channels and devices.
Marking-up existing web content is in many ways an admin task, which needn’t take too long, and can be done gradually over time.
The site itself dictates the specifics of how you apply the structured data.
For example, if your site is built on WordPress, marking up content is a piece of cake, since there is a wide array of structured data plugins available. Often negating the need for any coding or HTML work.
For sites not built on WordPress, or a similar platform, with an easy CMS or available plugins then structured data implementation will most likely require some developer help.
Unless you’re game for getting your hands dirty with code.
In the case of the latter, Google has tried to make life a little easier with its Structured Data Helper (pictured), which can walk you through the process of marking up site content, installing the required code and testing that it is working.
Which is nice of them.
SMK will be exploring the latest opportunities, systems, processes and features for optimal Content Marketing in 2020 in a few weeks time. Expanding upon the key feature launches across all major platforms from the past six to twelve months.
Courses run through March and April, with earlybird rates available, alongside not-for-profit discounts and group bookings discounts. It is also possible to tailor any course to your needs as part of an In-house Training program.