What are rich results?
Rich results are a special brand of search results — made to stand out and help users achieve their tasks or get their answer more quickly. These results range from recipe carousels to complete interfaces from things as jobs and flights. Search engines are expanding the number of subjects that trigger a rich result. Getting featured in a rich result is rewarding since it is located at the so-called position zero.
A closer look at rich results
First, let’s look at what regular search results a.k.a snippets are. A snippet is an individual search result with black lines of text beneath the title. Here you’ll read a piece of text introducing the search result.
There are a lot of them, and new ones keep popping up. Search engines are looking for the best and fastest possible way to get an answer to a user. For instance, if you search for a product, you get product-oriented rich results like reviews and availability. While if you search for a particular recent movie, you see where it’s playing and it even lets you book tickets right away.
Here’s an example of a rich result for a specific product, namely a Fender American Professional Precision Bass.
But that’s not all that’s changed. The entire search result page looks a lot richer than years ago. For example, this is what a desktop US search results page for a specific product looks like. It’s got a lot of stuff going on:
- Ads by several shops to order it online
- A sponsored shopping panel to order it online
- Rich snippets for product listings in the organic search part
- Questions people ask about this product
- Video overviews and reviews
- Editorial reviews
- User reviews
- Images of this product
- Related searches
Omnipresent on mobile
There are a couple of other enhancements to the search results pages. On mobile, for instance, you’ll find an incredible amount of rich results. These results provide a lot more actionable information, directly from the search results page. Rich results are available for lots of topics, from movies — you can see an example of that below — and recipes, to local restaurants and online courses. You can check the results of your rich results in Google Search Console.
Featured snippets and answer boxes
Now there are also featured snippets and answer boxes — the latter will show when Google itself knows the answer to a question itself, often directly coming from the knowledge graph. These boxes will show at the top of the page to answer a query right away, in the search results. Last but not least, there’s the knowledge graph card; this is the big block of information on the right-hand side.
Search for Bruce Springsteen in Google and you’ll see an answer box like this.
Building blocks for rich results
To increase the chance of getting rich results, you need to add structured data to your site. The structured data is in a vocabulary called schema.org and can be added to your page in different ways.
On Schema.org you’ll find a neat getting started guide.
What do rich results do?
In addition to telling the search engine what all the pieces of your site are, the main goal of rich results is to inform the searcher. A rich result might entice the searcher to click on the link. Users can now judge directly from the search results if a certain result is the one they are looking for.
Let’s say you have a business delivering flowers. You’ve done a lot of work to rank well in the search engines for the term [flower delivery to the Netherlands].
You rank pretty well, but your competitor has rich snippets, and you don’t. He shows his reviews directly in the search results and his flower shop rates 4,4 out of 5 stars. His stars just naturally catch your eye.
With his high rating, he might attract more clicks from searchers, just because he has a more ‘trustworthy’ profile. You know what you have to do.
Do rich results have benefits for SEO?
Adding structured data does not directly result in better rankings. Sometimes, you might even get a rich result without having any structured data on your site.
It does, however, make you more visible in the search results. Search engines understand your pages better and can, therefore, present your result a lot better. This, in turn, might lead to more focused traffic, extra sales, links and in the end; better results from your site.
If your listings get rich results, searchers will notice you more because you stand out from the crowd. This can lead to a higher click-through rate (CTR).
In addition to that, if your snippets are really good, your bounce rate may potentially go down. The reason for this is that searchers can make better judgments directly from the results. If your listing is not up to scratch, searchers might skip you. If it is, they know your listing should promise what it says. All you have to do is deliver the result it promises.
Keep in mind that it’s up to the search engines to determine if your listings get rich results. There are no guarantees you’ll get them.
What types are there?
There are different types of rich results. Here are some prominent examples. You can see some of these in action in Google’s Search Gallery.
Mark up products with Schema.org/Product and you can get rich results in search results. Your product can be enhanced with ratings, pricing, and availability.
Reviews and ratings
Do customers give your product ratings? Then you could collect them and mark these up as ratings or reviews with Schema.org/Review. This way search engines recognize the product reviews and might show them in the search results.
Remember, reviews must be present and visible for visitors of the page. Also, Google recently put the cap on self-serving reviews. This means that, for the organization and localBusiness type, collecting those reviews yourself to get them in the search results is not allowed anymore.
Businesses and organizations
Your local business should present the correct structured data to search engines (Schema.org/LocalBusiness). If you use this data, search engines will pick it up and might highlight your business in the results.
Don’t have the time or knowledge to add all this information yourself? Our Local developers can do it for you.
You can now see recipes directly in the search results. If you are searching for a recipe for cheesecake, you can now find it without leaving the search engine. To activate this on your cooking site, you need to add Schema.org/Recipe data.
Event listings have been around for quite a while, but Google recently revamped and expanded the listings. If correctly implemented clubs, venues or other social and cultural entities can show multiple upcoming events directly in search results. Check out Schema.org/Event.
Marking up your jobs with jobPosting Schema might lead to inclusion in Google Jobs interface. This will highlight your jobs in a section of Google Jobs. Find out more on Schema.org/JobPosting.
By adding Schema.org/Course data you can highlight your course in the search results. Among other things, you can show a description, tutor, price and the institute that facilitates the course. You can find a couple of example sites, including markup at W3.org.
Don’t forget to test
When you’ve added structured data, we strongly recommend doing some testing. This helps you figure out whether you’ve added the correct structured data and which rich results can be generated. Test your page by entering the URL into Google’s Rich Results Test or the Schema Markup Validator on Schema.org.
While adding structured data for rich results doesn’t directly lead to better rankings, it will lead to a better understanding of your site by search engines and visitors alike. As with a lot of SEO related things, you are still in the hands of search engines. They will determine if a site gets rich results or not.
Don’t let this stop you, though. Adding structured data to your site is always a good thing because you are making your site clearer to search engines and thus creating a bigger chance of them presenting your site in the best possible way.