Nowadays, businesses frequently want rich search results – and this is particularly important to those within industries such as healthcare, due to the competition that they face online from other Australian providers. Previously, a Google search presented results without it really meaning anything. In the present day, however, there is so much more to these results.
Search results now look very different – not only is there extra information that’s hidden behind the links, but there’s also action-oriented or visual rich content. But what’s meant by rich results? And what impact do they have on your website?
Rich results: a brief description
Rich results are specifically designed to stand out from the crowd and help users find what they are looking for more efficiently and effectively. A special type of search results, they can range depending on what you have to offer – for example, they can be image carousels (a selection of different images you can click through) to relevant interfaces (e.g if you type in a flight number, Google will show you when that flight is taking off and the location it’s going to).
In terms of the healthcare industry, an example is if you type in the name of a condition. Google will pull through not only a definition, but also top stories related to it.
Search engines are frequently trying to expand the amount of subjects which will trigger a result that’s thought of as more useful and rich. If your website is featured in these rich results, it can be very rewarding for you due to the attention it attracts.
Additional valuable information about rich results
When comparing rich results to traditional search results the differences are clear. A regular result, also known as a ‘snippet’ are searches that have black lines of text underneath the title of the page. To write a useful snippet, you’ll need to create a piece of text that perfectly introduces the page.
Rich search results, however, have a different format or location on the screen, making them more prominent to the user. Search engines will analyse these search results and rank them based on how relevant they are. For example, if a user searches for a particular product, Google will show rich results related to it, including places that sell it, along with reviews about it.
Mobile rich results
If you optimise your website correctly, your website could harness rich search results on mobile. As it’s condensed information, if there is a lot of competition, it can be harder to rank highly on the page. You can check how rich your search results are by using the Google Search Console.
When a user searches on mobile or desktop, they will not only be presented with featured snippets, but also answer boxes at the top of the page. An answer box will include information to a question Google itself has answered for you. At the side of the page, you’ll also notice a knowledge graph card; this is a block of information on the right-hand side of the page, detailing key information related to your search result.
How to get rich results
To increase the possibility of achieving rich results, you’ll need to add what’s known as ‘structured data’ to your website. This is information that’s in Schema.org’s vocabulary. Although it might seem daunting, it’s actually quite an easy process that anyone can do.
There are several ways that you can add this to your website, including:
- Using a classic format: for example, HTML Microdata (which inserts metadata within content on your web pages. This will then be processed by search engines to provide a richer experience for those browsing the web).
What’s the benefit for your SEO?
It’s a little known fact that you can achieve rich results without adding structured data on your website. Although structured data can sometimes help with rankings, that’s not always the case.
It does, however, ensure that your website is more visible within the search results – leading to extra sales, better results and focused traffic. It will also lead to the search engines and visitors having a better understanding of what you’re offering.\
Similarly to utilising other SEO techniques, with rich results, searchers will start to notice your website – leading to a high click-through rate. If you haven’t optimised your website for the search engine, however, there’s a chance that your website won’t be one of the first to appear.
It’s important to remember, however, that it’s the search engines that determine just how rich your listings are. There’s no direct guarantee that you’ll get rich results. However, this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be careful when adding structured data to your website. If you don’t follow the rules laid out by Google, you could either be sanctioned or receive a penalty.
Types of rich results
- Products: to ensure these rank higher, include ratings, availability, pricing and mark them up with schema; a code that you can put into your website that adds context.
- Businesses: to achieve rich results, present accurate data to the search engines – e.g showcase what you’re offering, your opening times, etc.