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Use Rich Results and Structured Data to Set Your Site Apart in Search

Aug 26, 2019
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Google's research results have added a number of new features over the last few years. Features like the image carousel, People Also Asked, and Videos are all know as "Rich Results."  While earning these spots may seem impossible, utilizing structured data any site can stake claim to these features. In this video, I'll share a few of these powerful Rich Results and how you can leverage them for yourself.

Before we get started, here are a few FAQs on Rich Results and Structured Data. 

 

What are Rich Results? 

According to Google, Rich Results are experiences on Google surfaces, such as Search, that go beyond the standard blue link.

What is Structured Data? 

Structured data is code used to format information in a way a search engine can best understand it. 

What Markup Language Should I Use? 

Google and other major search engines prefer that you use JSON-LD. This stands for JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data), is a method of encoding Linked Data using JSON

Do I need to learn code to implement structured data? 

No! There are a number of great tools you can use to generate the code for you. Here is one that we use all the time. https://technicalseo.com/tools/schema-markup-generator/

How do I add structured data to my site? 

There are many methods for adding structured data to your site. Here is a link to a video where we explain step-by-step how to do it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfylPuHIBNo&t=7s

 

 

 

Video Transcript:

Hey, thanks for checking out this video. If this is your first time watching, or maybe you've been watching a while and you're not yet a subscriber, please hit the button right now, and don't forget to turn on alerts, that way you know each and every time we create new content.

So as I said in the opening, we're going to be talking about rich results. Google has made massive shifts in the way that it's displayed search results over the last few years. As you can see, just in this image alone, is kind of looking at mobile search. We've seen this happen on display and we see new and more exciting rich results every so often now. It used to be these changes wouldn't happen very frequently, today it seems like changes are happening extremely fast.

So what are rich results? These are experiences on Google surfaces, such as Google Search or Maps. It's happening now in image search as well and in a number of other assets. These can be things like image carousels or product carousels, or People Also Ask For boxes or Knowledge Graphs.

There's a lot of different ways that Google is now displaying information, and they use structured data to help them understand the content on a page, and also to determine whether or not it fits within what they're doing in the rich results. So we can actually leverage our structured data to help us gain these positions in search.

Now, there's a lot of different kinds of rich results. These are what Google is using right now, and this is not all the schema types, but these are all the types of rich results that they're using. There's actually 28 available to us in search at the moment, but not every single one of them is going to apply to every single business. Today we're going to look at some specific ones that I want to focus on, but really that's also a question you need to ask yourself, is which ones are the most important to your business?

You can check all of these out on developer.google.com and find a lot more information about them there. But like I said, in this video, we're going to look at these 10 specifically, and we're going to look at what they are, what they look like in the search results, and also what does the schema or the JSON-LD markup look like?

Now, if you want this code directly, again, I recommend you go into Google. They give you an example of the code. You can also use most of these schema markup tools online. There's some for WordPress, Merkle has a really great one as well, and I'll add a link to that structured data tool that you can use to help get you started.

The first one we want to look at is Corporate Contact. Now a lot of companies want this knowledge panel with their business name and things like their social media followers and who made them. Now you can create these or influence these by doing a number of things. One of the most important parts though is having your contact information on them and the right contact information on them. By using schema markup, you can add this contact point, that is what it's called, to your structured data or to your organizational markup.

As you can see here, it's going to add a customer service phone number, and you need to have both the number, you also need to have a URL associated with it for it to be valid, otherwise it will throw an error in the structured data testing.

Events are another great thing to add markup to, because events have these really cool rich features. As you can see here, we've got things like the concerts in Chicago. It's got all these different dates, and then you can just see it in Maps and then you can also buy the tickets. All of these are highlighted and connected through this markup here. It's a really cool way to leverage event markup, adding in all of your information and then hopefully promoting that to Google, having Google come and crawl that page, and allowing those events to show up in these event carousels. These are really cool for venues, really cool for sporting events,  also business events as well.

FAQ. This is a newer structured data, not newer structured data, but a newer rich feature. You can use the FAQ markup in order to get your facts in here. What's really cool, is your site has this giant listing. Now, people will get information directly from the SERPs, so you could see not as many people necessarily clicking through to your website. I know for a lot of people that's been an issue lately with Google when they're showing so much information. While they are technically citing your site, you actually could be possibly losing traffic.

But there's also the other side to this, where if people get this information and they want to learn more and go deeper into the FAQs, then they're going to have to click in. When you have this really nice box of all this information that you can display, that's your one listing in search results, that can be very powerful real estate for your company. Again, JSON-LD is the markup here being used, you can have a number of questions and answers. Then you have Google crawl that page, and again, this is what the rich result will look like.

Similar to the FAQ is the How-To. If you're doing how-to videos or you're creating content of how to do X, Y, Z, you can leverage now the how-to markup in order to hopefully get this result here in the rich results. It's going to show the number of steps that are being done, how many days does it take? All that information that you're displaying in your piece of content, can also be marked up and added to the layer in JSON-LD, which would then allow you to have this step-by-step interaction.

Now this is a really cool thing, and again, so you do have this linked to your site, so if they want to get all five steps, they want to go deeper into the process, they need to click into your site and see that. This is a little bit more extensive code. You see here, continues down here. There's a lot going on here, but again, you're adding in the steps, you're adding in the directions, you're adding in all the content and the stuff you're going to need to actually achieve this.

So when you're doing how-to, you're going to have to invest some time and energy in this and make sure you test it using the Google structured data testing tool, that everything is verified and then submitted to the Index.

Local businesses need to stand out, right? I mean, we have so many businesses in the listings and sometimes you want to make your business set apart, you want to be able to show what you have available and what you can do. One way you can help improve your visibility and make sure that you show up in search and maps, and also have a business-like knowledge card, is by adding local business schema.

This is a pretty simple schema to add. This is a very bare bones basic version of it over here in the example, but you can also add other things to it and then get other features, like this company does where they have their rating. They have their menu, they have find a table. Google's doing a lot of cool stuff like that, especially with restaurants and places that you can book an appointment at, you can do it right there within the search results. I actually recently did that a couple of weeks ago when we went out to dinner.

Logo. So this is kind of connected to what we talked about when we were showing the corporate knowledge card. If you want to change your logo or make sure that your logo shows up in your knowledge panel, you want to mark it up very simply by adding it to your organizational schema, have the URL, have the logo associated with it. That will help your logo show up in the knowledge graph.

So products, this is another interesting markup. So this is happening, not just in the search results with product carousels, but also in images. You can actually add tags to your images, so you can do this with products and also recipe schema right now. As you can see here in this phone, these got tags that say product. Then when you add this extra structured data to it and you look at it, you not only have this really nice what the product is description, but also the rating and the price of the product. So you can add a lot more context to your product and get these awesome rich features in Google Search by adding product schema. Again, it's a little bit longer, but the time is definitely worth the investment.

Q&A is similar to how-to or FAQ, excuse me, and this is where if you have a question and answer format. Maybe you have a forum or support forum, we have common questions. Somebody is having an issue with something, and you can actually highlight, in the search results, what the right answer is and show the other possible answers here as well, in kind of this carousel feature. This is a new rich feature from Google or a newer rich feature from Google, and you can use the Q&A schema to help you get into this.

Now one thing that needs to be said, the content that's in your schema needs to match the content that's on your page. Google bots will read both. If you're saying one thing one place and you're saying something else another place, that's not good practice, and honestly, it shows very deceptive practices. The Google bot is pretty smart and can figure things out when people are trying to trick it. So, make sure that your question, answers match up very well with your schema.

Software applications. This is something that a lot of people, whether you have a progressive web app or maybe you've got an Android or an iPhone application, marking these up so that you can get found in search. You can also show the ratings, you can show how much it costs, what platform you're on. It's not this huge long line of code, but it's extremely valuable and can give Google the information you want them to use when they're highlighting your product or your application in the search results.

The last one is Video. Now we've got a lot of tools that will create schema for you when you embed them into a page, but you want to make sure that you're embedding these videos with their name, the description, with the thumbnails. As you can see, you can even have your thumbnails show up in image search now, where people could say, "This is a thumbnail from a video," they can click and watch the whole video. Video schema is very powerful, video is a great platform. Adding this structured data to it in order to get your rich placements is even better. So I highly recommend you take the time and energy to investigate video schema, so you can show up in the rich cards.

Now we just talked about 10, and we went through them very fast, I didn't show you how to implement any of those. I do plan on building all of this together and showing how to implement some of these and what happens, what it looks like when you get those results. We're doing a number of tests right now, but if you want to learn more, go to developers.google.com and you can see all of that here.

If you're interested in learning how to implement that, I'm going to put a link to our structured data implementation video at the end of this one as well, so you can see how you would build that schema and then how you could put it on your website in a couple of different ways.

If you have any questions about what we talked about here, or you want to have another conversation about marketing, please comment below. We'd love to continue that conversation with you. Until next time, Happy Marketing.

 

How to Use the Knowledge Graph Guide free ebook

 

 

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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