If you’re among the over a billion people who use Google as a search engine, chances are you’ve seen rich results or featured snippets for one of your search queries. Perhaps you’ve searched for a recipe and have seen three recipe cards, each with photos and a quick ingredient list, before you see the search results you’re used to seeing. Or perhaps you’ve asked Google a question and received a suggested answer in a box above the regular search results.
For recipes, questions, and several other types of searches, Google is increasingly showing featured snippets. In the SEO community, these featured snippets are sometimes referred to as ranking in “Position 0” because they’re above even the first search result. As such, many digital marketers strive to have their website in this position or to have a rich result that allows their website to stand out from the rest of the search results. But how exactly do you get a featured snippet or a rich result on Google? Below, we discuss some of the more popular types of rich results, as well as tools you can use to add structured data to your website and obtain similar results.
Types of Rich Results
As mentioned above, if you type a question into the Google search bar, it might serve you a featured snippet it believes will answer your question. In our example, we searched “Is radiant barrier worth the cost?”, and Google showed us a featured snippet from the Department of Energy that discusses the benefits of radiant barriers. Below the featured snippet, Google lists additional questions related to your initial search.
Below that, Google shows the search results you’re accustomed to seeing. You may, however, also see rich results in this section. In our second example, you can see a more localized answer to the same question. By taking up more real estate than a regular search result and mentioning the user’s location, this rich result can lead to a higher click-through-rate.
As a featured snippet, recipes appear as one of three cards at the top of the search results like we mentioned in our introduction. As a rich result, however, recipes will appear alongside other results but have information about the recipe’s rating, preparation time, nutritional facts, and serving size. Here’s what a rich result for “apple pie recipe” may look like:
Products & Services
Products are another type of content that can appear as cards at top of the SERPs or as rich results with added information about price, availability, and reviews. Services can also appear as rich results with the same code. Here’s an example of that:
We’ve listed a few of the more popular types of content that can appear as a rich result in Google. The list, however, goes on and includes articles, how-to guides, job postings, social profiles, videos, and website sitelinks. For a full list, see Google’s Search Gallery Guide.
Adding Structured Data to Your Website
Now that we’ve seen a few different types of rich results, we can jump into how to get these for your own business! For the content types seen above, structured data, such as JSON-LD, can be used to mark up a website’s content and “tell” Google what it’s crawling. With FAQs, for example, JSON-LD is used to first define the content as an FAQ page, then to define each question as a question and each answer as an answer. This helps Google fully understand what type of content it is looking at, so it can then deliver rich results to search engine users. Here’s an example of what that looks like on the backend of a website:
"name": "Is radiant barrier worth the cost?",
"text": "When implemented in a hot, sunny climate like San Antonio alongside other energy-saving products like energy-efficient windows and attic insulation, a radiant barrier can help you save as much as 35% on your annual energy bills. It can even allow you to downsize to a smaller HVAC system. These substantial savings will more than pay for the cost of the radiant barrier."
If you’re feeling a little worried about implementing this on your website because coding may not be your thing, don’t be alarmed! There are several free tools available that can help you generate this structured data and add them to your website without the need to work with complicated FTP programs:
- Schema Markup Generator: As the name suggests, this generator helps create JSON-LD schema markup for your website. Simply, click on the dropdown menu to choose the type of content you want to mark up, enter as many fields as possible, then copy the code on the right hand side.
- Header/Footer Code Plugin: For WordPress websites, this plugin by AddFunc makes adding codes to your header or footer a breeze! Once logged into WordPress, “edit” the page with the content you want to mark up, scroll down, and paste the code in the Header box. Leave the “Replace Site-wide Head Code” box unchecked, and update the page.
- Rich Results Test: Once the code has been placed on your page, copy the URL into Google’s Rich Results Test, and click TEST URL. Google will fetch the page, analyze the content, and determine whether it’s eligible for rich results, or if there are any errors in the code that need to be fixed before it’s eligible. If no errors are visible, then your page is ready to go!
Featured snippets and rich results enjoy some of the best real estate on the Google search results page. They’re also more likely to be served to users with virtual assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. As such, it is important that digital marketers integrate this SEO strategy on their website to increase visibility and click-through-rate to their website. To learn more about structured data, rich results, and whether they’re appropriate for your website, contact the SEO professionals at Geek Powered Studios.