Rich Results: The Next Generation of Structured Data
One of the fundamental principles behind what we do here at Results Driven Marketing is ensuring that the techniques and technology we use in our digital marketing campaigns are the best they can be.
With the speed that the internet changes, keeping ahead of these trends takes dedication. It seems that once every year everything changes and what once drove your online presence to its peak is now dragging you down. A great example of this is that just a few years ago not having a mobile-friendly website wasn’t a big deal Today that would be considered a death knell for your marketing campaign. Google will penalize your site in their search results for not taking a mobile presence into account.
It is in this vein that we now turn our attention to the world of rich results.
Everyone who has been involved in a conversation about web marketing or SEO has probably seen or heard something about Google’s new Rich Results Testing Tool.
Google announced the new tool in conjunction with their decision to group all of their terms, such as rich snippets and enhanced results under the umbrella of rich results.
Though the tool was just announced last month, there is already a deluge of information surrounding this new initiative by Google to bring their SEO interpretation to the next level. Please join us as we delve into this new tool and the implications it will have for your business and online marketing presence.
Rich Results: What is Structured Data?
For those of us who are still in the meta tags era, here is a quick crash course. Structured data are snippets of information that are encoded into a web page’s back end. These snippets of information, which can be created via JSON-LD, Microdata, or RDFa types, are designed to enable search engines like Google to better classify web pages for search results.
The best way to think about it is to imagine that your web page is an object that you are trying to describe to someone who has no frame of reference. For instance, if you were to explain to a blind person what a bicycle is you would start with the basic structure. Explaining that it consisted of wheels, handlebars, and a seat would be things that would help give a better context to establish that frame.
The same thing is true of a website. Structuring your data to give the object of your website characteristics that potential customers may be looking for. A great example that has been used by many is a web page that contains a recipe. By giving that web page structured data that defines that recipes ingredients allows for that page to return not only for the recipe name but its ingredients or cooking time.
Rich Results: What is a Rich Card?
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of what structured data is, let’s turn our attention to what Google calls rich cards.
A rich card is just another way of customizing your search result to further stand out from the pack. When you type a search into Google and the first page of results are returned you will most likely notice that there is a result pinned directly to the top of the page that is enclosed into a raised box. If you are viewing this on your laptop or desktop computer it will probably resemble a 3×5 index card. When viewed on a mobile device, the rich cards appear as stylized tiles.
This feature allows your result to stand out regardless of the platform your clients choose to search from.
In addition to giving a more appealing visual to your results in the search window, structuring your data with a rich card in mind will also allow you to target your potential client base with much greater precision. Using structured data as the backbone, rich cards will allow you to market directly to customers in the search results window. Embedded images and star ratings will make your website outshine the rest without the stigma that has become attached to paid for advertisements.
Rich Results: What is the Testing Tool?
Hopefully our discussion thus far has gotten you interested in diving into the cutting edge world of rich results for your Internet presence. Now that we’ve gotten your feet wet with an introduction to the hows and whys of rich results we turn our attention to the newly released Rich Results Testing Tool.
This is not to be confused with the Structured Data Testing Tool. The purpose of this new tool is to allow companies like yours an easy and intuitive way to determine if their website is optimized with Rich Results in mind.
This new tool is the next step in the evolution of Google’s search engine algorithm. It functions as a companion piece to the structured data testing tool. However, while the structured data testing tool is useful mostly for determining issues with the code of the website, the rich results testing tool can be used for a quick assessment of whether your website supports rich results.
The information that this provides will enable you to make increasingly accurate decisions on where your marketing dollars are best focused.
The interface at this time is still in its beta phase and only currently supports testing for recipes, jobs, movies, and online courses. However, Google is working on expanding its testing suite with an eye towards much more comprehensive testing. While some will say that this current limitation renders the value of talking about this tool premature, it is our contention that being at the forefront of this technology is paramount. The pace of technology keeps moving faster every day, so the cutting edge technology of today becomes the standard of tomorrow.
Rich Results: What are the Next Steps?
Wayne Gretzky is arguably the greatest player in the history of hockey. There are many reasons for his record-breaking success. One of the most influential is something his father drilled into him from a very young age. That is the idea that chasing the puck will always leave you a step behind. Focusing on the movement of the puck itself will instead allow you to figure out where the puck is going to be. If you can anticipate the next movement, you will always be one step ahead of everyone else on the ice. It is this very strategic advantage that enabled Gretzky to dominate the sport of hockey for two decades.
We here at Results Driven Marketing pride ourselves by not only tracking the market place, but getting out in front of those innovations that will provide the most value to our clients. We understand that with trends moving faster every day, the importance of remaining current becomes secondary to leading the charge. While other companies are content to simply follow the current standards for things like search engine optimization, we are always striving to innovate the next big thing – like voice search. So if you’re tired of simply chasing the puck, why not give our Google girls and guys a call at 215-393-8700 and let us get you out in front.
We guarantee there is no better feeling than being placed at the goal when the puck catches up.
Director of Search Engine Optimization for Results Driven Marketing, Managing Editor or TAPinto The Mainline, and the artist behind The World’s Friendliest Superhero, Steve Myers is a creative force in the digital marketing industry. Dubbed “Doctor Digital” by his colleagues, he takes a light-hearted approach to Search Engines and how they work, mixing in comics, hip-hop, and popular culture to help explain the complexities of AI, algorithms, and structured data.