Google is taking its Rich Results Test out of beta. As a result, the company will shut down the structured data testing tool.
You can still use the old tool for a little while, but Google recommends you move to the new tool as soon as possible.
Here’s what we know about the change.
Benefits of the Rich Results Test
Why does Google prefer the Rich Results Test over the old structured data test? Here are a few reasons:
- It shows the search features that apply to the markup you’re using
- It supports dynamically loaded structured data markup better
- It shows both mobile and desktop versions of markup
- It’s in sync with Google Search Console reports
Also, you can use the Rich Results Test to test an entire web page or just a snippet of code.
If you’re new to this SEO thing, you might not even understand the phrase “rich results.” Let me explain it to you.
Rich results are enhanced results that appear in search. You’ve probably seen them several times but didn’t know that they’re called “rich results.”
For example, you may have seen more than a few star ratings below some results in search and wondered how Google knows about those ratings.
It gets the ratings from structured data markup.
There are plenty of other types of rich results beyond ratings, though:
- Video overview
- Store hours
- Written reviews
- Product specifications
And more. Much more.
Rich results are great for SEO because they stand out from “normal” search results. That means they’re more likely to get clicks.
Now that you know a little more about rich results, you might be wondering about structured data.
Simply put: structured data is a type of markup that you embed within your website code. It gives search engines more info about the contents on your page.
If you’d like to learn more about the types of structured data you can include on your website, head over to schema.org and have a look. You’ll find plenty of elements you can use.
For example, if you’re running a local business, you can use the Organization markup to share information about:
- Business address
- Number of employees
- Phone number
- Currencies accepted
- Store hours
- Price range
- Area you serve
And much more.
When you include that kind of detail in your website, it’s easier for search engines to parse that info and share it with people looking for a business just like yours.
Markup in Search Results Still Limited
Although you can include an entire Alexandrian Library of details about your business with schema markup (heck, you can even identify the name of the founder of the business), that doesn’t mean Google will display it all in search results.
Google only shares a subset of markup data in search.
Which data? Well, that depends on the nature of the search.
If you’re searching for a product, you’ll see details about the product in search results. That includes the price and its star rating.
However, if you’re searching for a place of business, you’ll see different info such as the store hours and its physical address.
Even though Google won’t share everything with curious searchers, it’s better to include more rather than fewer data in schema markup. That’s because Google may choose to display the additional info at some point in the future. You won’t have to make any changes if you’re already prepared for it.
Wrapping It Up
It’s important to make sure that your website displays rich results in search. To that end, you’ll need to use a tool like the Rich Results Test tool.
In the past, you could have used the structured data markup tool, but Google is decommissioning that in favor of the new service. Be sure to check out the new tool so you understand how to use it.