How would you like to see what your rich snippets will look like in search before you even hit the Publish button? If so, then check out Google’s Rich Results Test tool.
In this article, I’ll go over the Rich Results Test tool and explain how you can use it.
What You’ll Learn:
- What are rich results and how do they look?
- Using the rich results test tool with URL or code
- The supported result types
- Using Google Search Gallery for inspo
What are Rich Results?
If you’re new to SEO, you might not even know about rich results.
They’re highlights of key information found on your web page. They appear as cards or separate lines in search results.
Why are they so valuable? Because they contain ready-to-click info that people are looking for.
For example, you can see the aggregate rating for a product or business as a rich result. That’s helpful for consumers.
If you ever search for recipes online (and who doesn’t?), you’ll often find plenty of rich results right at the top of the SERPs. They usually appear as visual cards with images and ratings.
Lots of SEOs like to use rich snippets because they make it easy to stand apart from competitors.
The Rich Results Test Tool
How would you like to draw a picture in the dark? You probably wouldn’t because you can’t see what you’re doing.
That’s the way it is when you’re developing a web page for rich snippets and you can’t see the finished product. Fortunately, you can see the finished product thanks to the Rich Results Test tool.
Even better: that tool will notify you of any errors on your page that prevent Google from properly displaying your rich results. On top of that, Google will offer suggestions about how to fix the problems.
In the next sections, I’ll explain how to use the Rich Results Test tool.
Enter a URL or a Code Snippet
You can use the tool in one of two ways: you can enter a URL or you can enter a code snippet.
Pro-tip: go the URL route. That way, you don’t have to copy and paste code that you might not even understand.
The tool also gives you the option to select a user agent.
If you’re unfamiliar with a user agent, it defines the kind of browser that the app will use to evaluate and display your rich results. You can choose to view it as the Googlebot smartphone or the Googlebot desktop.
If you pick Googlebot smartphone, the tool will “see” your web page just like a smartphone would display it if a real person hit the URL.
If you pick Googlebot desktop, the tool will “see” your web page just like a desktop browser would display it if a real person hit the URL.
Another pro-tip: pick Googlebot smartphone.
Why? Because Google uses mobile-first indexing. That means when Googlebot is crawling all over cyberspace looking for web pages to index, it’s viewing those pages as a mobile browser.
So when you test with Googlebot smartphone, you’re getting a glimpse of how Googlebot normally sees your web page.
Also, Googlebot smartphone is the default. So you don’t have to do anything to use that option.
Review the Results
Once you’ve tested your URL or code snippet, Google will show you results.
The first thing you’ll notice on the screen is a statement about whether or not your page is eligible for rich results.
Hopefully, that box is green. If it’s not, then the tool will tell you what’s wrong and give you some tips about how to resolve the issues.
You can view the rendered HTML of your website as well. Just click the “View Rendered HTML” link in the results box. The HTML will appear on the right-hand side of the screen.
Take a look at the next box down. It shows you the detected items.
Those are the marked-up elements that Google will display as rich snippets in search.
Keep in mind: the tool doesn’t yet support all rich snippet types. That means some types of markup on your site won’t be listed in the detected items box.
Here’s a list of the supported rich result types:
- Fact check
- Job posting
- Local business
- Q&A page
- Review snippet
- Sitelinks search box
- Software app
Each of your detected types will appear on a separate line in the box.
Use the Rich Results Testing Tool With the Search Gallery
Whether you started working with an SEO company recently or you’ve optimized websites since the 1990’s, you should periodically check out the Google Search Gallery just to see which types of rich snippets currently display in the SERPs.
Scroll through that list and get some inspiration about the kinds of snippets that people in your target market will appreciate. Pay particular attention to the right-hand side of the screen so you can see what they look like in search.
Then, implement the markup on your website.
If you’re not sure about the kind of markup you need to add, click the “Get Started” button in any one of the sections to get some details about what you need to do.
In a nutshell, you’ll need to add schema markup to your website. That’s going to be a challenge if you don’t know HTML and you’re not a web developer. It’s probably best to leave the whole effort to a qualified development team.
You could make things worse for your website if you muck around in code you don’t understand.
Once you’ve added the code to display the rich snippets, use the testing tool to make sure it works.
Rinse and repeat. Go find another rich snippet that works for your brand in search and add the relevant markup to your website.
Wrapping It Up
Rich results help your website stand head and shoulders above the crowd in the search results. That’s why you should use them.
Fortunately, Google offers a testing tool so you can get a preview of what some of your rich results will look like in search. That tool will also highlight any coding issues you have in your markup.
If you haven’t yet used Google’s Rich Results Test tool, why not get started today?