Around 30 features, in constant evolution, in order to offer users rich information on the just performed query, and that can represent an important visibility opportunity for sites. Google is more and more investing on structured data, that are precisely the practical resource needed to create this rich results, and today we are going to look at all of the examples appearing on the SERP and what they are good for.
SERPs are changing and so do users
Over the last few months we wrote a lot about Google’s evolutions, on one hand, and about users’ behaviour on the other: both these factors are to keep into account for whoever tries to emerge on the search engine, given the fact that they obviously determine the strategy to implement and potential success.
Nowadays no site should overlook the value of structured data, and some statistics directly clarify that: in the 74% of cases, users look at rich results present on Google SERPs (performing what has been called “pinball pattern“, a scheme made of interactions and much more distributed attention than in the past), and the weight of the classics blue links has dropped, generating the zero click trend and basically making Google a competitor for all sites (by Rand Fishkin’s word).
Why using structured data on sites
Therefore, SEO as well needs to transform and adapt to modern times, and structural data could be the leverage with which reach at least three strategic goals: to increase the site’s brand awareness, by working not only on the keywords’ Google ranking, but also on the trademark’s growth and the relations with users; to highlight our own contents compared to the competitors’ ones; to highlight all of the info about the offered product, so to acquire quick conversions.
Which sites benefit from structured data for rich results
Structured data opportunities extend to several type of sites and Google Search guide lists at least 8 of them: e-Commerce sites, sites about sport, work, entertainment, news, education and sciences, food and drink, but also organizations. Each of these categories can use the proper mark from schema.org and trigger the specific rich results and features that Google displays on the SERP.
The gallery of the results displayed on Google SERPs
Here we are, then, to the actual list of these user-activated queries, that quickly provide the information one is possibly looking for and extend the depth of the research on lots of cases, creating an experience and search journey so much more rich.
Using the Article item, an article from an online newspaper, a blog or a site about sport news can be placed in the first page carousel, the host carousel, on visual stories or acquire multimedial result features such as the text of the highlighted title and the biggest images of a miniature. Google recommends to use AMP pages with structured data (given the fact that they trigger a higher number of resources), but non-AMP pages could still be displayed on rich results.
The book markup allows users to start the discover of books and authors, also taking advantage of the information of the Knowledge Graph tabs, and to quickly purchase the volumes we can directly display among search results.
A breadcrumb indicates the position of the page on the site hierarchy: by using this marking, a user can navigate through the different levels of the site, starting from the last “crumb” all the way back to the first ones.
The list-type display, that Google calls Carousel, is one of the most common features we are dealing with, even if it is generally limited to the mobile devices display and some kind of content. Often carousels are made of articles sourcing from a single site (host carousel), but they could also offer results from different sources, like on the Main News box. Moreover, the feature is much more effective if used together with other markups, such as Articles, Recipes, Courses, Restaurants, Films.
Using the listing markup of a course, potential students can find the site through Google Search; the information to provide are the course name, the name of the institution and a brief outline about lessons and purposes.
6. Critic review
Critic review is the snippet of a longer review created, filled in or edited by a single editor for a publisher, and may concern Books, Films or Local Activities. All the reviews are displayed on SERP by indicating the name of the reviewer and the publishing site icon, and can help readers to quickly find them and visit the site in order to deepen the critic comment.
7. Data set
Bigger dataset are easier to find on Google Dataset Search by directly providing, in the shape of structured data, supporting info such as name, description, author and distribution formats. The goal of this markup is to improve the detection of datasets from field like biological sciences, social sciences, machine learning, personal and administrative data and so on.
8. Comprehensive evaluation of the employer
Is a marking allowing to implement the assessment of an organization looking for employees, elaborated on the basis of the comments made by the staff or users that had some kind of contact with it; it ise very useful in helping people to orientate themselves in the research of a job and also allows the site “to rank better in the experience of job search extended on Google”, a.k.a Google Jobs Search.
Adding a markup to an event – concerts, musical festivals, performances of famous artists or “salsa classes in the neighborhood” – can increase the audience’s engagement and participation: the info are displayed on Google Search result pages and other Google products, like Maps.
10. Fact check
ClaimReview structured data are available for every site doing news fact checking, and allows to activate a summary version of the analysis work directly on SERP whenever the page is been displayed among the search results correlated to the claiming in question.
11. Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ pages with the correct markup can appear as multimedial result on SERPs or trigger an action of the Google Assistant, as we were saying on this insight.
How-to info guide users on a step-by-step mode toward the accomplishment of an activity by using videos, images or text.
13. Job offers
This feature offers several advantages for both employers and owners of sites with contents concerning the working world, because it allows the offers to appear on a special user experience among Google Search results, together with data such as logo, reviews, evaluations and offer details. Furthermore, it is possible to intercept the most numerous and motivated applicants, and increase interaction and conversion possibilities.
14. Professional Training
This is a beta feature, very useful to better introduce professional training programs to the interested users. For instance, it helps in finding those kind of programs, to compare pricings and know which jobs are required for each different path, allowing people to easily access this improving opportunities on necessary competences for their future job.
15. Local activity board
This is about the activity details displayed on Google Knowledge Graph, with information on opening hours, evaluations and reviews, the different departments of a company, driving directions and user actions like placing a booking or order directly from search results.
Is the marking allowing Google to uniquely identify the image to use as logo of an organization on search results and Knowledge Graph.
The movie carousel is only available on mobile devices and helps people to browse movies through Google Search; a site can supply detailed info on movies like the title, director’s name and an image of the poster.
The occupation markup is designed for those sites providing paycheck estimates: it allows to define ranges and standars per geographic area, developed on the type of occupation and details about workplace, like bonus, qualifications and level of education required, and to group them up by factors such as level of experience or employing organization.
Is one of the most useful resources: it provides info on a product, including price, availability and review evaluations directly on search results.
20. Questions and Answers
Q&A pages are web pages containing data in the shape of questions and answers (formatted as a question followed by its answer) and are perfectly suited to show a multimedial result on the search result page.
The recipe contents markup with structured data is useful to provide comprehensive results and specific lists of the host of this kind of contents, like reviewers’ evaluations, preparation and cooking time and nutritional facts. The may appear individually or as rich result or be included in an host carousel, and by activating Google Assistant it will also be possible to guide users through the preparation of the dish on Google Home or smart display.
22. Review Snippet
It is a brief extract of a review or evaluation coming from a reviewing website, and generally presents a combined average of the evaluation ratings of multiple reviewers. Added to the text of the review, will also appear a rating expressed on a numerical scale. Among contents that could be evaluated we can find books, local activities, movies, music, products, recipes and software applications.
23. Sitelink search box
Google SERP could show a sitelink search box specific for a website or branded and navigational queries; so to provide users a fast way to immediately look for their personal site or app on the search results page, implementing real-time suggestions and other features.
24. Software applications
Another beta feature, allows to add details on a software app, such as use description, reviews and links to the app.
Is the resource we talked about a few days ago in the article on Google Voice Search: speakable feature identifies the sections inside an article or web pages that are eligible for audio reproduction using vocal synthesis.
26. Subscription contents and protected by paywall
These structured data allow Google to distinguish contents protected by paywall from cloaking, a black hat SEO practice that constitutes a true and proper violation of the search engine’s guidelines.
Marking video contents with structured data can make Google Research an access point to the discovery and viewing of videos: it is possible to indicate details such as description, thumbnail’s URL, the length and date of the upload while Google can display the resource on carousels (for instance, on the first page carousel with AMP).
For the sake of completeness, we also add that there are three types of structured data totally outdated by now: Business contact, Place Action and Social profile, that have been integrated in the local activity tab and in the more general Google info tabs.