Google is always evolving, their developers are creating more intuitive ways to show answers to users’ search queries. ‘Rich answer’ is one of their new developments.
'Rich answers', also known as ‘rich results’, are becoming more important to SEO as Google users are starting to rely on them for breakdowns of complicated topics and quick answers to quick questions
What are rich answers?
Here is an example of a rich answer:
Rich answers are the snippets of information usually found in boxes right above the normal search results. These rich results are extracted from websites that rank high in search engines, answering a question in what Google thinks is a comprehensive way, and uses a form of structured data markup that aids Google in displaying them dynamically.
Google is increasing the number of rich answers it displays. Analysts say that Google displays rich results for up to 31.2% of search queries. However, this is most likely an overestimate, as most one-word or non-question searches do not return rich answers. Still, given Google’s recent introduction of ‘rich cards’ and the continued focus on mobile search, it seems probable that rich answers will continue to grow in prominence as Google continues to change.
What are the types of rich answer?
The variety of formats rich answers can appear is numerous and depends on what kind of search query someone has entered and what answer Google thinks it best needs.
The first kind of rich answer were rich snippets, also know as 'featured snippers' and the are still the most common. They are made up of a text box which contains an excerpt of text from a web page above the title of the page, usually with an image.
In May 2016 Google introduced Rich cards as part of its continued focus on mobile search, as almost 60% of searches now take place on mobile.
Unlike rich snippets, rich cards appear in squares with minimal text. Half of the card is the title and star rating; half of the card is an image.
How does Google choose rich answers?
There are a certain elements that any web page needs before Google will decide whether it as a rich answer:
1. Schema markup
Schema markup is vital to obtaining a page regarded as a rich answer. It is basically the language that allows web developers to tell search engines more about certain entities on their site.
2. High quality and valuable content
If the page does a better job at answering a question or addressing a query than any other page, it may well make the grade for a rich answer. SEO agencies can help you write informative content with the relevant keyword vocabulary to give your pages a stronger chance of being chosen as a rich answer.
3. The answer to a popular question
At the moment, Google only returns rich answers for popular questions or searches that can be addressed in a simple box. SEO agencies can help you find a popular search that your company could provide the best answer to and optimise the page to give it more chance of appearing as a rich result.
For more information
Moz’s Visual Guide to Rich Snippets
Google’s Rich Snippets FAQs
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