Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool has taken another step towards the end of its life as the firm’s Rich Results Test moved out of beta, making it the primary method for testing a website’s capacity to generate so-called rich results.
What are rich results?
Rich results are features that appear in Google search results alongside the normal blue links. Rich results can include ‘featured snippets’; the direct answer boxes that appear at the top of search results.
Since 2011, website owners have been able to tag content on websites using markup documented on the Schema.org website, an initiative launched by Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Schema.org contains a number of ‘markup types’ including ‘articles’, ‘events’ and ‘organisation’. By adding the markup to their websites, webmasters are able to leverage the Schema.org initiative to add semantic meaning to the code and content of their websites.
Rich Results Test
Launched in 2017, the Google Rich Results Test provides website owners with the ability to see how their content appears in Google’s search results when structured data has been applied.
Google has said that the tool now contains validation for all of the markup types supported by Google search and as such has moved out of beta, meaning the tool is now fully live.
This means that Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool will soon be switched off in favour of the new Rich Results Test.
Analysis – what should marketers do?
Firstly, if you haven’t focussed on applying Schema.org structured markup to your website, you should review the markup types available and whether any fit the content of your website.
By applying the markup correctly, you are making your website eligible to appear as a ‘rich result’ in Google search – these rich results offer improved prominence of search results.
Previously it’s likely that marketers have relied on Google’s Structured Data Testing tool to assess whether markup has been added to their websites correctly – these teams should now switch to the Rich Result Testing tool which offers similar validation, with the added benefit of showing how the result will be rendered in Google’s search results.