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GOOGLE'S BIG PIVOT ON RICH RESULTS

Google on display at a theatre

How Google's Recent Changes Will Impact Your Business and What You Can Do About It


In a recent move, Google has announced significant changes to its search results, and if you're a business owner relying on 'How To' and 'FAQ' style featured snippets for your SEO strategy, you need to pay attention. These alterations could have a significant impact on your online visibility.


In this article, we'll look at what these changes mean for your business and give you some tips that'll help you find the best outcome, even if Google are determined to make your life more difficult.


Understanding Google Rich Results


Before we dive into the changes, let's recap what Google Rich Results are. Also known as snippets or structured data, these search results go beyond the standard blue link and meta description. They aim to improve the user experience by directly providing additional information and visual elements on the search results page.


Two key types of rich results that have been widely used by businesses are:


'How To' Rich Results


The 'How To' rich result offers step-by-step instructions directly within search results. When users search for a process or task, Google may display this feature with steps, images, and relevant information extracted from a webpage. It's handy for users looking for quick answers without wanting to do the heavy lifting themselves.


The 'FAQs' rich result allows Google to present frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers within the search results. When a user's query matches the content with FAQ markup, Google can display a snippet containing a relevant (or similar) question and answer. This helps users receive immediate responses to common queries.


Google's Recent Changes and What This Means


Google's announcement explains that it's scaling back the visibility of these rich results to provide a cleaner and more consistent search experience. For most websites, 'FAQ' rich results will be phased out, and 'How To' results will vanish from mobile device searches entirely.


What does this mean? Your website could lose some of its visibility online, making it harder for interested users to find your digital content and purchase from you. While your website won’t disappear entirely, any rich results that link back to your website are likely to be lost, and this could impact the amount of traffic you receive.


This is what Google had to say back in April 2023: We're reducing the visibility of FAQ rich results and limiting How To rich results to desktop devices. This change should finish rolling out globally within the next week.


However, there's an exception. Google will continue to display these results for high authority websites in the health sector and government websites. These rich results will no longer be a regular feature for all other sites. Search engines use a website’s authority score to rank your site based on several factors, including traffic, backlinks, internal links, overall health, and content quality.


You can check your authority score by clicking here – if you're an SME, you should aim for a score of 20-35.


This change will likely hit websites that have specifically invested in FAQ content and structured data much harder. However, some steps can be taken if you want to try and find a workaround to these changes.


With time, it'll also become much clearer how these changes impact websites and what other strategies are available – it's very early days now, so waiting to see the full impact might be wise.


SEO Strategies Moving Forward


Here are some simple tips for business owners and marketing professionals who want to adapt during this period of change successfully:


Prioritise User Experience


Shift your focus from chasing rich results to enhancing the overall user experience on your website. Provide valuable, user-friendly content that genuinely addresses your audience's needs.


This doesn't mean you should remove FAQs, but instead write them more for the user and to include specific SEO keywords, rather than only writing them so you can be featured within the structured data snippets.


Optimise Meta Data


Meta titles and descriptions now matter more than ever. Check to see if they are compelling and informative. Your meta data is the little snippet of information displayed when you hover over your page tab – it’s important but also very easy to overlook.


If you want to increase click-through rates, ensure they contain the information that Google looks for when placing your website on the results page – include relevant keywords, locations, topics, and your business name.


Competitor Analysis


Assess your competitors' FAQ and featured snippet content to understand how this affects others within your niche. Work with your customer service team to create content closely aligned with their wants and needs, which will help position yourself as the leading option.


Conclusion


Google's decision to change rich results may seem like a setback, but it also offers an opportunity to refocus your SEO efforts – it will also help level the playing field, allowing you to catch up to your leading competitors.


Embrace these changes by prioritising user experience, optimising metadata, and closely working to create customer-centric content. As businesses adapt to the changing world of digital marketing, staying ahead of the curve is key, which is where Royal Flush Marketing can help.


To book a free one-hour consultation, submit an online form or give us a call on 01492 463209.

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