Rich result fluctuations are part of SEO, and it is crucial for you to monitor your structured data so that you can proactively manage and capitalize on these changes.
This August, we’ve observed some ups and downs in rich results across our customers. Our data scientist, Iram Fatima, and our Customer Success Team keep a close eye on the rich result performance across our customers so that we can dig into trends and explore opportunities for updating our strategy to capture more clicks and manage drops.
This month, we saw both ups and downs in several rich results including FAQ, Recipe and Video.
1. Decline in FAQ Rich Results
In the first half of August, 42% of our customers experienced a drop in clicks for their FAQ rich results across both mobile and desktop.
We first observed this decline with customers in the Healthcare industry. But we quickly saw customers across a wide range of industries with a similar downward trend on their FAQ rich results. We will be reviewing them weekly to see where the trend goes over time.
However, other fortunate SEOs have also reported seeing zero changes to their FAQ rich results.
I just checked several client sites that receive a lot of impressions and clicks for FAQs and I’m not seeing any drop. Just my 2 cents.
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) August 17, 2022
2. Improvement in Recipe Rich Results
Thankfully, the weather in the Structured Data world isn’t always gloomy.
83% of our customers in the healthcare industry observed a huge spike in Impressions and Clicks from their Recipe rich results in the first two weeks of August. These customers saw clicks grow at an average of 1030%, and impressions grow at an average of 3513% in comparison to the last two weeks of July.
3. Improvement in Video Rich Results
In other good news, we’re seeing 58.46% of our customers recover in clicks or impressions for their video rich results on desktop since the sudden decline in June when we saw video rich result volatility.
Earlier in June, we saw 70% of customers drop in clicks and impressions for their video rich results on desktop. In July, that drop was synonymous with all our customers. We hypothesized that this drop resulted from Google’s core update in May, affecting how Videos were shown on the Search Engine Result Page.
Is this the result of Google’s adjustment period after the May core update? We’ll continue to watch and explore the SERP composition.
4. Helpful Content Update
Last but not least, Google released a blog this month regarding their upcoming ‘Helpful Content Update’ as part of a broad effort to show more unique, authentic information in the search results. The goal of this update is to ensure people see more original and useful content that was written by people with expertise on the subject.
Here are 3 main themes we’ve identified from this upcoming ‘Helpful Content Update’:
1. E-A-T will play a huge role in this update
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Since 2019, Google has confirmed that E-A-T has been an important part of their algorithms and page quality rating.
One of the key factors affecting E-A-T is the Author E-A-T. Google has suggested that content written or produced by (real) people who have historically written about the topic will see their articles improve in ranking.
For example: Medical advice articles with high E-A-T should be written or produced by medical professionals or organizations with appropriate medical accreditation and expertise. The content should also be updated on a regular basis to reflect the latest findings.
Tip: You can use Structured Data to define the person’s authority (including their degrees, affiliations, etc) and connect those author profiles and details to the articles you are publishing.
2. You can use Structured Data on your high-quality content to better articulate the details of a topic
Sites that rely on tactics like keyword stuffing and bot-generated content to drive traffic are considered to have a search engine-first focus. These sites seek to produce content that would allow the page to rank rather than producing helpful content that would satisfy the searcher’s needs.
Sites with a search engine-first focus will likely see a significant drop in ranking after the upcoming “Helpful content update” as Google starts classifying the content as unhelpful.
How can you communicate the quality of your content to a search engine?
Earlier this year, Google shared in their Search Off the Record podcast episode “Structured data: What’s it all about”, that they use structured data to help search engines understand content uniqueness.
Deploying structured data to the high-quality content on your site will allow search engines to better understand your content and how it relates to other parts of your website, or products.
Interested in learning how you can use structured data to highlight the uniqueness and specificity of your content?
Watch our CEO, Martha’s ‘SEO in 2022’ podcast with Majestic to learn how you can markup your content to stand out in search.
3. Focus your site on providing specific content that answers the question
Generic websites that write about a wide variety of topics may also find it tough to rank after this update. Google has stated that the update will reward sites that have E-A-T on the topic. Focusing your site on a specific topic can position your site as an authoritative figure on the subject matter.
Google’s focus on rewarding sites that answer questions and meet the searcher’s intent is not new.
We’ve seen the search results focus on specific topical pages. Over the last year, we’ve seen generic and not specific enough category pages perform poorly.
Tip: You can identify topics and questions that people are searching for through Google Search Console Keywords, which in turn allows you to offer better, satisfactory answers to your searcher.
If the questions revolve around a specific topic, that’s even better! The topic could be about your services, products, industry problems or more. You can compile these questions and create a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on your topical page to allow that page to be eligible for an FAQ rich result.
We are excited to see Google evolving the way rich results are shown in various parts of the search experience.
In addition, they are also updating their documentation to make certain rich results more accessible. This August, Google updated the Article structured data guidelines to include all articles, not just AMP Articles, in the Top Stories Carousel. More on this next month.
These changes mean that you have to manage your structured data actively, monitor the results and be ready to capture new opportunities as they arise. This is what we love doing at Schema App. We look forward to sharing our findings and helping you stay on your toes so that you can continue to navigate and succeed in this world of structured data.
Martha van Berkel is the co-founder and CEO of Schema App, an end-to-end Schema Markup solution provider based in Guelph, Ontario. She focuses on helping SEO teams globally understand the value of Schema Markup and how they can leverage Schema Markup to boost their SEO strategy and drive results.
Prior to Schema App, Martha was a Senior Manager at Cisco Systems for 14 years responsible for the global online support strategy. She has a degree in Applied Mathematics and Engineering, attended MIT for Innovation and Strategy, is a Mom of two, as well as an avid rower.