This September, we continued to observe FAQ, Video and Recipe rich results fluctuations. Google has also released the September Core and Product Reviews updates. While it is too soon to call out the impact of these updates, we’ve put together two key takeaways and a summary of what’s happened in September in the world of Schema Markup.
Two key takeaways:
- Search is changing – with Google making updates to the SERP, in Video, FAQ, and Product Rich results.
- Diversify your rich results and manage your Schema Markup to achieve optimal results in changing search landscape.
Rich Result Changes in September 2022
FAQ Rich Result Changes
This past August, we reported seeing 42% of our customers experience a drop in clicks for their FAQ rich results across mobile and desktop.
This trend has continued into September as we continue to see 45.88% of our customers drop in clicks for their FAQ rich results in the first two weeks of the month and 43.53% of our customers have continued to see a drop in clicks for their FAQ rich results in the second half of September. To date, we’re seeing this decline affect a wide range of industries.
Healthcare is one of the industries that took a huge hit. 57% of our healthcare customers saw a further decrease in clicks and impressions this September. Google is no longer awarding the FAQ rich results for Physician pages, resulting in a decline in clicks for their FAQ rich results. However, many of these customers are still getting clicks from the FAQ rich results on their services and blog pages.
We have yet to identify the cause of the decline for other industries but we do know that Google’s algorithm is constantly changing. FAQ rich results continue to perform, however, organizations should be reviewing their Schema Markup strategy to ensure they have a diversified portfolio of rich results.
This means reviewing the rich results your organization is achieving today and proactively looking for content on your site that is eligible for more types of rich results opportunities. Diversifying your rich results allows your website to keep performing despite Google’s changes and your team can quickly double down when a specific rich result is performing.
Google preferring Youtube for Video Rich Results
We first observed a sharp decline in clicks and impressions for Video Rich Results in June, where 70% of our customers saw a decrease in the performance of their Video Rich Results on desktop devices. The Video Rich Results started to recover in August until this sudden drop again in September.
In the first half of September, we saw 41.86% of our customers decline in clicks and a 53.49% decline in impressions for their Video Rich Results compared to the second half of August.
In addition to the number of customers impacted, we also saw a big change in how Video rich results are showing up in the SERP. Google is preferring Youtube over other providers.
Could this be a result of Google’s September core update or is it just Google continuing to refine the search experience? Stay tuned to find out. For now, we will continue to monitor the Video rich results every week to see how this trend progresses over time.
Growth of Impressions for Recipe Rich Results
In August, 83% of our customers reported seeing the impressions for their Recipe rich results grow at an average of 3513% compared to July.
This September, we are continuing to see an upward trend in the clicks and impressions for Recipe rich results with 60% of our customers seeing growth in impressions for their Recipe rich results.
Google Updates in September 2022
More Product Search Features can be achieved with Product Schema Markup
On September 13, Google announced that merchants can now be eligible for merchant listing experiences simply by adding Product Schema Markup to their web pages, even if they do not have a Google Merchant Center account.
This is awesome news! Now instead of just getting review ratings, price and availability, Product Schema Markup can help you achieve new experiences in search. With Google and Amazon battling for product search, we see this as Google’s move towards enabling more products to be shown on the SERP.
Google currently has two broad categories of experiences:
- Merchant listing experiences for web pages that allow shoppers to buy a product on the site.
In the past, these merchant listing experiences (Shopping Knowledge panel, Popular products rich result, shopping experiences in Google Images and Google lens) were only open to users with Google Merchant Center accounts and the product details shown in these rich results were supplied from the Google Merchant Center feed.
- Product snippets for a broader set of web pages with product information (including pages that sell products, publish product reviews, and/or aggregate information from other sites).
In the past, these product snippets were powered by schema.org Product Schema Markup. This is now no longer the case.
The Google Merchant Center feeds are no longer necessary for merchants to be eligible for these enhanced Product search features. Google has added more Product Schema properties (i.e. colours, size, material, pattern, audience, hasEnergyConsumptionDetails, etc.), which allows merchants to add more product details to their Schema Markup and achieve the rich results that drive traffic to their site.
To help you monitor and manage your Product rich results, Google has introduced two new Search Console Reports.
- Merchant listing report
This is a new report that identifies Schema Markup issues for free listing experiences in the search results. Merchants that sell products on their online should use this report.
- Product snippets report
This report replaces the previous Product report with adjustments related to the separation of the merchant listing report. The data from the previous Product report is still available within this report. The report identifies Schema Markup issues for product snippets in the search results. Sites that don’t sell products online but still publish pages with Product Schema Markup should use this report.
September Core and Product Review Update
This month, Google rolled out their September Core Update (the second broad core update of the year) and the Product Reviews Update. Both updates came after the Helpful Content Update finished rolling out on September 9, 2022. We have yet to correlate the impact of these updates with the fluctuations in the search results. However, we will continue to monitor and report on any fluctuations we’ve observed.
Google using Structured Data for Machine Learning
Marie Haynes and Alan Kent from Google released a podcast episode on Product Reviews this September.
In the episode, Alan Kent said “They look at behaviour to decide if the review is helpful. The machine learning then looks at patterns to see if the review is helpful.”
This wasn’t the first mention of machine learning from Google in the past year.
In the podcast, “Structured Data what’s it all about” on April 7, 2022, Ryan Levering from Google said, “Most of our features over time migrate to that approach where we ingest it. Maybe we start with one approach where we’re just using ML. And then we eventually add markups so people have control. Or it’s the opposite way around. And we start– we bootstrap with markup in an eco-system approach where people are giving us data. And then we enhance coverage of the feature by adding ML long run.” (Ryan Levering @ 8:34)
To do machine learning, Google needs to broaden its data sources. They now get data from their crawls, Merchant Center, user clicks, and Structured Data.
Google is making a lot of updates to the algorithm and evolving how they are using machine learning to delight the user in their search experience. As a result of these changes, SEOs need to diversify their rich result portfolio, stay agile and be ready to evolve their content and Schema Markup to capitalize on the changes.
Schema Markup (aka Structured Data) helps search engines understand your content because you’re translating it into machine language. With Google relying more on machine learning, Schema Markup will increasingly be of greater importance for sites to communicate with Google’s machines and maintain their visibility on the SERP.
If you haven’t already implemented Schema Markup as part of your SEO strategy, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with us today to learn how Schema App can help your organization stand out in search through Schema Markup.
Martha is the CEO and co-founder of Schema App. Schema App is an end-to-end Schema Markup solution that helps enterprise SEO teams create, deploy and manage Schema Markup to stand out in search. She is an active member of the search engine optimization community, and the work that she does through Schema App is helping brands from all over the world improve their organic search performance.