Jasmine de Guzman | 19/06/2019
5 Steps to Rich Search Results for SMBs
Search engines are in the business of making it faster, easier and more efficient for consumers to find the information that they’re looking for. But it’s not always straightforward for small business owners to understand the benefits of investing in search engine optimization (SEO). The display of search results is rapidly evolving - and knowing how and why to optimize for these new types of search results is becoming a real competitive advantage.
As a digital service provider to SMBs, it’s important to help them stay ahead of the competition and optimize their digital presence including mastering rich search results. We’ve put together 5 steps to help you ensure rich results for your small business clients:
1. Understand structured data
Search engine optimization has long been based on strategic use of keywords and ensuring they’re consistently used across the website. But as the need for an authoritative data source has increased, a new factor called structured data has emerged. Structured data uses a common format called schema.org mark up, to make it easy for search engines to identify key business information (e.g. phone number, opening hours, etc.) on a business website. What’s more, structured data has also enabled the evolution of results to be richer (e.g. FAQ, reviews and more) and has given way for the success of technologies like artificial intelligence and voice search by providing a more authoritative data source. Keywords are no longer enough for truly effective search engine optimization - websites also need structured data. For further reading, check out Google’s post on “Understanding how structured data works”.
2. Test websites for structured data
While structured data is a well documented concept, many technology platforms still fail to include structured data as an innate part of the website building process. This means developers are often forced to manually add the code to the website. However, this can also have repercussions as Google does not only look for the presence of structured data, but also the use of it within website content to effectively provide that information to consumers. This is why it’s vital to utilize a website builder that not only supports the use of structured data, but actively leverages the structured data as content across the website.
Want to check if a website leverages structured data? Use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool: https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-... Remember the more data points identified the better! No data points means the website doesn’t have any structured data points.
3. Prioritize key business information
As you learn more about structured data, you’ll realize that there are many types of data that can be marked up - from job postings to recipes. Not all types of structured data are relevant for all businesses. So how do you help your SMB customers get started? No-click searches are on the rise as key business information has become directly accessible in search results. So as a basic rule, start with key business information that helps drive initial customer engagement, like address, phone number and opening hours.
4. Expand with more details
Once the basics have been established, you can help SMBs clients identify opportunities to add additional conversion-driven and trust establishing elements, such as reviews, staff, offers and products. Adding these elements as structured data gives more direct visibility into the specific offerings of the SMB, and ultimately helps drive more business and greater ROI on their digital presence.
5. See results in real life
Last but not least - remember that just like traditional SEO, optimizing for rich results is a long-tail game. Structured data updates may appear the following day or it might take a few weeks - there are no guarantees. But the investment is worth the patience, as it not only gives richer results in search result panels, but also ensures that your SMB clients are found in other structured, data-driven technology, like voice search.
Want to double check that you’re optimized for rich results? Check out Google’s newly released Rich Results Checker and ensure that your clients website is optimized for rich results: https://search.google.com/test/rich-results
Structured data on the Mono Platform
The Mono Platform puts structured data at the core of our platform and templates to not only ensure data consistency but also to enable automated solutions that make creating and managing SMB digital presence scalable and efficient. Our Global Data feature helps users manage structured data to match schema.org markup standards, and ensures your SMB clients are rich result ready. Want to learn more? Book a demo of Global Data to learn more about how our platform delivers a data-driven online presence for SMBs.