In the Official Google Webmaster Central blog, Google announced that the Rich Results Test tool is now officially out of beta and is now supporting all of Google’s rich results feature.
Google also announced that the Structured Data Testing tool is going to be deprecated. It is still available for a short time but there is no specific date yet on when Google will officially remove it.
Moving forward, Google urges webmasters to use the Rich Results Test tool to validate all structured data markups. Here’s what you need to know about the Rich Results Test tool.
How does the Rich Results Test Work?
Rich results (formerly known as rich card and rich snippets) are special types of search results that are different from the regular blue links in Google. It uses structured data to identify which type of rich results a page is eligible for.
In the Rich Results Test tool, there are two options to validate; either via the specific URL of the page you want to check or a code snippet. There’s also an option to select a user-agent the tool will use but right now, only Google Smartphone bot is available.
Once the tool is done analyzing the page, it will show the types of rich results a page or code is valid for. It will also identify any errors that may hinder your webpage from appearing in the rich results. You could also click on “Preview Results” and it will show how your page will look as a Rich Result.
Here are the types of rich results that are available in the Google search results right now:
- Critic Review
- Employer Aggregate Rating
- Fact Check
- Image License Metadata
- Job Posting
- Job Training
- Local Business
- Estimated Salary
- Review Snippet
- Sitelink Searchbox
- Software App
- Subscription and Paywalled Content
If you want to learn more about how each type of rich result looks and the proper structured data markup to be eligible for them, you could check out Google’s Search Gallery.
Reactions from SEOs
In the official Google Webmasters Twitter account announcement, many SEOs were disappointed about the tool and the planned depreciation of the structured data testing tool.
As pointed out by Barry Adams and Digitaleer, the Structured Data Testing tool can validate any type of structured data markup, not only those that are valid for rich results. In my opinion, the structured data testing tool was a great tool on its own because I use markups that are not included yet in the rich results list.
The Structured Data Testing tool was also great for debugging. SEOs have noticed that compared to it, the Rich Results Test tool would usually vague error messages.
It seems like the release did not go smoothly as Google planned but I do believe that they will add more rich results types and make it available in the tool. And with the deprecation of the Structured Data Testing Tool, I do hope that they move the feature of being able to validate all types of structured data markup in the Rich Results Test.
Since rich results are visually appealing to users, they tend to get a large chunk of traffic from the search results similar to featured snippets. That is why it is important that you check the structured data markups of your website and make sure they are eligible for rich results.
Prior to the release from beta, the rich results test tool can only validate a handful of structured data markup but it is great news that it can now validate all rich results types. I highly recommend that you make use of this tool and grab the opportunity to rank for rich results.