It’s not too often that Google lets the proverbial cat out of its search engine optimization (SEO) bag, but recently they did just that.
Recently, John Mueller explained how website quality could affect whether or not Google will show rich results for a particular website.
Google’s John Mueller answered a question about a site that lost its rich results display and wanted to know why Google took them away.
You can watch his reply at the 52:26 minute mark of this recent Google after-hours hangout.
Bear in mind; John was asked a two-part question, so he didn’t answer the second part until after answering the first part. So the real answer comes at the 55:19 minute mark, three minutes later.
Rich Results Vanished After Site Redesign.
A site redesign can go wrong in so many ways it’s hard to say which way is right.
One thing that seems clear, though, if you’re looking for more traffic or rankings, then your current design may not be the best option. A redesign could be necessary because of slow speeds, outdated information, comments from users about poor user experience, or any other number of reasons.
If rich results are lost after a site redesign, likely, Google didn’t value the content or website structure.
There are many stories of businesses who have redesigned their website only for things to go wrong, from decreased sales, less traffic, or a decrease in ranking.
They all seem more anecdotal than empirical studies, which is unfortunate because it leaves us guessing as marketers how these changes will affect our clients’ bottom line!
Now back to the questions.
John was asked a question about a site redesign that coincided with a loss of rich results.
They even tested their schema markup for technical issues, but it passed all of the tests.
To make matters worse, it’s difficult to fix something without knowing what’s wrong. The person asking the question simply wants an idea of what direction that they should go in next.
Now we’re no John Mueller, but here are some of our website redesign SEO tips that you may be interested in.
- What is High-Quality Content, and How Do I Create It to Keep Google Happy?
- How to Optimize Your Content and Business Listing for Voice Search (2021)
- Use Your Words – Writing Awesome Web Content
Is rich results loss something you can recover from?
John says that some of the first things to consider is:
- What rich result exactly did they lose, and how were rich results defined in the past?
- How many rich results do I have now on this page?
Google’s John Mueller Discussing Rich Results
This is the question, part two of a two-part question:
“Another customer they just redesigned their website. It’s still the same CMS and content.
And after that, all of our FAQ schemas stopped being displayed in Google Search results.
And this is three months old now, and we still are not there., even everything being passing on the rich results test and inspection tool.
Why did that happen, and when should I expect to see FAQ being displayed again or if it will ever be?”A Concerned Website Owner
Loss of Rich Results Might be Coincidental
John Mueller answered the question, at one point suggesting that it’s possible that the changes on the site might not have caused the rich results to go missing.
He also mentions re-evaluating their website for quality before drawing any conclusions about what caused them to disappear.
John Mueller answered:
“I think there are two things that might have happened… It’s hard to say offhand.
One is that we might have re-evaluated the quality of your website overall at about the same time that you made those changes.
It’s probably more of a coincidence if that were the case.
But it could be that we kind of like are not that convinced about this website anymore.”
“And if we’re not convinced about the website, then usually we don’t show any rich results. And that would include the FAQs.”Google’s John Mueller
Your Site’s Quality Could Affect Rich Results
Did you catch that?
That is a fascinating insight. It’s incredible how something about the redesign could have triggered this re-evaluation in site quality!
The John Mueller Hack To Check Your Rich Results
Next, John suggested a rich results quality check to help you determine if your rich results are missing due to a technical issue or because Google is “not convinced” about your website.
“So one way to kind of double-check that is if you do a site query for these individual pages, do the rich results show up there or not?
If they do show up there, then that means technically we can recognize them, but we don’t want to show them.
So that’s kind of a hint that maybe from a quality point of view you need to improve things.”
Mueller cautioned, “If they don’t show up with a site query, then that means more that there’s still something technical which is broken with regards to that.”John Mueller – Google
There is No Fixed Delay After a Redesign
After a site is redesigned, Google generally will crawl it like usual if everything else stays the same. There shouldn’t be any disruption to their indexing process as the old site is slowly replaced in their index with the new one.
Mueller finished his answer:
“So it’s not that there is a fixed delay, after restructuring of a website, for us to start showing them again.
It’s more like… maybe there was coincidentally weird timing, or maybe there’s a technical issue.”
But, Mueller said that the site query test isn’t completely dependable.
“Yeah, it’s not 100% perfect. But it works for a lot of these cases when it comes to rich results.”John Mueller
The Site Query Hack
A site query is a search that looks like this:
site:example.com Example Keywords
A site query doesn’t use Google’s standard ranking algorithm.
It’s unknown what it uses, but many people believe that this is because of how advanced search queries work and because it’s just a simple search of a single website.
It’s not every day that Google (and Mueller) offer us an easy way to check what’s wrong with a website. (Even though he said that it’s not 100%.)
The critical takeaway is that site quality can be the reason why rich results don’t show up on Google.
However, what might be interesting is to check is if any search engines other than Bing show rich results. I suppose we’ll have to do a little exploring on that one.
But we know one thing for certain, your website’s quality will likely affect rich results eligibility.
Leave a comment if you’re checking rich results manually, as I am.
Otherwise, keep reading! I’ll be back next week with another blog post about rich results. It might even be from someone else’s perspective!
Did you learn something new? Have a topic to suggest for a future blog? Drop us a line in the comments, and we’ll add it to the list of upcoming posts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Poor Site Quality Cause Rich Results Removal?
Watch John Mueller provide reasons for losing rich results at the 55:19 minute mark (part of the two-part question from 52:26)
What are rich results?
Rich results are designed to highlight critical information and help search engines understand a page’s purpose as accurately as possible.
This means less guesswork for Google while giving users relevant content that will stick in their minds longer than what they would find with basic listings.
The Rich Snippets feature gives more image space on the search engine result pages (SERPs) by allowing websites owners to generate descriptions about themselves or products directly beneath images associated with those snippets – providing better visuals without having too much text next time around!
And finally, there’s the newest addition: rich cards, which offer an even more significant amount of imagery alongside interactive carousel options.
How can you get your website to show up in the rich results?
Although there’s no recipe for showing up in Google’s rich results, there are some ways that we know give you a little boost, including using Schema markup data for rich results.
You can learn more about Schema in our recent blog post.