6-Step Guide to Creating Rich Cards for Google
What Are Rich Cards?
Google launched rich cards for SEO in 2016 as a new way for site owners to present previews of their content on the search engine results page. Rich cards display structured content like schema in a more engaging and visual format and can significantly increase traffic to your site.
Originally limited to recipe and movie websites, as of March 2017, rich cards are now available all over the world across Google Search. For site owners, this provides an exciting opportunity to attract more targeted and engaged users. It is important to implement rich cards on your site as a way to prepare for the future of search, as Google moves in the direction of directly answering questions and hyper-personalization.
Types of Rich or Enriched Results
Because Google uses structured data to understand the content of a page, and because this content can be of various types and provide different types of information, there are several categories when it comes to Google’s rich results:
- Top carousel - as the name suggests, this is a very prominent SERP feature. News, sports and blog articles are usually the ones displayed with Top Story carousel. This one appears above the organic results, right below the search bar, usually contains images with titles that are relevant to the search query.
- Featured snippet - also known as “position zero”, featured snippets appear above the organic searches, and are usually instant answers to question-type search queries. They are suitable for all types of businesses and their value is significant. It doesn’t require structured data, just publishing content that answers user questions.
- Knowledge graph & Answer box - these are usually called knowledge features, and Google uses data from authoritative websites when it comes to being featured in this type of rich result. In fact, with the latest update last year, EAT has become more and more important. The answer box answers a query directly, while the knowledge graph provides detailed information about entities.
- Review snippet - this type of enriched result displays a short excerpt of a review, sometimes as small as a rating, but it does help to catch the attention of the users, as the rating display contrasts the SERP background. This type of rich results is mainly valuable to eCommerce sites and services.
- Local business listing - this type of rich result has great SEO value, and it is easily obtainable as well. If you optimize for it, your business details will be displayed in the Google Knowledge Graph, and they include open hours, ratings, and directions.
- Rich cards - these are mainly aimed at mobile users and they help website owners present a preview of their website or page in a card format that allows them to swipe through your content, therefore becoming more engaged.
Difference between Rich Cards & Rich Snippets
The main difference between rich cards and rich snippets is that the latter doesn’t involve a change in the SERP hierarchy. Google simply enhances a search result, in order to provide more information, based on what the algorithm considered useful or answering a specific question.
Rich cards, on the other hand, require separation. When rich cards are implemented properly, the consequence is not the enhancement of an existing result, but the addition of a separate search result, in the form of cards, which is placed at the top of all other results, mainly in mobile SERP.
They mostly appear on mobile and are basically a sort of extension of the rich snippets. As mobile has surpassed desktop when it comes to traffic and searches, rich cards have started to become more and more important. It is predicted that in the future, they will be able to provide users with even more engagement opportunities so that users have the freedom and convenience to quickly act upon the information.
How are Google rich cards made?
Rich cards improve upon the use of rich snippets, a form of structured data markup that uses the Schema.org library to classify and markup digital data. Structured data markup helps Google and other search engines understand the content of your website in order to return the most relevant results for a user’s inquiry.
Understanding Structured Data
In its never-ending quest to provide users with the most relevant results to their queries, Google has for a long time now put great emphasis on understanding the content of a website, and more specifically a page. Relevancy and specificity have become more and more important, which is why structured data is critical. Because it gives Google explicit clues about the meaning of your page. It also helps classify the content on a page to assign different degrees of importance.
Structured data has become the main tool Google uses to understand the content, gather information, and relay it. It is the basis of special search result features and enhancements, such as the ones mentioned above.
Using schema.org vocabulary, you can markup the data types on your website using Microdata, JSON-LD, or RDFa formats. For non-technical users, Google has created an effective tool to build rich cards for the most popular structured data types. Learn how to use Google’s tool in our guide below:
Steps for Creating Rich Cards
Step 1: Use Google's Structured Data Markup Helper to implement structured data on your site.
Step 2: Select the data type for the data you would like to markup from the following options:
- Book Reviews
- Local Businesses
- Software Applications
- TV Episodes
- TV Episodes with Ratings
Data type helps Google categorize the data on your web page.
Step 3: Paste your website's URL then click "Start Tagging".
Step 4: Create an HTML
Step 5: Download your HTML and add to your site.
Step 6: Check accuracy of your markup by using the Structured Data Testing Tool
Technical & Quality guidelines
Not all structured data is eligible for admittance in search results. There are certain technical and quality guidelines you need to follow in order for this effort to pay off as you wish. Google warns that violation of these guidelines may render your website or page ineligible for rich results, and you are usually cautioned by a manual action in Search Console’s Manual Action report.
As said above, you can markup the data types on your website using Microdata, JSON-LD, or RDFa formats, however, Google itself recommends using JSON-LD. It also recommends not blocking access to your structured data pages to Googlebot. In addition to the Structured Data Testing Tool, which can help you test compliance with these technical guidelines, you can also use the URL inspection tool to identify any technical errors.
As opposed to technical guidelines, quality ones are harder to test, because there are no automated tools. They are mainly related to the quality of your content and the media that supports it. Following Google’s Webmasters Quality Guidelines for content will always help, from providing up to date information and original content to only marking up content that is visible and relevant.
Relevancy plays an important role in structured data, as the latter needs to be an accurate representation of your page. Completeness is equally important, so make sure you mark up all required properties. In fact, the more properties you provide, even if not required, the higher the chances to be featured in a rich result. If you’re marking up images in addition to text as structured data, then guidelines recommend ensuring these images pertain to that type of instance.
Once you have completed all the steps above, you will have successfully implemented rich cards, which are now more important than ever. If you need any assistance or prefer to have our team of digital experts implements rich cards for you, call us for a free consultation.