If you own a website, you probably realize how important snippets are on search engines. For example, the featured snippets on Google might be the push an individual needs to convince him that your article has the data he needs. With this innovation released by Google in 2014 and reintroduced in 2018, every site owner worked towards harnessing this opportunity. From the user's end, searching becomes tons easier with the featured snippets, be it on mobile searches or with voice searches.
Eventually, Google announced the introduction of Rich snippets. An added way of providing useful insights to its users. This summary, like the featured snippets, helps individuals to decide faster whether a brand or service would be worth dwelling on. For site owners to generate this innovation, they are required to annotate the pages on their site with structured data. This structured data should feature markup formats like RDFAs and microformats.
Sadly though, not every page on the search engine has received the benefit of implementing this valuable innovation. Therefore, how can you be sure if your page is among the select few that can benefit from it? Here is where Google's Rich snippet testing tool comes in. What is it? What does the test feature? How can I work with it, and what would its results look like? Let us delve right into the answers to these questions.
What Is the Google Rich Snippet Testing Tool?
The rich snippet tool by Google was released following the announcement of the snippet’s release. Using this tool, you can gain insight into the sort of rich snippet that can be generated from the structured data on your webpage. The rich snippet testing tool accesses websites using Gogglebots. Due to this, data will not be crawled from pages with noindex directives or robot.txt files.
The following examples of the supported rich snippet types on the Rich Snippet Testing Tool by Google
Features Of The Rich Snippet Testing Tool By Google
With help from Google's Search Console, your code and test results are saved each time the test is initiated. You can store a version history by bookmarking the page containing the test results. This data would remain for over 90 days.
Using the Share button on your browser you can send the results of the tests to anyone you please. Third parties require no permission to access the shared results. The shared links of the result equally remain for over 90 days.
On the rich snippets testing tool, you can also get an overview of what your page would look like with the rich snippets when it comes up on the SERP. If the page in question has multiple search result versions available, you will be provided with selectors. These will allow you to look through the different versions for searches on both mobile and desktop.
Note that your page will not always appear as it is shown here. At times, none of the layouts you preview would be applied to your page in the SERP. In drafting the preview, Google considers several variables including your search history, therefore, the differences.
How To Use The Rich Snippet Testing Tool by Google
The Rich Snippet test can be done for websites using any of these two elements.
The page’s URL; and
The Page’s URL–
Using this option, copy and paste the link of your site and paste it into the Google Rich Snippet Testing Tool. It would help to note that before initiating the test for a site using its URL, all pages and data on the site must be easily accessible to anonymous parties. There should be no firewalls or required password input. You can only have these in place if you are willing to have those pages excluded from the test. Alternatively, you could leave the security on, and test the page using tunneling options like ngrok.
With an arbitrary code, you can select the option Code rather than the URL option. In the provided space, input the copied code snippet of the page. Using this option, individuals can alter the code as many times as they please simply by clicking the Run test option.
With these two options, you can equally configure the user agent with which to test the site. To do this select a user agent from the available options. You will find the options under the space provided for the URL or code for initiating the test. By default, the user agent option is set to smartphones due to the Google mobile-first initiative. If your website is mobile-first, the smartphone option is suitable, except if you would rather opt for the desktop option. As a majority of individuals access the web using mobile, your site would be at an advantage if it were mobile-first. (To confirm if your website is mobile-first, visit the property settings page of the site).
How The Results Of Google Rich Snippet Testing Tool Appear
Once you initiate the test using any of the three available options, the tool indicates what rich snippet forms were detected. Where there are available suggestions or encountered errors, these will be indicated as well. For extra details on these, click on the description to access the rendered source code of the explorer.
The results of the test, however, contain the following data
Status of the provided URL;
In terms of how many times a structured data form is found (N), the URL status information could be
N relevant items found
No items found
N relevant items and warnings detected
N relevant items with some carrying warnings
N relevant items with all bearing warnings.
N items found with some invalid
N invalid items found
Unable to crawl URL
Structured data and syntax errors were found.
Data under this section mostly describe Google's success in crawling the site in question. If the bots are unable to access the website due to standing directives, the test would not be initiated. However, if the site is accessible, the following data will be listed under this section
Successfully crawled or Crawling failed
Crawled as: The type of user agent (smartphone or desktop) present on the site as of when the test was initiated.
Crawl allowed? This renders details on whether the page in question contained directives like noindex directives or robot.txt files that obstructed the crawling action.
Page fetch: This states if the test algorithm was able to fetch the page. Where the tool fails to fetch the page, crawling fails.
Detected Items/Structured Data
Extra information regarding the results of the test fall under this section. If structured data required for rich snippets are detected, it will be indicated here. If this structure data was detected but unable to be parsed, it will also be stated here. Other pieces of information you can find here are the status of items found on the page, the good, the warnings, and present errors. In addition to this, you will find the description of each item and any present issues.
Alas, we know what the rich snippet tool is currently capable of. Although its developers have committed to making the reach and features of the tool broader, the current benefits of this tool are nearly fascinating. In addition to its over 29 currently supported file types on Google, the testing tool is as easy to use as an online tool gets.
Although the results from this tool might pose problems in comprehension at times, the Google support team is ever-ready to address such issues. At times, however, certain errors like result inconsistencies would stem from having run the test for the same page several times.