Google New Rich Results Testing Tool

Google rich results testing tool

Google announced at 21/12/2017 that they have released a new-and-improved version of its Structured Data Testing Tool, available in beta as the Rich Results Test. The name of the tool "rich results" reflects – as noted in the announcement post – the fact that what Google had previously referred to as "rich snippets, rich cards, or enriched results" will now be called "rich results" as their official documentation moving forward.

Google said the new testing tool “focuses on the structured data types that are eligible to be shown as rich results.” This new version enables you to test all data sources on your pages, including the recommended JSON-LD, Microdata or RDFa. Google said this new version is a “more accurate reflection of the page’s appearance on Search and includes improved handling for Structured Data found on dynamically loaded content.”

The new Rich Results Testing tool currently only supports tests for Job posting, Recipe, Course, and Movie. Google said it will be adding support for other rich results over time.

The new google tool also has a drawback that, this tool does not currently show syntax errors, which currently used by millions of website.

Eligibility for rich results

The Structured Data Testing Tool never explicitly states whether a given page (or code block) is eligible for rich snippets. The closest the tool comes is to provide a "PREVIEW" link when results are capable of generating a rich result, and only then after you click through to the eligible data type.

Eligibility is now front-and-center in the Rich Results Test response, with pages that are eligible for rich results clearly labelled as such, along which data type ("Detected structured data") for which the page is eligible.

It's equally obvious when a submitted page isn't eligible for a rich result.

There is also a third category pertaining to rich result eligibility, seemingly triggered when a page could be eligible for rich results if errors were corrected.

Details on these errors are provided in a pane on the "Detected structured data" section of the test results.

Again, be cognizant that only job postings, recipes, courses and movies are currently supported by the tool, as per the prominent message at the top of a test results page.

13 Actionable Tips to Optimize the New Google Questions & Answers

Tips for Optimize Google Q & A

13 Quick Tips to Optimize the New Google Q & A

The new Google Places Q & A offers a lot of potential for both helping and hurting a business. Here are some thoughts on how your business should approach this new and untried feature in the Google Local Knowledge Panel.

How will New Google Q & A Work?

Usually, A Q&A website is a website where the site creators use the images of pop culture icons to answer input from the site's visitors, usually in question/answer format; Like Quora and Yahoo Answer.

Tips - 1: Give Informative Answers

Treat New Google Q&A as an opportunity to solve a potential customer’s future problem. The better you answer, the more likely your customer will upvote your answer and this will help your get new clients and more brand awareness.

Tips - 2: Get out in front of them.

Crowd sourcing can be intimidating to the typical business but its best if you approach this, like reviews and photos, proactively. Having good Q & A’s posted will limit the opportunity for mischief.

Tips - 3: Start Now.

Write out some questions that you can post to your listing. This will give the early postings a chance to be upvoted more over time.

Tips - 4: Make sure that You really Write Frequently Asked Questions.

It's imperative that you listen to incoming phone calls and list out the actual questions that clients frequently ask before they come into the store. This will save you and them time which is one of the things that purchase funnel optimization is about. The obvious candidates here are the very real concerns about parking questions, special hours, appointments and other conveniences.

Tips - 5: Think long tail as well.

Once you have identified the low hanging fruit, brainstorm some of the less frequently asked questions (but asked) about some of your less well known services. “Does this bakery offer gluten free choices?” I am NOT saying to treat this as a keyword spamming opportunity. It isn’t but going niche can be helpful.

Tips - 6: Communicate

Engage with Q&A visitors. Upvote great answers, follow people who are interested in your topics. Show that you’re genuinely interested in developing your credibility. Stop trying to sell and start focusing on leading, influencing and connecting instead.

Tips - 7: Plan for Scanning.

Customers are a busy lot and you want to be sure that both the questions are easy to read and the answer are brief but accurate. Be brief and too the point. These need to be short answers to real questions.

Tips - 8: Write for Your Audience

A lot of businesses and marketers automatically go into sales mode when they see someone with a problem that their product can fix. But that’s not the approach you want to take. Here’s the problem with trying to immediately sell to someone who asks a question:
  1. People hate being sold to
  2. It doesn’t seem genuine
  3. You want to build a relationship first
  4. It turns you into a salesperson, not an authority/expert
Instead of shoving your products and services down their throat, come up with a well written, valuable piece of content that addresses their question. Remember, you’re not just responding to the one person who asked the question. You’re responding to potentially thousands of your future customers who might buy your services or products.

Tips - 9: Customers Voice

Write them using your customers voice. These are meant to be accessible and easy to understand, not marketing pieces.

Tips - 10: Make the Answers Useful

Make them useful to both parties, your business and the customer. Obviously the goal here to facilitate interactions between the right kind of customer and your business.

Tips - 11: Control Yourself

Control yourself and don’t over do it. Its best if there are fewer rather than more. (I am not yet sure what that means but…)

Tips - 12: Make A Plan for Disaster.

This is a crowd sourced environment after all and we all know that weird and unpleasant things can arise. Write down a plan so that in the heat of the moment you don’t do something stupid. Usually the first step is to take a breath and call a trusted advisor (to talk you off of the cliff).

Tips - 13: Monitor and Update

Monitor your Knowledge Panel for new questions. If they are legit be the first to answer. Use your Google My Business login and the answer will be noted as from the business owner. This is likely going to be a problem for multi location chains as their is no API or in dashboard notification but it is necessary. Hopefully Google will prioritize the development of tools to deal with this both proactively and at scale.

What's your tips? Please share your opinion in the comment form and Follow me at Quora and Yahoo Answer.

Google Rolling Out Questions & Answers

Google Business Listings Q&A

Google Rolling Out Questions & Answers In Google Business Listings

Google has announced and started to roll out Places Questions & Answers, a crowd sourced and business sourced Q & A product for local Knowledge Panels. Tim Capper has a great summary as well that is worth the read.

Essentially the product is designed to allow Google to offer additional FAQ type content via the Knowledge Panel that answers consumers most frequent and “long tail” questions about a Place.

The product is initially rolling out on Android Google Maps only. At some point in the near future it will be available on all mobile browsers as well.

Here is Google’s description of the product that was provided during a preview of the product:


Questions and Answers allow business owners to answer questions directly from potential customers. Merchants can also anticipate FAQ’s by adding commonly asked questions and their answers.

Merchants and other users can both thumb up content to boost its ranking and flag content that is incorrect or spam.


Users have many place-specific questions that are going unanswered right now. By allowing them to ask the business owner and each other, we can help them make decisions more quickly.

Example questions our users have about places:
  • “What dishes should I try?”
  • “What should I definitely do/see?”
  • “How much seating is there for large groups or special events?”
  • “Is there space to park a baby stroller?”
  • “What’s the lighting like inside?”
  • “Is delivery or take-out offered?”
  • “Which credit cards are accepted?”
  • “Is this a good date night restaurant?”
  • “Are service animals allowed?”
  • “Can I bring my kids here?”
  • “Where should I look for parking?”
  • “Do I need reservations for a Friday night?”
  • “Are there coupons?”
Great in concept for Google and perhaps the consumer, but the devil is for sure in the details as to whether it will be good for the business.

Google has said that moderation will be much like reviews in being mostly automated with some human curation. If the product fails the failure is likely to be in the moderation and more importantly, spam moderation details.

If antagonistic competitors figure out the moderation rules, I see it as very likely that passive aggressive negative information could easily be posted. Will staff in India be able to understand the subtlety?

And of course there is always the “lets turn everything into an ugly promotional tool” mindset that many have that could pollute the waters with incredibly spammy content.

As the product is currently designed (it feels given the very limited release and limited interfaces more like a beta,) it puts the difficult task of monitoring directly on the shoulder of the business owner. They need to continually goto their Android Maps app and check to see if the questions are meaningful and if they need to answer the question or whether the consumer answer is adequate.

Posts and Websites “felt” very business friendly. This on the other hand will feel like a poke in the eye to most businesses. Being required to regularly go back and check the crowd sourced status of a listing due to fear of the “crowd” might be off base, is one more task that appears to offer little of value to the business and will take additional (and very limited)time.

Like reviews, I don’t doubt though that effectively embraced and managed it can help a business. I am just not sure most of them will see it that way.

On a more strategic level for Google, this product is one more piece of content that will be residing within the Knowledge Panel for the business… first NAP and photos, then reviews, reviews from the web, then Posts and now “Places Q & A”.

Like Google Destinations in the travel industry, it is an effort to create ever more granular content that will keep consumers within Google’s subtly “walled garden” and further limit the likelihood of their visiting your website.

Short haul it could increase conversions, if properly handled, and that would be a good thing… until the gate keeper starts charging more for the privilege or sends the traffic elsewhere.

Here is a FAQ with details that we know about Places Q & A (assembled with the help of the many TCs in Google’s My Business Forum).

Q: Places? That sounds like back to future.
A: It is. Branding has never been Google’s strong point.

Q: Will the product be used for “ranking”?
A: Who knows. Google loves data and they love good data even more. If it is good data, I could imagine that it might some day.

Q: Will the data be good?
A: Your guess is as good as mine.

Q: Who can participate in the launch?
A: This is a Global launch to all Android Users on Google Maps – so there aren’t any testers. Business owners and consumers are targeted for asking and answering.

Q: Is it visible in the GMB dashboard?
A: No, not yet.

Q: Are there any active notifications to the business owner?
A: Yes merchants get notifications through the Android Maps app.

Q: Do you get email notifications if you have a new question and do they go to owners AND managers AND Comms managers?
A: Owners and managers will get push notifications from Google Maps on Android if a question is asked or answered by a user.

Q: Is it visible on desktop browsers?
A: No

Q: Is it visible to iPhone users
A: No, only Android users on the Maps App (for now)

Q: Is there moderation of any kind?
A: Yes. Google will moderate some things automatically (bad words, gibberish), and users will also have the ability to flag. It will be a similar process as the photos/reviews flagging.

Q: Will the moderations work?
 A: If it is like reviews and photos…. it will be opaque and frustrating to business owners but time will tell.

Q: Will the merchant receive any notifications as to the resolution of a spam or flagging report?
A: The review process is similar to photos/reviews. I.E no.

Q: Can a user delete question?
A: Merchant can’t delete a question from another user, they can flag it though.

Q: Can a user delete their own question?
A: I am not sure. I think so.

Q: What if there are competing/different answers?
A: Since the business would be logged into the GMB account when they reply, Google will display messaging that lets people know it’s the owner/business replying.

Q: How does Google determine the “best” answer?
A: We don’t really know. However like on Quora, there is an upvoting option and Google loves data…. if you test it let me know.

Q: Where and how will this display?
A: It shows up within the listing on the maps app for Android users

Q: Will it show in organic search on the desktop?

Q: Is there a limit to the number of questions and or answers?
A: There are no limit to the FAQ’s

Q: When will this be available to the iPhone Google App?
A: That’s not known at this point

Q: What are the rules on taking down a question?
A: Guidelines match reviews pretty closely — for factual questions, Google can take things down that are flagged as incorrect. The rules around spam and abuse are similar to reviews.

Q: Can businesses opt-out?
A: No. Don’t be naive.

Q: Can links be embedded in a question or answer?
A: No, no links allowed.

Q: How does Q & A affect ranking?
A: It doesn’t affect ranking. But Google loves data….

Q: Are you able to post or answer questions via the API?
A: Not currently.

Q: We have hundreds of businesses, how can we post common questions to all of our location listings?
A: Brute force, one at a time

Q: We have hundreds of locations how can we monitor questions.
A: Buy your staff Androids and man the bunkers. If you are lucky, since it is initially limited to Android Maps, there will be few.

Q: What’s to stop merchants from asking their own questions and then have their employees vote up the answers to the top
A: They could do that – nothing to stop them, though it would probably be better if they replied from the GMB account so that it would identify the response as one from the business owner.

Q: Are all business listings eligible for Q & A?
A: Any reviewable place will allow for Q&A.

Q: Will Google use these questions to add to attributes, add answers to Home etc?
A: It is not known at this time but Google loves data….

Q: How about age restricted businesses, Hospitals, financial etc. Will they have Q & A?
A: Any reviewable place will allow for Q&A – a very small number of businesses don’t support questions and answers.

Q: Can you see the Q&As on all platforms and only add new Q&As on Android Mobile?
A: You can only see Q&A on the platforms that you can add Q&A on. So at launch, they will only be visible on Android Google Maps.

How to Add Your “Under Construction” Business to Google Maps

Add Your Under Construction Business to Google Maps

Guide to Add Your “Under Construction” Business to Google Maps

Google is quite explicit in their guidelines that you can’t verify a listing via Google My Business prior to it opening. Apparently though, there is a new option within Google Maps Android to add a business under construction and indicate the date in the future that it will be open.

Here is the relevant “rule” from the guidelines that clearly prohibits a business from attempting to verify a business before it is open:

Ineligible businesses

The following businesses aren’t eligible for a business listing:
  • Businesses that are under construction or that have not yet opened to the public.
While the Add a Place feature in Google Maps doesn’t offer as much control as the Google My Business dashboard verification, it does offer a way to be sure that your soon to open business is visible on day one. Whether this feature will be rolled out to the desktop, iPhone or the Dashboard is not clear.

Google My Business Expands Optional URLS for Appointments, Reservations & Ordering Ahead

GMB URL Options

Google Expands Optional URLS for Appointments, Reservations & Ordering Ahead for GMB

Joel Headley of PatientPop pointed out on Twitter that Google had added the ability to add a “make an appointment” URL to physician listings and other verticals, It appears that they have expanded these in various verticals and not just physicians as well as adding vertical specific options.

Professionals such as lawyers, doctors, insurance agencies, consulting firm & psychologists as well as construction, computer repair, flooring and plumbing companied have the ability to add the make an appointment URL. I am sure that many other categories do as well. The only listing where I didn’t see an option was a bricks and mortar lawn and garden location.

Restaurants are also now allowed to add both a reservation and an order ahead URL to their listings.

Update 4/10: Google has published an updated Help page: Local Business URLS. On it they note that there are the following types of URLS available:
  • Booking an appointment
  • Placing an order
  • Reserving a table
  • Searching for items
  • Viewing the menu
They also note that
In some cases, links to certain third-party booking services will appear automatically on business listings. These links cannot be edited in Google My Business.

I have not seen the searching for items option, if you have I would like to know what the context was. It also isn’t clear to me if the business already has a 3rd party booking service link whether they can add their own book an appointment link and whether they will co-exist or not. Please let me know.