Can Site Quality Affect Google’s Rich Results?

3 min read
site quality affecting rich results

There is no easy answer to this. There have been many instances where redesigning of websites lead to all three possible outcomes: rankings improved, dropped, and remained neutral. We are guessing it has to do a lot with whether or not the site redesign lead to loss of site quality. But the question here is respect to the loss of Google’s Rich Results. And there’s nobody better to answer it for us than Google’s very own John Mueller. Let’s he has to say about how change in site quality can affect search results, including the very coveted Rich Results.

Is it really a possibility we should consider?

Short answer, yes! A question was put up by one of the viewers at the recent Google SEO Office-hours Hangout. One of their customers had just resigned their website without changing the CMS or the Content. And it resulted in, or so they believe, all of the FAQs schemas stopped being displayed in the search results. Nearly three months later and passing every framework on the rich results test, the problem persists.  The viewer wanted to know why that happened in the first place and that would FAQs would ever be displayed again. And here is what John shared and shed some much needed light on the entire issue.

“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.”

He suggested that loss of rich results may not have happened because of the site redesign at all, but maybe because of the loss of overall quality of the website. He recommended re-evaluating the quality of the website. Now that is indeed a very valuable insight, a redesign setting off a quality issue and thereby leading to loss of rich results or overall results.

How to perform a Quality Check for Rich Results?

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. 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.

He further added, unless there is a technical issue, there is usually no fixed delay o disruptions on Google’s part to crawl the website. “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.”

Does the Site Query Test help?

“Yeah, it’s not 100% perfect. But it works for a lot of these cases when it comes to rich results.” said John. Going from all that he had to say, we think it is safe to assume that site quality is definitely a strong reason for loss of Rich Results on Google. If you think that might be the case with your website too or if you just want us to take a look at your website’s design and see how Google-friendly it is, and how can you improve its rankings, you can opt for one of our Monthly SEO Packages or just drop us a mail and we’ll be more than happy to guide you through it.

Lastly, if you have time to spare, do watch John Mueller answer the question at the 52:26 minute mark and then again at the 55:19 minute mark, and may be also stick around for the rest of the discussion for some other valuable insights.

Mohit Behl
[email protected]