Understanding Google Rich Results

In 2022, Google isn’t just a results page with 10 blue links. It adapts to the Internet user’s desire to offer features that must be understood in order to benefit from it.

Google is a scalable and intelligent search engine:

  • Scalable – The results pages originally contained only “10 blue links” (+ sponsored links) and in 2022 offer a variety of formats in the organic results alone (stars, prices, favicons…)
  • Intelligent – ​​Google relies heavily on the content and metadata provided to it on a page, but it knows how to understand and distill them to produce visual cues that are useful to the user and to theirs request are relevant

As a Google user, we therefore have extensive and relevant functions in relation to our request:

  • If you search for a specific product (a smartphone model), the search results will be displayed near a comparative catalog of offers from different retail sites with photos, prices, availability and user reviews. These visuals are rich snippets
  • If you search for information that includes a generic topic (“Machine Learning”), Google will produce informative results, often with a position 0 to cover the topic in a few lines plus a block of other asked questions generated by Google and you will be allowed to continue reading.

In short, Google has evolved to enrich its results and understand which form best fits the intent of the user request.

How do I navigate through the gallery of different Google Rich results?

As users, we don’t pay attention to the variety of formats that we have in front of us. As SEO professionals, understanding them is a matter of helping the websites we work for.

Let’s clarify all these formats and their different names:

  • The search result
  • Highlighted cutouts
  • Rich Snippets
  • Structured Snippets
  • Other questions asked

The search result / search result

It designates one of the results on a Google search results page (SERP – Search Engine Results Page). Consisting of a clickable title (title link (FR) / title link (EN)) and a description (excerpt (FR) / snippet (EN)). To go fast, let’s talk about title + description.

Google documentation detailing the terms to use.

Highlighted cutouts

Commonly referred to as Position 0, Featured Snippet (FR) / Featured Snippet (EN) according to official Google terminology. It is an excerpt of text from a page considered most relevant to responding to a request for information.

Its unofficial name comes from the fact that this result comes before the list of classic results, i.e. before position 1. The prominence of the respective page ensures CTRs of over 40%. Its purpose is also to allow Google’s voice assistants (Home & Assistant) to reply to an informative voice request with a single and concise answer.

In order to benefit from this feature, you really only need one thing: to be placed in the top 3 results for the respective search query. The ideal is to voluntarily offer a summary of the page with an average length of 300 characters, but Google knows how to find the right excerpt itself (recent technological developments in the algorithm relate to language understanding). No technical factors are considered, although structured data is often cited in confusion with other rich formats.

The text snippet format is the most common, although there are also featured snippets in list and table format.

Rich snippets

These are optical improvements of the section (snippets) of a result, i.e. its description. They are added below the extract to expand the space occupied by a search result and thus enrich the extract. The most common rich snippets are related to products: price, star rating, availability, reviewer opinion…

Depending on the type of content your page offers, there is a wide variety: additional FAQs, cooking recipes, tutorials, events, etc.

They depend on metadata, called structured data, that a site must offer in order to be eligible. Your presentation is not systematic. Google strongly encourages website publishers to markup their pages with this structured data by providing examples, markup validation tools, and reports for each format in Search Console.

Note that while rich snippets depend on structured data, Google doesn’t use all existing structured data formats to generate rich snippets.

Textured cutouts

A rarer format and more difficult to remember, structured snippets are neither rich snippets nor structured data. Google automatically generates them from tabular elements on a page.

Wikipedia results often benefit from this thanks to their two-column summary sheets (name + value, e.g. country + France).

Tables consisting of several rows and columns are suitable if Google manages to generate a readable section in the SERPs.

To be eligible, a set of factual data must be in the form of a simple HTML table (

) are encoded, while most websites put their data in

organize to produce an identical visual result, thereby depriving them of the ability to create very visually structured extracts for their results. Sometimes the simplest methods lead to the most successful results.

Other questions asked/people asking too

This block consists of 4 questions and appears with informative queries. The questions are generated by Google itself, based on queries from Internet users on the topic, hence the more explicit name “People Also Ask” (PAA). They are therefore not always very natural… (What are the 2021 2022 school holidays? What is Zone C? Why McDonalds? (sic))

Three things to know:

  • The drop-down answer for each question corresponds to the optimized extract of that question when directly searched in Google, both in format and on the positioned page. There is also a direct link to this research.
  • These other questions asked can position a page on a very competitive request. The presence of this block adds 4 natural results to the SERP, i.e. 4 positions. Therefore, if the block is ranked 2nd after the first natural result and you are positioned 4th there, according to Google’s Search Console average position on the SERP, you are ranked 5th.
  • The list of questions is infinitely expandable, each rolled-up question supports 3 more related to the rolled-up query.

What strategy to use to take advantage of Google’s rich results?

Working on your website’s SEO consists of understanding your market’s search intent and adapting to the search results that Google generates to act on them. Depending on what rich results Google offers, you need to customize your pages and take advantage of the richest and most visually appealing result.

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