Will Rich Search Results Replace Websites?
Search engines are providing access to increasingly more information about websites right in the search results. This is great for consumers who want to get the information they were looking for quickly, but will this replace your website?
You have probably seen these search features popping up in your recent searches as more search engines are adopting these enhancements to the same old boring list of links. More often now, you find what is often called rich results. These can be a lifesaver when you need to get a phone number that would be otherwise hidden somewhere deep in a website. If you search for the hours of that restaurant your friend suggested, it will get that to you in a pod to the right of the search results without ever having laid eyes on the website for that restaurant. The results get smarter every year and it is making search more important than ever.
Does this mean that these results will replace your website? Probably not, as the goal of this information provided by the search engine is mostly aimed at the quick and easy answers. The meat of your website is unlikely to be fully extracted and squeezed into the sidebar of some results page, but it does bring to mind the idea of how important it is that the search engines get the right information from your site.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is not just a buzzword you hear about when someone is selling you on the idea of a website. Getting your site prepped with the right information will make sure that the information that shows up in these rich results will be more likely to be yours and not your competitor’s. Also, by making sure your site fits the current guidelines set by search engines, you can ensure that the information provided will be straight from your site and is accurate.
If you haven’t noticed these rich results in Google and others, you should try searching some of these phrases to see some examples: “What is Drupal?”, search for a local restaurant, or search for symptoms of the common cold. Try not to freak yourself out too much by searching for symptoms on the internet! These new rich results are great and aren’t likely to replace your website, but it reminds us that getting your website optimized for search engines is as important as ever.