What's the difference between featured snippet, rich result, knowledge graph, and web light result?

Rich Result, Featured Snippet, and Knowledge Graph Explained

Nowadays, When you search for things in Google you might see a featured snippet, which is a featured block at the top of the search results page. In this post, I am going to tell you the name of those featured search results and why you should know.

Featured search results are now an integral part of Google search. They all serve a different purpose and the user’s search intent.

What is a Rich Result?

Example of a rich result on Google

You must have seen these search results by now if you use Google. Rich results are mostly shown in various formats such as carousels, images, or other non-textual elements. There are many kinds of rich results. Many are linked to the specific content type being displayed (book, movie, article, and so on).

The purpose of a rich snippet or rich result is to provide the most relevant data from a web page to the user within the search results. It will help users to decide whether the page is relevant to their search. Webmasters can use structured markups to enhance their search results.

you can also test if your page supports the rich results. You have to use structured data on your pages in order to be displayed in a rich result.

History of Rich Results

In May 2009, Google announced that they would render website microformats to populate search results with “Rich snippets”. These snippets include additional details about web pages such as reviews, download links, location, social media accounts, etc…

Google further expanded on the Rich snippets in 2016. They improved the presentation of rich results by including “Rich card”. It is similar to the rich snippet but it provides search results in the form of a swipeable carousel format on mobile devices.

What is a Featured Snippet?

Example of a featured snippet

A featured snippet is a search result on the 1st position hand-picked by Google’s algorithm. It is shown as a prominent block with a page title, content description, and link to the actual page.

Google picks up any data from a page which it considers would best answer the user-specific question.

For example, if someone searches for ‘cheesecake recipe’, it is more than likely that Google will show up a featured snippet to the user.

You can read further about how to add or remove featured snippet to your webpage.

What is the Google Knowledge Graph?

Example of a knowledge graph

The Google Knowledge Graph gathered information from a variety of sources and used by Google to enhance it’s search results. Google usually displays this information in a box to the right of the actual search page.

Google shows a knowledge graph when you search for specific things such as a company name, influential person, and sometimes books, actors, tv shows, etc..

What is a Onebox Search Result?

Example of Google onebox result

In simple terms, it looks something like a featured snippet but without any link to the website. These are only shown when you search for things such as weather, time, flight status, translation, and a few such elements.

It is not very helpful for webmasters as Google won’t show a link to your website when it shows a Onebox search result. Here are some examples of Onebox search results.

Flight status in Google onebox result
Flight Status on Onebox Search Result
Translation Onebox Search Result
Translation Onebox Search Result

Difference between Rich Result, Featured Snippet, and Knowledge Graph

You might think that they all look the same but they completely serve different purposes and audience. For example, featured snippet and one box result try to provide a complete answer to user’s questions.

However, the knowledge graph and rich result are providing specific information to the user. When you search for a company name such as “Nike” or “Adidas”, you will get a knowledge graph about those companies, a description fetched from Wikipedia, social links, website, etc..

Also, webmasters can provide structured data to Google in order to serve knowledge graph and rich results on specific queries.

I hope now you understand clearly the difference between rich result, featured snippet, and knowledge graph.

If you need help with SEO or reputation management then please feel free to send me a message.

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