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Good news for Restaurant owners and online course providers!

Google has that it will introduce two new rich cards for its Search Results for- Local Restaurants and Online Courses.
recently announced
This feature will enable restaurants and online course providers to flaunt their best offerings in the form of food menus and the most popular courses respectively, and that too in a completely new avatar when compared to the other search results.

Rich Card by Google
Image Courtesy: Google

This move comes in the wake of Google’s recently launched rich card feature for Movies and Recipes.

Let us discuss a few points in detail, which will lend some perspective as to how Google envisions the future of search to be like. The points we will discuss in this blog are:

1. What is a Rich Card?
2. How Can Rich Cards Benefit Your Restaurant Business?
3. How Can Rich Cards Benefit Your Online Course Providers?
4. How can SEO experts serving both verticals leverage this update?
5. How Will This Move Impact Users?
6. Conclusions

What is a Rich Card?

Rich Cards are a unique feature that Google utilizes for businesses using the Schema.org microformat. Rich cards are mainly targeted towards mobile users (we know how much Google loves mobile). They are an upgraded version of Rich snippets that Google launched some time ago.

Basically, rich cards allow mobile users to ‘preview’ any business through a completely different interface on their mobile phone.

Shopping Rich Card
Image Courtesy: Google

If you run a business and want to set up a rich card for your customers, you will need to set up a structured data microformat on your website, listing the following data accurately: schema type (local business, organization etc.), business name, business address plus contact number, an image URL, and the price range that you offer. A typical structured data looks like this:
<script type="application/ld+json">
{
"@context": "http://schema.org",
"@type": "LocalBusiness",
"name" : "[business name]",
"address": {
"@type": "PostalAddress",
"addressLocality": "[locality]",
"addressRegion": "[region]",
"postalCode": "[postal code]",
"streetAddress": "[street address]"
},
"telephone": "[phone number]",
"url": "[website url]",
"image": "[image url]",
“priceRange”: “[price range]”,
"openingHours": "[business opening hours]",
"sameAs" : [
"[social media url]",
"[social media url]",
"[social media url]"
]
}
}
</script>

Rich cards are basically a way to share the sample of your products with your customers through an easy-to-navigate, interactive interface.

How Can Rich Cards Benefit Your Restaurant Business?

Restaurant owners will now have a unique opportunity to show off their special menus and offers through rich cards. In addition, services which list local restaurants in their websites would be able to display those restaurants on local searches. For example, if a user is searching for “Restaurants in Bay area” in San Francisco, services like TripAdvisor could serve up rich cards displaying restaurants present in the Bay area.

Restaurant Rich Card
Image Courtesy: GoogleBlog

How Can Rich Cards Benefit Online Course Providers?

Online course providers like EdX, Khan Academy, Coursera etc. will be able to target those who are willing to learn more through rich cards that display the most popular courses such sites offer, which are related to the topic that users are searching for.

Online Course Rich Card
Image Courtesy: Google Blog

How Can SEO Experts Serving Both Verticals Leverage This Update?

If you are an SEO consultant, and are serving both restaurant and online course based clients, rich cards can be a golden opportunity for you to generate leads for your clients.

Rich cards can be used to display the snippets of products or courses that potential customers can find interesting, thus leading to an increased number of impressions and click-through rates.

As Google gives emphasis to mobile search, SEOs should keep in mind that all websites should have a mobile version for this feature to work properly.

Google has also suggested that AMP be used by the websites along with rich cards to provide fast and great content to users.

To simplify it further:

Fast + great content=happy users.

Happy Users=Better lead generation.

How Will This Move Impact Users?

Any mobile user, while searching for a particular recipe or restaurant, will be able to see carousal images on top of the search results.

These images, when clicked, will lead to a suitable website.

Users who are searching for a particular online course will be able to view the most popular courses in a carousal format.

For users, that would save a lot of time as they wouldn’t have to scroll through the entire search result.

Google is trying to make search more comfortable and easy for its users. Rich cards can be considered to be one of Google’s maiden steps towards fulfilling that goal.

Conclusions: What The Future Holds

Right now, rich cards only work for English Google.com domain, but there is a good chance Google will make this feature default for other country-specific domains and languages as well, depending on the initial feedback it receives from users.

This feature also presents an untapped potential for businesses which want to attract customers, thus making more businesses jump onto the mobile bandwagon.

Google has introduced rich cards for only four categories as of now, but that does not mean it would not introduce this feature for other categories as well in the near future.

Update: Google has now released a feature called Google Posts. This update is seen as an evolution of rich cards, which came into being during the US Presidential elections of 2016.

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