With so many search result enhancements, it’s hard to determine what your visitors see. For example, this is the search result for my NameHero coupon page at WP-Tweaks.com:
As you can see, it shows a ratings search enhancement and a list of site links below. But there are a lot of other enhancements that could be shown. For example, on some pages, Google shows pricing information; on others, it shows featured snippets. For some, Google doesn’t show the rating stars, which can be frustrating.
Here are a few ways to see which enhancements Google is showing – ideally and in the real world.
Using the Rich Snippets Tool
The first way to test which enhancements Google can show in the search results is using the Rich snippets tool. To use this tool, you don’t need to be logged into your Google account, and the page need not be indexed. In fact, it could be a freshly published post, and you can still see what kind of snippets Google can show.
Open the link above, type in your URL and once it’s done processing, click the “Preview Results” link as shown here:
This will show you several possible results, and you can choose on the right-hand side which kind of enhancements you wish to preview. Keep in mind that Google can show all these or none of these. There’s no way to directly influence which snippets it shows.
Using the Google Search Console
If the Google rich snippets testing tool shows you what can be shown theoretically, the Google Search Console (GSC) shows you real-world usage of your site. To start, open GSC and inspect any page on your site. The tool will extract any search enhancements and show you what’s available. For example, here’s what it shows for my NameHero page:
GSC displays many more enhancements compared to the rich snippets testing tool. Here you’ll see breadcrumbs and site links. You can click each of these and get detailed information about the specific parts of your site that generate these enhancements. It’s great for debugging.
But even better than the enhanced display above is how Google shows you which actual enhancements it displays. Click the “Search Results” link on the left-hand side and create a filter for any given URL on your site. In the results below, click “Search Appearance” as shown here:
For my NameHero URL, GSC tells me that the product results have been displayed 1,720 times, resulting in 206 clicks for that time period. Using this tool, you can filter by country to see whether Google is showing certain enhancements more in other countries and compare the CTRs to see which ones are more effective than others.
GSC lets you play with the data in various ways, and if anything, it gives you almost too much to work with. But for measuring actual site performance, there’s nothing better.
Using a VPN in Incognito Mode
The best way to see how your site looks to visitors is to view your pages using a VPN in incognito mode. This way, you can switch countries to see how your search results appear in various parts of the world. Sometimes you’ll find that Google shows a certain enhancement in one place, not others. You’re entirely at their mercy and can’t influence which ones appear.
You can try forcing Google’s hand by removing all other search enhancements and leaving only the ones you want to show. This might mean getting rid of site links or FAQs in the hope that Google picks up the rating enhancement if that’s what you want.
Getting the right search enhancement to appear in mobile search results can be a frustrating experience. But at least you can access the data to show you what’s working and isn’t.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!