Rich snippets have been in existence for nearly a decade. You probably have seen them on search engine results page but you had no clue what they are called. If you are an online searcher, rich snippets can help you know the content that is offered by a particular website. It is not mandatory for website developers to use the rich snippet, but it has some important SEO benefits that cannot be ignored. Using rich snippet will help searchers find information that they were looking for. In addition, it can help increase click-through rates and reduce chances of bounces as a result of searchers not finding information that they were searching for.
What is a rich snippet?
Rich snippets refer to lines of code or structured data markup that are added to your site’s HTML, which helps search engines like Google to decipher information contained on your website. This helps search engines to display results based on the additional information so that users can understand what your site has to offer. Typically, when your site shows up on search engine results page, Google will display the URL, website title, and meta description used on the web page. However, when rich snppets are used, Google will display further information about the result, including if the result is a review, product, business, or person.
In case you have a restaurant business, rich snippets can be used to display customer star ratings so that it increases the credibility of your business and website. Major search engines can also use markup to create richer search results that help users find the information they are looking for. It is important to note that rich snippets do no affect your website ranking on search engines. However, even if rich snippets don’t have an impact on your website ranking, they offer SEO benefits by making your web page more indexable. When you look at it, click through rate, time on site and bounce rate can affect the ranking of your website. All these can come as a result of using markup.
The good thing about rich snppet is that it helps you to pre-qualify site visitors. Google hates it when users visit a website then they bounce because it does not contain the information they are looking for. This can also reduce the on-site behavior of a website i.e. time on the site, click through rate and bounce rate. With rich snppets, searchers can see what you do and even see customer reviews of your product or business. As a result, rich snppets can help websites to prequalify their traffic, thus benefitting from SEO indirectly.
There are different markups that are recognized by search engines like Microdata, RDF, Microformats, Structured Data, Semantic Web, and schema.org. It is important you consider these terms as layers from the same onion. These markups are used to label web pages so that crawlers and search engines can translate the web content and present it to online searchers. Now that you know what is rich snppet and how it works, let’s see the content types it can be used for.
Properties of rich snippets
- Events – When structured data markup is used for events, it should only be employed on future events and not past events. In this case, markup can be used to display future dates (start and end dates), ticket details, geographical location, and duration.
- Music – Note that Bing does not support markup for music, but Google has created a provision that includes markup for albums and songs. This includes links to play songs and display lyrics on your search results page.
- People – If you have tried to Google search prominent people, you may realize that Google is showing more information about them from LinkedIn. This is also true with Bing. If your website includes profiles of employees or other members of your organization, you may achieve the same result. The displayed information includes name, title, contact information and photo.
- Products – Structured data markup is mostly used with products of merchants, especially e-commerce stores. Properties include name, brand, image, pricing, rating, condition, and availability.
- Recipes – Website operators can include markup for recipes that show the image, type of dish, preparation time, cooking time, ratings, and nutritional servings.
- Review ratings – This is useful for online shoppers who are always looking for product reviews before making a purchase. Markups for reviews can include a 5 scale ratings for products.
- Reviews – This can display individual reviews from a specific source or aggregate reviews in addition to average rating based on a group of reviewers.
- Video – The video embedded on your website can be used to display the license, duration, production company and whether the content is family friendly.
Why are rich snippets important?
Rich snippets can be distinguished from other snippets because they have a visually appealing layout that includes photos, star ratings, and page ratings. This helps to draw the attention of users compared to standard search results used by your competitors. Rich snippets also have higher click-through rates that help websites get more traffic from SERP. Businesses have witnessed an increase in click-through rates as result of using rich snippets. When more users click on your search result, your website traffic will increase. In the long term, rich snppets may impact your ranking on SERP.
About the author:
Keith Hearn is a graphic design and web developer for Finepoint Design, with over 20 years in the industry. He also writes for several web design blogs and teaches through training videos on his YouTube page.