What are rich snippets?

Rich snippets are the little blurbs found underneath each result on search engine result pages (SERPs). Google creates these rich snippets based on information it finds on your page so it’s good to give Google a little helping hand to get the most useful and engaging information into this blurb.

To do this we just have to add some extra coding into the page to feed Google some juicy titbits. This is called markup, and is often referred to as schema. Google supports rich snippets for the following types of content, however not all of these are supported in every country at the moment:

  • Music
  • Author
  • People
  • Recipes
  • Products
  • Reviews
  • Businesses and organisations
  • Events

 

The information displayed in the snippet may be, for a restaurant for example, opening hours, average reviewer rating and price range. For author markup you need to have a Google+ profile set up. See our earlier post about setting up Google Authorship for more information.

There is whole host of schema that you can use to add markup to your site. There are a few cool options that I want to share with you. Firstly, it’s possible to geotag your location by including geo-coordinates in your markup. This shows your location in the rich snippet, which could be particularly useful for local businesses. One of the other options is breadcrumbs, which can assist users in understanding your site navigation. These additional links to your site on the search engine result page can increase your click through rate. Breadcrumbs might be most useful for businesses targeting a number of locations. This one needs a picture really to explain. Here’s an example from a Search Engine Land blog:
example of breadcrumb schema markup rich snippet sep
The last schema example that I’m going to mention is VideoObject schema. Videos show up pretty high in search engine results and the right markup can help Google to improve their interpretation and representation of your video content in those results.

Why should you do it?

So you’re probably wondering why you need to worry about rich snippets. Well, basically, a user entering a search query wants to know that the results given by Google are relevant and rich snippets helps users with this. Click through rates are improved because the result stands out on the SERP and the user has a fair idea that the information they are looking for is on the site. This can help drive quality traffic to your site. Useful information in the rich snippet may also reduce bounce rates for the page because the searcher is obviously more likely to stay on a site that’s relevant to their query. Lower bounce rates are one of the factors that equal higher page rankings, which make rich snippets good for SEO. Take at look at this article on The Moz Blog, it displays some examples of rich snippets using schema that give a pretty compelling argument as to why you should get onboard.

What do I need to do?

There are a number of resources available to help you install schema or micro data on your site. We would recommend using one that is provided by Google for example:

//support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=176035

 

How do I know if I have set it up properly?

Google have provided a testing tool for people to use. This will help diagnose the page and ensure you have marked it up correctly.

//www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sleepinggiantmedia.co.uk%2Fposts%2F7-reasons-why-google-is-the-search-engine-of-choice%2F