Rich snippets for stupid people, and, errr… you

Rich snippets for stupid people, and, errr… you

Rich Snippets display additional, small content snippets from webpages within Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) using structured data to mark-up content.

Google introduced Rich Snippets to their results in May 2009, serving as a ‘sneak preview’ of Google Search results by adding extra information to a search listing that helps searchers find exactly what they’re looking for, and they continue to evolve to this day.  Though it is not currently a ranking signal in Google’s algorithm it could well become one in the future.  They also come with great benefits to search engines, users and webmasters alike.

The additional information around the search results that utilise rich snippets increases your visibility over traditional results whilst also helping search engines to better understand the context of your content and acts as a guide (for the engines) of what to display in search.

Here is our ‘Newbies Guide to Rich Snippets’, including which types of rich snippets are available and how to implement them.

What are Rich Snippets?

As mentioned previously, Google added rich snippets to their search results back in 2009 to help users make better choices about what they might want to click on. By utilising rich snippets, webmasters can give their search result a competitive edge and increase click through rates and lower their bounce rate, even with lower rankings. Rich snippets stand out against traditional search results, so it would be foolish not to invest in them, especially in highly crowded niches.  A variety of topics are covered by rich snippets, including but not limited to pricing, stock levels, physical locations, recipes and reviews.
Here’s an example of a rich snippet:

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The additional information that Google is displaying from Food.com is that eight reviews have given it a 5* rating, that the recipe takes 45 minutes to prepare and cook and that it contains 341 calories.

This extra information helps me decide whether I want to click through to see the recipe or not – there would be no way of telling all this from the title and description alone.

Types of Content

Rich snippets have come a long way since their debut in 2009 with Google now supporting a variety of content types.

This applies to content produced for reading, viewing and listening, and other content like news, recipes and videos.

The table below shows the supported features for each content type:

Content Type Available Features
ArticlesRich cards
Top stories carousel
Betting OddsRich cards
EventsEvent actions
Local BusinessesPlace actions
MusicMusic actions
RecipesHost-specific lists
Rich cards
ReviewsCritic review cards
TV and  FilmsWatch actions
VideosRich cards

Articles – You can provide details such as headline, images, publish date, and description.

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Betting Odds – Includes betting odds in order of favourites for events listed by bookmakers.

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Events – Available for future events; details can include dates, duration, ticket information and location.

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Local Businesses – Mark-up data available includes business name, address (both physical location and URL), opening hours, telephone number, location and the company’s logo, appearing in Google’s Knowledge Graph.

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Music – Data mark-up relates to songs and music albums. This can include links to song previews and even direct links to buying individual tracks or full albums.  Similar to the Events structured data, you can mark-up artists’ tour dates.

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Recipes – You can mark-up everything from the type of dish, reviews, preparation and cooking time, nutritional information, serving size, calories and more.

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Reviews – Both individual and aggregated reviews are supported.  Google may show a rich snippet that includes a star rating out of five and other summary info from reviews or ratings.

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TV and Films – Structured data for televsion programmes and films can include its name, URL, synopsis, ratings, release date, directors, actors, budget, box office success and reviews among other categories.

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Videos – You can provide data such as the description, URL, upload date and duration.

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Schema.org

Five years ago, Google, Yahoo! and Bing teamed up to create a common set of schemas for structured data mark-up on web pages.

The result was schema.org – providing many types of schema vocabularies, ranging from event listings to movie information.

The biggest benefit of adding this microdata to your website is simple: eye-catching results to help draw a user’s attention to your site.

How to Implement

To trigger rich snippets for your website you will need the right schema mark-up on your pages.  This will allow Google to understand the data which you wish to appear in your rich snippet.

The Schema.org website will help you explore the range of structured data options available. Schema mark-up is written using HTML5 so you don’t need to learn a whole new coding language – common tags, such as <div> and <span> are used. However, you may require assistance from experienced coders to help implement the microdata in the correct places. To check that your mark-up code is correctly implemented, Google have a rich snippet testing tool within the search console to help check the structure.

Why You Should Use Rich Snippets

Rich Snippets give Google users additional information about their search results that they can read at a glance.  So, when they’re searching for a product, it allows the user to see reviews and ratings to help distinguish which site they want to visit.

A normal Google result only allows a couple of words in your page title and a couple more in the meta description to appear in the SERPs, so there isn’t much information available to help convince a user to click through to your website.  Rich snippets gives you the opportunity to attract those additional clicks.

Ultimately, if your competitors are using Rich snippets and you aren’t, then their results will stand out much more vibrantly than yours.

If you need help with adding Rich snippets to your website, or simply improving your rankings in Google, get in touch with the development team at Receptional today.

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