When you search for a bread dough recipe on Google, which search result do you click on? Do you quickly click on the very first result that’s displayed or is your eye caught by the bold listing that includes an image of the end result, a star rating, a quick list of ingredients, and the first few recipe steps? Chances are that you aren’t aiming for the results with minimal information and that in itself is very telling about how search engine snippets work.
If you have ever typed in a search term into Google and gravitated towards the result that offers a little more than just one or two lines of information, you have been exposed to the power of rich snippets. Perhaps it is the image that caught your eye, or the 5-star rating and reviews – whatever it is; there is no denying that rich snippets work.
To understand what a rich snippet is, it is best to know what snippets are in general. Snippets are the sneak previews of info that Google offers on a search result page to indicate how relevant the information is to your particular search term.
What are standard snippets?
By definition, a standard snippet is a summary of the information on a website that appears in a search result on Google and other search engines. The snippet is based on the search term input and the relevance of the information on the web page displayed.
A standard snippet includes the following:
- The page title tag.
- The page URL.
- The Meta description.
What are rich snippets? | What are rich text snippets?
Now that you know what standard snippets are, what are rich snippets? Rich snippets are different to standard snippets in that they offer a bit more information to the browser. They are often called “rich results” as they offer valuable nuggets of information to the reader. This type of snippet tells you, at a glance, exactly what you can expect on the page. When a rich snippet is displayed, it is because a search engine has extracted information from a website to display standard information plus more. The extra information extracted comes directly from the web page’s structured data and Schema information that’s embedded in the HTML head content.
The concept behind rich snippets is that browsers are more likely to click on a result when additional pieces of info are included, such as an image, star rating, author name, a few of the steps and directions involved, and more. Rich snippets generally stand out from other snippets that they are ranked or displayed with and it’s an undeniable fact that they are more effective than standard snippets.
What are rich text snippets? Most rich text snippets include a sneak preview of:
The reason why rich snippets are so sought after by ambitious digital marketers is that they are more eye-catching than standard snippets. And an eye-catching snippet results in a better click through rate (CTR).
What are rich text snippets in SEO?
What are rich snippets in SEO? That’s a question many business owners want the answer to. Rich snippets actually form an important part of any technical SEO strategy and here’s why…Google bases a lot of emphasis on the user experience. If a website provides valuable information and an excellent user experience to the browser, Google will rank it well in search engine results. Rich snippets play a role in this by making it possible for search engines to better understand the information on the web page, so that Google can display it when it is most relevant.
How does Google display snippets and rich snippets? How does Google know?
You might wonder how Google randomly displays regular snippets for some results and rich snippets for others. Well, it’s not really random at all. It comes down to what is included in the web page’s HTML. If your web page HTML code doesn’t include certain code, a rich snippet will not be possible. It’s all about structured markup.
Including structured mark-up in your HTML will tell Google that there is rich snippet content available on your web page. And while structured mark-up may earn you rich snippet results and can help towards better SEO rankings, it does not guarantee it. What it can do is get your results more attention, which ultimately leads to better click through rates.
How to get rich snippet Google search engine results
Often, website owners overlook the importance of rich snippets as part of their SEO strategy. This is because rich snippets are a little harder to get right than standard on-page SEO is. All you have to do is take a look at current search engine results for search terms that are applicable to your industry and you will see that industry leaders are making use of rich snippets. Learning how to get rich snippets right is well worth your while. Even if you are not ranking in the first position for a search term, a rich snippet draws the eye and can achieve more click-through rates than standard snippets, even the ones that rank well above your listing.
To achieve rich snippet results in a Google SERP (Search Engine Result Page), you need to use the correct structured rich snippet markup suited to the type of rich snippet you wish to display. What is rich snippet markup? There is a plethora of rich snippet types out there and they are specific to certain types of sites.
Choose the correct type of rich snippet for your website
Of course, the type of rich snippet you use structured mark-up for will need to be relevant to your specific website. What is rich snippet markup? Well, there are 10 common types of rich snippet markup listed below:
Flight bookings - These snippets typically display flight times, prices, comparisons, and reviews.
Book reviews - These snippets display author info, reviews, samples, publishing info.
Events - These snippets display information on event type, date, ticket prices, and location details.
Reviews - These snippets display star ratings, images, and personal reviews.
Recipes - These snippets display structured steps, ingredients, recipe duration, calorie count, images.
Video - These snippets display info on the video content such as title, duration, date published, and publishing website.
Organisation - These snippets display company info such as start-up date, CEO info, address, number of employees, and social media platforms.
Music - These snippets display album release date, list of songs included, and length of the album.
Product mark-up - These snippets display product price, information, and images.
Top stories - These snippets display content of Google News approved websites only.
Implement structured data
Search engines really enjoy structured data because it helps them understand the content included on the web page. For example, a recipe on making bread dough will need to be neatly structured into a list of ingredients and a list of instructions. Your structured data should also include the length of the recipe and images of the recipe.
For a recipe, you will use a recipe mark-up on the page. This will ensure that search engines are able to categorise and understand the recipe information included on the page.
Implement structured data with Schema
What is Schema? Simply put, schema is an outline or model of content that is on the page. All search engines support Schema and you will find that it is simple to implement once you know what to do. You can visit the Schema Markup website to get advice on how to use Schema for structured data.
Basically, all you need to do is search Schema.org for the type of markup to use for the snippet you have in mind. For instance, when it comes to making bread dough, you will search for a “recipe schema markup”. The website will display a detailed guideline on what to include on your page and in your HTML code in order to get an eye-catching rich snippet result on a Google SERP.
Use Google structured data documents
If you are handling your own SEO marketing or are new to digital marketing, you might find more value in using Google’s documentation on structured data. Google has laid out the required information and guidelines in such a way that anyone can understand it. It cuts out all of the digital jargon that could otherwise confuse a person without an SEO or digital background. The Google Search tools for developers also provide quite in-depth information on using structured data and Schema which makes for a good read on their website.
Implement structured data with WordPress
If your website is WordPress based, it is a lot easier to implement structured data. You will find that WordPress offers a variety of structured data plugins that make adding such information quick and easy.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Rich Snippets with Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper
At this stage, you are probably still a little confused by the process of implementing structured data for rich snippets. If you are a beginner to all of this, it can definitely be a little daunting. There is an easier way to create structured data for rich snippets, thanks to Google. Google makes it possible to use Microdata to create structured data. It is actually quite a simple automated process when you use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
Step 1: Decide which details you want displayed by Google.
You can do this by choosing the snippet type you wish to have as already mentioned above. To do this, simply ask yourself what type of structured data or snippet you wish to be displayed. Is it a recipe? Is it a review? This will help you to determine the parameters when using Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper tool.
Step 2: Use Google Structured Data Markup Helper to define your web page.
Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper makes it quite easy to create a structured data set that is well-suited to your particular type of website. When you open the program, you will be required to select one of the following attributes: articles, events, movies, restaurants, book reviews, job postings, products, software applications, data sets, local businesses, question & answer page, and TV episodes. When using this tool, select the attribute best suited then scroll to the end of the page and enter the existing URL where the content is published. Then simply follow the prompts.
Step 3: Use your chosen data type to create Microdata for your web page.
Microdata are used to label and describe the content on a web page. You must include code to tell Google the details that pertain to the rich snippet you want. The Google Structured Data Markup Helper can do this for you. Once you have chosen the data type for your website, the next step is where you can assign the correct details to your web page with Microdata. You will need to follow the prompts on the screen to select attributes such as author, ingredients, and instructions and so on.
Step 4: Use the Microdata to create new HTML code for your web page.
Once you have completed assigning Microdata to your web page, you need to click on “Create HTML” which is a red button at the top right hand side of the screen. By doing this, the tool will generate the HTML code for you. All you have to do is insert the code to ensure that the structured data is correctly implemented, but first, complete the next step.
Use the Microdata to tag your content.
Once your new HTML code is generated, you will see that every created tag appears in a block of code displayed on the screen. This code can be inserted into the web page’s HTML. You need to insert this code into your website in the head content of your HTML. It is this HTML code that tells Google and other search engines how to read the structured data and that a rich snippet is desired.
Test your rich snippet.
It is pointless creating structured data if Google and other search engines cannot read and display it correctly. Google also offers a Structured Data Testing Tool that you can use to test if your rich snippet is okay. This tool determines if your structured data can be read by Google and if it is worthy of a rich snippet result. If there are any errors or warnings, they will be displayed to you when you enter the URL to be tested and hit enter.
When it comes to technical SEO rich snippets are an important element. While getting rich snippets cannot guarantee better search engine results, they can improve click through rates. Achieving rich snippets is not a particularly quick and easy process, but it will be well worth your time learning how to do it and putting your new found skills to the test.
With the market place becoming so competitive, it is important to ensure that your business stands out from the rest. What better way to do it than by creating rich snippets that draw the eye and ensure more click through success!