Since 2009, Google has been using Rich Snippets in search results to help users quickly find more information on subjects ranging from food recipes to event details. They were designed to help users make decisions before they click by giving them a sense of what the webpages contain. Today Rich Snippets have grown to include an even larger variety of subjects and are being used more by all of the major search engines. They continue to help users discover websites that are relevant to their search, thus resulting in higher click through rates for the websites that take advantage of them.
An example of a “Snippet” is the author’s image that shows up near a Google search result. The authorship attribute is the most widely used snippet.
Rich Snippets give users quicker access to information on a large variety of topics including:
- Restaurants: average review, number of stars, price range
- Recipes: photo, rating, time required
- Music Albums: lyrics, link to play song
- Video: video image
- People: phone number, photos
- Products: ratings, picture, price range
- Businesses & Organizations: location, customer reviews
- Events: date, location, time
- Authors: photo, name, link to more articles
Why You Should Use Rich Snippets
Search results using rich snippets stand out from results that do not, and they consequently result in higher click through rates. Rich Snippets also provide users with information that let them know what to expect before actually accessing the site, thus driving in traffic that is likely to stay on the site longer. Overall, Rich Snippets lead to more targeted users, a lower bounce rate, a higher conversion rate, and an overall increase in SEO.
How to Add Rich Snippets
Schema.org was formed by the three major search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo!) in order to endorse a standard method and markup format for adding Rich Snippets to a website. There are many other schemas and several markup formats out there, but schema.org’s microdata format is the only one endorsed by all three major search engines and is therefore the recommended way to go.
Schema.org provides a large variety of HTML tags that can be added to a website. After choosing which of these rich snippets will be valuable to your site, schema.org will provide you with the markup that needs to be added.
Google’s Rich Snippet Tool (http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets) will show you if the rich snippets are being recognized. Your new markup will have to be discovered by the search engines before your Rich Snippets are actually displayed in the SERPs! Remember that it can take some time before your site is crawled. If you feel you waited long enough and your Rich Snippets are still not showing in search results, you can find possible remedies here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/1093493.