Want to improve your SEO ranking, generate more traffic to your website and increase your clickthrough rates by up to 30%? Don’t mind spending a little bit of extra time ensuring that this happens? Then Google rich snippets are just what you need.
What are rich snippets?
Google rich snippets extract information from your website, and display this on your site’s listing in its search results. So as well as having the standard url, meta-description and so on, you can include items such as photos, star ratings and author information, making your site much more attractive to users.
So why doesn’t everyone use them?
Rich snippets are a little more time-consuming and difficult to implement than other on-page SEO strategies, so many businesses choose not to use them. However, it’s been shown that adding rich snippets can increase your clickthrough rates by 30%, and so could well be worth that extra bit of time and effort.
What types of rich snippets can be used?
There are seven types of rich snippets, specifically created for different kinds of content. Let’s take a look at what each one can include:
Can include the author’s name, photo (as it appears on Google+), links to other articles written by the same author and how many Google+ followers they have.
Business and Organisation Snippets
Details items such as company name, address, telephone number, url and geolocation.
Event information can include rich snippets of the url, the location/venue, a summary and description, start and end dates, duration, type of event and geolocation. It can also feature a photo and information about ticket prices and special offers.
There are a multitude of rich snippets that can be used for information about music tracks. Some of these include the name of the track, the duration, a url for playback and/or for purchase, awards, comments, lyrics, authors, copyright holder information and genre of music.
People snippets can include name, nickname, photo, title, role, url, the name of the organisation they work for, social relationships and addresses.
For products, rich snippets can include the product’s name, image, description, brand, category, reviews and a nested offer snippet for prices, sellers, conditions, availability and so on.
Information about how to prepare recipes also has its own group of rich snippets, including the name of the dish, type of dish, photo, summary, review, preparation time, cooking time, total time, nutritional information, instructions, yield, ingredients and author.
Whilst reviews can be included in some of the above types of content, a review can be its own snippet too, including properties such as the item being reviewed, its rating, the review, the date reviewed, a description and summary.
So how do you do it?
There are three ways of creating rich snippets – microdata, microformats and RDFa. The most straightforward method of adding rich snippets is to use microdata, which is Google’s recommended strategy. Basically, microdata is a way to label content in HTML5, which describes what the information is about. Imagine that your current information looks like this:
My name is Richard Howe but some people call me Rich. I run a creative website design and custom web development company in Oxford and London. It’s called Colour Rich. Find out more here: http://www.colourrich.co.uk.
Once you’ve marked up the HTML with microdata, it would look more like this:
My name is Richard Howe but some people call me Rich. I run a creative web design company in Oxford and London called Colour Rich. Find out more here: http://www.colourrich.co.uk.
Although it’s a bit fiddly, the syntax is fairly straightforward and shouldn’t present too many difficulties. And Google’s support website provide some examples to assist – you can find this here.
So what happens next?
Well now you’ll need to test your markup to make sure it works properly. Conveniently, Google have a structured data testing tool which does just this. Once you’ve run the test, Google will be able to discover your snippets the next time they crawl your website.
It might take a few days for the changes to show up in search results, but when they do, more people should be tempted to visit your site, boosting your SEO and generating more business. And you might find yourself gaining satisfaction from knowing that your listing looks better than that of the competition!