If you’re looking for new ways to improve your SEO, check out Google’s “rich snippets” and “rich cards” tools.
By adding specifically formatted language to parts of your website, you provide Google with the option — when it’s deemed appropriate — of presenting your information in a visually compelling way.
This can improve your SEO and give you a leg up on the competition.
What is a Rich Snippet and How Do You Create One?
A rich snippet is the text that is listed on the search engine results page (SERP) below your title line. Google will find information on your website to display, but for best results, you should take steps to control what is shown.
Adding info to your site that will display in rich snippets requires adding special codes known as schema or structured data markup. This data provides Google with additional information that it can provide to searchers, when appropriate.
Although the specific information included in schema varies based on your business, typical structured data may include local-specific info, logo, phone number, website URL, photo, map, business hours and other relevant data specific to what you offer.
A rich snippet can include star ratings, customer reviews, product description and pricing, or any information a searcher would find relevant. They not only encourage more traffic to your site, but they drive more qualified prospects.
In most cases, searchers will only see a portion of your schema in the search results. If your site and schema best meet a given searcher’s needs, however, Google can choose to show even more of our information. And that’s when snippets start kicking your SEO up a notch.
What is a Featured Snippet?
The first type of special search result we’ll talk about is the holy grail of SEO, “Position Zero,” also known as a featured snippet.
A featured snippet is referred to as Position Zero because it appears above the number one SERP result. If you’ve ever done a search and noticed that one result is highlighted prominently at the top of the SERP, perhaps inside its own graphic box, you’ve seen a featured snippet.
Although any website may land in this highly coveted spot, this method of display gives the searcher the sense that this source is the consummate answer or expert for their query. That’s why some industry experts refer to this as a rich answer, answer box or knowledge box.
Typically, the data is presented in the form of a list (such as a set of instructions), graphic or table. However, it can also be presented in the form of a brief text answer, potentially accompanied by a photo or image.
Getting here requires a perfect storm of exceptional SEO and schema, but it also requires providing the perfect answer to the searcher’s question. To get to Positon Zero, you must, “Be a better answer to the question.”
What Are Google Rich Cards?
Rich cards contain essentially the same data as snippets, but the data is displayed in a card carousel format. Specifically designed for mobile search, these graphical cards enhance the mobile search experience and make it easier for searchers to find the information they need.
Late last month, Google announced that it was expanding rich cards globally and making them available to other types of businesses.
How Can I Improve SEO with Rich Cards and Snippets?
Rich cards rely on providing extra information to Google, in a format known as shema.org. This might include Google user ratings or information about specific e-commerce products that match the searcher’s query.
To use rich cards, you must add this specific structured data, which cues Google to consider an enhanced presentation of the information. Even if your business isn’t appropriate or eligible yet for cards, you can provide this structured data anyway, for use in snippets.
Types of Content You Can Use for Rich Results
You may think your business model or content isn’t appropriate for rich results, but you may be surprised by how you can leverage this tool to improve your SEO.
In addition to reviews, Google may use your basic business information in a snippet or card. Products are perfect for this purpose, if you deal in e-commerce. People can also be featured, including doctors, real estate agents and professional service providers. Video content can be optimized for use in rich results too.
Google also recognizes upcoming events for rich results. For example, you can offer a seminar for learning something specific to your business. By adding a geo tag, Google can match this to searchers who are interested learning what you have to offer.
Do I Really Need Rich Snippets or Cards to Improve SEO?
This is a loaded question, as SEO tools don’t usually match the one-size-fits-all characterization.
When you add content to your website, Google and the other search engines have the option to present it in a variety of formats, depending on how the search engine evaluates the intent of the searcher.
If the searcher enters a general or vague term, Google will typically provide a mix of results and hope that something works for that person. When the searcher enters a specific term, however, Google looks for clues in your SEO that indicate you have the best answer.
If you (or your professional SEO company) have done a good job optimizing your website, Google will have an easier time recognizing that you do indeed have the best answer. If you’ve set up rich results language, Google just may give you that prized rich snippet box or — even better — a rich card.
Be Locally SEO leverages every available tool to improve search engine rankings. We offer a full suite of services, including search engine marketing, web design and content marketing. Contact us today to learn more about how we can leverage rich cards and snippets to improve your SEO.