Rich Snippets, Markup, and SEO

April 23, 2014

Rich snippets are an increasingly important piece of the SEO landscape. One study suggests that they can increase your click through rates by up to 30%, regardless of what position you hold in the search results. They can also improve your search rankings and give searchers a better sense of what information is on your website. Consider the following example, which shows the Google search engine results for a search for “blueberry pie recipes.”

be locally seo rich snippets


The first example displays significantly more information. You quickly can see user reviews, how long the recipe takes to make, and even the calorie count. The second result, while probably equally good, feels scant by comparison. More detailed information is the result of using rich snippets.

What are the benefits of rich snippets?

There are four primary benefits of using rich snippets, from both an SEO and user experience perspective:

  1. Rich snippets help increase the visibility of your site, by enhancing the chances that your results will display a thumbnail image and other information.
  2. They improve the quality of the information that you provide to people viewing your site description, resulting in a better user experience.
  3. Snippets potentially help your site rank better overall in the search engine results, as Google is able to provide better results to their searchers thanks to the more detailed information.
  4. Reduce bounce rates, as more information increases the relationship between searcher’s expectations and on-page content.

How do rich snippets operate?

Rich snippets enable Google to extract more than the usual information from your site. In addition to page titles, URLs, and basic descriptions, rich snippets allow you to highlight information such as author data, images, and logistical details. For example, if you have a restaurant you could include information about reviews and star ratings, average menu prices, and hours of operation. If you’re promoting an event, you could provide information about the location, date, and ticket prices. As you specify this microdata through some simple coding, Google is able to read the information and integrate it with your listing. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of Snippets.

Types of Snippets

In order to simplify the process, Google has provided different types of snippets that webmasters can use to categorize their data. Several are particularly useful to small businesses. These include:

Author snippets: This highlights your name, displays your Google + image, the number of followers you have on the Google + network, and links to other articles of yours as connected to the Google Authorship program.

Business snippets: Business snippets provide detailed information about location, contact data, pricing details, hours of operation, and reviews if applicable.

Product snippets: Product snippets include descriptions, cost, images, and product ranges.

While these three types of snippets are the most relevant for most small business owners, it’s possible to take advantage of the other snippets types as well. These include people snippets, event snippets, album snippets, video snippets, recipe snippets, and review snippets.

Making the most of snippets

If you’re interested in learning more about the programming behind rich snippets and the markup that you need to use in order to implement them on your site, Google’s in-depth tutorial can get you started. To test the effectiveness of your snippets, use Google’s Structured Testing Tool. Finally, be aware that it can take up to 30 days for rich snippets to be properly crawled, indexed, and displayed in the search results. Once it does, you can expect to see an increase in your traffic and ultimately in your rankings.

Rich snippets can have a big impact on your search visibility, click through rates, and organic traffic. But getting started with rich snippets and the markup needed to make them happen can be a challenge for a novice. Contact us today to discuss how our experienced SEO team can evaluate your overall strategy and work with you to implement rich snippets and other search engine best practices into your online marketing plan.


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