Rich snippets are a type of Google search result that shows more and different information than regular search results. Many of Google’s results pages now contain rich snippets, but few website owners know how they can make use of these rich snippets for their own websites.
The strongest benefit from rich snippets is that they can lead to more traffic from Google search without having to improve your rank. Because a rich snippet stands out amongst the rest of the search results, users will be more likely to click on it rather than a higher ranked normal result. So rich snippets are a great way to improve your website traffic from search without having to invest in classic SEO techniques.
There are various types of rich snippets. The most common ones you’re probably familiar with are the review snippets:
These star-ratings and review details straight in Google’s search results are a great way to improve your product’s or service’s visibility in Google.
Another common type of rich snippet is the ‘authorship’ snippet, where the writer of a piece of content is shown as part of the search result:
Authorship snippets can enable you to become a recognisable content creator on the web, especially if you have a strong profile photo that sets you apart.
There are plenty of other types of rich snippets in Google’s search results:
Job listing snippet:
The way to trigger these snippets is to use something called structured data. This is a type of code that is implement on your website and is invisible to users, but will be seen by search engines. This code tells search engines what the information on your website means, so that Google doesn’t have to do any guess work when it interprets your site’s information.
There are various different types of structured data. The one that is used most often is Schema.org, which is the type of structured data that we implement on all our client sites here at The Tomorrow Lab. Schema.org code, like all structured data, is implemented in your website’s source code.
This code will then be read by Google when it comes to crawl your page, and will in due time enable your website to have its own rich snippet search results in Google search. The one exception is the Authorship rich snippet, which requires you to connect your website content to your Google+ profile, as explained here.
When you’ve implemented schema.org code on your website, you can test to see if it’s done correctly. Google has a Rich Snippet Testing Tool which will evaluate your webpage to see if you’ve properly implemented the structured data to enable rich snippets.
Google also has a Markup Helper tool that you can use to generate structured data source code to put on your website.
When you’ve implemented schema.org structured data on your website and verified that all is correct, that doesn’t mean Google will start showing rich snippets for your website straight away. It can take weeks and even months before Google accepts your structured data and will enable rich snippets for your website. But when it eventually does, you are likely to see a direct improvement in your website’s traffic coming from Google search.
You can keep an eye on how Google is interpreting your website’s structured data by looking at the Structured Data report in Google Webmaster Tools:
Here you can see which types of structured data Google has recognised on your site, and if Google is finding errors with your structured data, so you can then fix them and ensure your website is fully enabled for all relevant rich snippets.
Rich snippets are a powerful advanced SEO technique to improve your website’s visibility in Google’s search results, so we recommend you implement them on your website immediately. If you have any questions about rich snippets for your website, don’t hesitate to give our SEO experts a shout.