What are Rich Snippets and how can they be used for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

With increased competition in the search engines, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has become an integral and ongoing part of any Companies or Organisation online marketing strategy. Achieving that first page listing is a great achievement but when you get there, it's time to start thinking about how to encourage searchers to click through to your site.

The traditional way to convey a message via your search listing is to use relevant title and meta description tags. However, the chances are your competition are doing that – making the Search Engine Results Page look like a crowded area of links and sales messages! Luckily, there's now a (fairly) easy way to add extra content to your listing so that you can stand out and provide additional information to searchers, which is called the Rich Snippet Mark Up language.

First things first, Rich snippets can work across all the Search engine due to the Schema.org initiative supported in combination by Google, Bing and Yahoo. (See our blog post covering the Schema.org launch in June 2011).

So put in the hard work once and benefit across all the search platforms.

Why Should You Use Them?

Google strive for more useful and informative search results, that make it easier  for users to decide whether that page is relevant to their search.

So as part of your search marketing strategy the aim of rich snippets is to enhance your current listing in the SERPs making it more “relevant” and “attractive” – the ultimate aim being to increase Click-Through Rates (CTRs) in the Search Engines Result Pages (SERPs).

By enhancing your listing in Google you will not only standout, you will also improve your listings credibility, relevancy  and trust through the inclusion of reviews, authorship and other rich snippet content.

What Are They Specifically and How Do They Work?

According to Google “With rich snippets, webmasters with sites containing structured content—such as review sites or business listings—can label their content to make it clear that each labelled piece of text represents a certain type of data: for example, a restaurant name, an address, or a rating.”

So in layman's terms, by marking up the important data on your websites content it can be extracted to your listing (snippet) in the SERPS result pages – therefore enhancing it into the  aforementioned “Rich Snippet”.

What Types of Content Are Currently Supported By Rich Snippets?

Google is the current trailblazer championing Rich Snippets and  supports the following information types: reviews, people profiles, products, business listings, recipes, videos and events.

So sites wanting to implement Rich Snippets will need content that includes the above information types in order to consider implementing Rich Snippets.

Will This Improve My Rankings in Search Engines?

According to Google, marking up your data for rich snippets won't necessarily improve your ranking positions. What it will do though is draw more attention to your listing and encourage click-throughs. Another thing to bear in mind is: if all your competitors are using Rich Snippets and you are not, they could be attracting a lot of your visitors!

As such, Rich Snippets should become part of your SEO marketing strategy and fall under your on page optimisation.

So How Do I Get Rich Snippets  for My Site?

Implementation relies on a basic understanding of HTMLand can be added as you add/ create content.

Google themselves provide a raft of resources and information for how to implement Rich snippets for each specific information type.

However if you feel that you would rather generate the code required for Rich Snippets you can use http://schema-creator.org/. Simply navigate to the Rich snippet you require code for from the navigation menu and enter the required information. Once all the information required is entered simply copy and place this code within the relevant content source code.

In order to ensure you are marking up your pages in a way that Google understands. You can use the  Rich Snippets Testing Tool provided by Google to see if Google’s robots can extract the data that you have marked up.

Once you have established that the marked up content on the various pages across your site can be extracted successfully by Google, you can either leave Google to discover it the next time they crawl your site or you can tell Google about your content through signing up to the “Interested in Rich Snippets” form. Google won’t be able to individually reply to your message, but they “may use” the information you supply to improve their detection and display of information in search results.

If you're looking for an SEO and web development team that can help you stand out in the SERPs and attract more targeted traffic to your site, visit our SEO page or Web development page and get in touch with us.



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