Rich Snippets and Digital Marketing on Google

You’ve heard the term rich snippets bandied about quite a bit, and you may have even used it in a sentence a time or two. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re making the most of rich snippets – or if you even know what they are – you’ve come to the right place. Rich snippets have valuable information to offer, and understanding the ins and outs can help your digital marketing efforts.

Rich Snippets

Google rolled out rich snippets in 2009, and it went like this: Rich Snippets give users convenient summary information about their search results at a glance… When searching for a product or service, users can easily see reviews and ratings… It’s a simple change to the display of search results, yet our experiments have shown that users find the new data valuable — if they see useful and relevant information from the page, they are more likely to click through.

In other words, Google began highlighting useful bits of information (including visual enhancements) that – by design – help push conversions, making these snippets valuable to anyone who does business online.

Rich Snippets vs. Rich Results

Somewhere along the way, Google – being Google – changed rich snippets to rich results, and the terms have become interchangeable. While they mean the same thing, Google prefers rich results. Once in a while, however, the goliath fails to get its way, and most mere mortals continue to use rich snippet when they refer to this SERP feature (anything that is not standard to the search listing).

The Goods

Rich snippets can contain a wide range of information that helps move potential customers and clients through the purchase funnel. Because rich snippets increase the chances that a browser will ultimately pull the trigger and become a consumer of your goods or services, they deserve your careful consideration. Rich snippets can include all the following:

  • Ratings
  • FAQs
  • Display visuals
  • Interactive data

Each of these is an extra that users tend to gravitate toward and rely upon when making primary purchase decisions.

Can Rich Snippets Bolster SEO?

Although Google makes it clear that it does not use rich snippets as a ranking factor, users – who have the final say in terms of your marketing efforts, are drawn to these goldmines of information. Rich snippets can serve as a springboard into your broader content, and when your content is in good shape, you’re in good shape. In other words, rich snippets aren’t going to do you any favors if your content is subpar, but if yours is where it should be, these snippets can serve as a gateway to increased traffic. Consider the following:

  • Rich snippets share more of your website, which helps users determine if your site offers what they’re looking for.
  • Rich snippets allow your results to stand out from all the run-of-the-mill results on the page.
  • Rich snippets, as mentioned, can enhance your site’s click-through rate.

Let’s Make This Personal

Let’s say the task of barbequing for a family get-together falls to you this summer, and you want to wow your guests. You head over to Google and enter grilling ribs, and of the many, many results produced – a few will stand out with information, such as the following:

  • Ratings (based on a 5-star system)
  • The number of reviews
  • Cooking time
  • Inviting photos of rich, sizzling ribs that are difficult to resist

All of the above is important information to consider. For example, if you don’t have over two hours to get the job done, you can eliminate some of the recipes right off the bat. Further, even if you have a favorite spot to find recipes, the ratings may sway you if you see heaps of 5-star reviews piling up for a specific rib recipe. The results of this example can be extrapolated across the board – regardless of the kind of business you run.

The Rich Snippet Lineup

Rich snippets come in all shapes and sizes, but they tend to be grouped into basic categories.

The Review

Review snippets refer to the additional information we’ve considered so far, and they provide users with a snapshot of how the content is performing in terms of its star rating and the number of overall reviews it’s received – along with other relevant information, such as cook time for recipes. A 5-star rating with only 2 reviews is obviously far less compelling than a 4.8-star rating with a million reviews, and these snippets get the ball rolling.

Product Markup

Product markup snippets highlight the availability, rating, and price of the product in question. When users are on the hunt for what it is that you sell, rich snippets can make a difference.

Event Snippets

Event snippets push critical details like the event’s date, time, and location, and users find them extremely beneficial.

Getting on the Rich Snippets Band Wagon

To get rich snippets to show up on your SERP, you’ll need to add structured data to your page’s source code. Structured data refers to a standardized data format that communicates specific content information to Google and the other search engines out there. At its core, this structured data breaks down into the following:

  • Schema – Schema is the vocab you use to explain the entity elements involved.
  • Format – Format is the markup code used to communicate your schema to the search engine.

The schema and the format used determines the rich snippets produced. Don’t worry if it’s starting to feel like a lot – your savvy digital marketing professional can help.

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