13 March 2019
What’s SERP?! An essential guide to SERP Features: Part 3
In this instalment of What’s SERP, we will be looking at one of the best performing types of search result, Rich Snippets. We will also focus on a very familiar type of rich snippet, Ratings and Reviews. There is often a lot of confusion between Rich Snippets and Featured Snippets, and the differences between the two. Despite their similar names, these two types of SERP feature are very different in appearance, benefits and difficulty to acquire. This blog will compare the types of snippet, so you can confidently identify your Rich Snippets from your Featured Snippets.
What are Rich Snippets?
Similar to featured snippets (which we covered in our first blog of the series), Rich snippets are organic search results that show more information than a traditional URL listing. However, acquiring an enhanced search result in the form of a Rich Snippet is easier than gaining an elusive featured snippet. This is because Rich Snippets are created using Structured Data Markup. Adding this markup to the code on pages of your website tells search engines more information about your webpage and helps them to understand the content so that they can display it in the most appropriate format in the search results.
What do they look like?
There are many types of Rich Snippets, which look very different in appearance. The type of Rich Snippet shown depends on what structured data has been added to the site. Some common types of Rich Snippets are:
– Reviews and Ratings
– Price Ranges
– Recipe Ratings
– Time required for recipe
– Calories contained in a recipe
– Lyrics to a song
– Phone numbers
– Event Dates, Location or Time
– Author Names
– Publication Dates
Whilst this is just a short list of examples, it gives you an idea of the variation in appearance of Rich Snippets, depending on the type of content on the ranking webpage and the type of structured data added. The example below shows that the recipe has several types of rich snippet added to it’s organic result; an image, a star rating, the time the recipe takes, the number of calories, a list of ingredients and the publication date. All of this information has been marked up using structured data in the code of the webpage.
These Rich Snippets can appear in any location on the SERPs, unlike Featured Snippets which always show at the very top of the organic search results.
What are their benefits?
There are many reasons to add structured data markup to your site and getting Rich Snippets. These benefits can be split into three main categories:
– Rich Snippets increase your visibility in SERPs. They draw attention to your result as they are aesthetically pleasing, break up lines of generic text, and are a visual was for a website to display reviews, products, prices and other important information that might attract potential customers.
– Rich Snippets encourage clicks through to your site and attract more targeted users. As Rich Snippets instantly provide (on the results page) useful information related to a searcher’s query, users know what to expect from the webpage before clicking through to it. Therefore, searchers arriving at the site after clicking on a Rich Snippet are less likely to bounce and more likely to engage with your site and it’s content.
– Rich Snippets are a great way to stand out from your competition on the search results page. A study conducted in 2016 showed that only 17% of the websites analysed were using Schema Markup. Therefore, creating Rich Snippets can give you an advantage against competition who have not added Structured Data to their site.
How can I get Rich Snippets?
As mentioned above, Rich Snippets are created by marking up important information in your code with structured data, therefore making them easier to acquire than featured snippets and other SERP features.
Adding structured data to your code will help Google to understand the content on your site and how to best display it in the SERPs, rather than relying on Google’s interpretation.
There are several ways of marking up the important content on your site, including using plugins, schema or microdata. Google has a Structured Data Markup Helper Tool to help you to create your rich snippet code. Once you have generated and added structured data to your site, you can test and validate your rich snippet markup using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Finally, you can monitor the status of your rich snippets using the Rich Result Status reports in Google Analytics to ensure there are no errors in your code.
Ratings and Reviews
What is the Ratings and Reviews SERP feature?
The Ratings and Reviews SERP feature is one of the most recognisable and trusted rich snippets a site can gain. They can appear in the search results for any type of query, as long as the site has reviewable content and has added the required structured data to it’s code. Reviews and Ratings are commonly seen under listings for Products, Recipes, Music, Movies, Books and Local Businesses.
What do they look like?
Reviews and Ratings are displayed in several formats including yellow rating stars, a numerical rating (e.g. 7.3/10) and short excerpts of a review. The SERP feature is positioned between the URL and meta description of the organic ranking result. Google usually creates these ratings by forming an average, combining rating scores from many different reviews.
What are their benefits?
The main benefit of having Ratings and Reviews displaying as part of your site’s organic result is that it gives your company or product credibility. It proves to the searcher that others have used your business/product/recipe before and indicates their level of satisfaction. Therefore, it is unsurprising that search results with reviews have higher average click through rate compared to plain text results.
How can I get Reviews in the SERPs?
There are several ways to add reviews into structured data, depending on the type of review you want to add. However, adding review markup to your code does not guarantee that Google will display stars, ratings or a review excerpt to your listing. To give your site the best chance of getting a Reviews and Ratings rich snippet, you should follow Google’s guidelines and be aware that Google checks the credibility of reviews and where they have come from.
Trying to get Rich Snippets for your site can be daunting due to the need to add structured data to your code. We hope this blog has helped you to understand what types of rich snippets can be created and has given you some tips and tools to begin adding them to your own site’s ranking results. If you are interested in finding out more about adding structured data to your site, contact the experts at Varn.
See you next time for the fourth instalment of the What’s SERP?! series, where we will be looking at how to optimise your site for two more SERP features – Google Shopping and Google Ads.