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How and why to create rich snippets

A ‘snippet’ in SEO jargon is the few lines of descriptive text displayed by search engines in their results pages under the hyperlinks and URL. It describes what is on the page and highlights the keywords that match the search query. ‘Rich snippets’ change the presentation of this information, enhancing the display visually and usefully.

Example Rich Snippet for Varn

 

Google point out that rich snippets won’t affect your page’s ranking in search results but they will stand out and give searchers additional content to encourage interaction and therefore create additional traffic to your pages.

Take a look at the examples of snippets below for a Google search for ‘chocolate brownies’:

 Which of the above results draws your attention? It’s obvious that the two snippets with the lovely product photos and the yellow rating stars stand out – these are the rich snippets. You can see that not only are they more prominent but also more helpful to the searcher as they have additional useful information such as how long it will take to make the brownies, the calorie content and review ratings.

Google currently supports rich snippets for the following types of content:

  • Reviewsand review ratings
  • People
  • Products
  • Businesses and organizations
  • Recipes
  • Events
  • Videos
  • Music
  • Breadcrumb navigation

So if you wanted to improve the search results display for a restaurant you might use rich snippets to include reviews and a price range. For an author adding a photo and ‘also written’ list might help with click throughs.

Convinced? There are relatively low numbers of pages optimised with rich snippets out there at the moment, so you will get the maximum visibility and competitive edge if you act now.

Here are some links to instructions from Google on what to do – but one word of warning, you will need a basic knowledge of HTML. First, pick a markup format from microdata (recommended), microformats and RDFa. If you are having problems Google’s Helper tool can show you how to add microdata to your site. Once your content is marked up you can test it using Google’s structured data testing tool which checks Google can read and extract your marked up data.

If this all sounds a bit too technical for you then give Varn a call on 01225 863047 and we will be able recommend the best content and markups to use.