When it comes to internet marketing, it’s one thing to rank well for your core keyword terms. It’s quite another to actually convert search listings into click-through’s. A compelling meta description on the search engine results page (SERP) goes a long way, but you’ll boost your click-through factor even more with the all-important rich snippets.
Want to make rich snippets work for you? This is a good place to start. (Part 3 in the blog series inspired by our new free eBook, 11 Internet Marketing Trends 2014.)
What are rich snippets?
To help improve search engine user experience, “rich snippets” display useful information underneath website listings, right there on the SERP. In this manner, users get a better feel for your site (i.e., whether clicking through will likely give them the answer they’re looking for).
What are the types of rich snippets?
Rich snippets appropriate to each web page varies, but may include photos, video, reviews, store hours, event schedules, product descriptions, and more. Google Authorship is also a type of rich snippet, displaying the page author's photo, name, and number of people in their Google+ Circles.
How do rich snippets help drive traffic to my site?
Rich snippets are our favorite type of search engine results to see, read, and click! Why? Visually, they attract attention on the page. So even if you’re not ranking number one, your listing stands out.
Plus, rich snippets help build credibility for your site, as they immediately communicate to users the kind of information they are guaranteed to find on your page. This is a huge advantage, as users hate wasting time and effort on a a click-through. The more promising your listing looks, the more likely they are to follow through.
Google Authorship in particular can dramatically increase click-through’s, as people respond to people, not websites. There’s just something hard to resist about the photo of a friendly face promising a click-through to their page will be an enjoyable one.
Do rich snippets improve Page Rank?
No. Though rich snippets can help you stand out on the SERP, their use does not contribute to Page Rank.
How do I add rich snippets?
There are two ways to add rich snippets — via HTML markup or the Data Highlighter.
1) HTML markup gives you the most control over your rich snippets. It’s also a good choice if your website’s structure changes frequently. Plus, HMTL markup makes your rich snippets universally usable (i.e., not just on Google). Microdata is recommended, but other options include microformats and RDFa.
2) Data Highlighter seems a simpler approach if you’re not interested in changing (or able to change) the HTML markup on your site. It’s simply a matter of tagging, or highlighting, the data fields on your site that you would like Google to display as rich snippets. Data Highlighter will not, however, translate into rich snippets on any other search engines besides Google.
How do I test my rich snippets?
To make sure your data is being read and displayed correctly, test your rich snippets via Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
Why are my rich snippets not appearing in search results?
If you aren’t seeing your rich snippets displaying in search results, it’s likely one of three reasons:
1) Recent update. Rich snippets may not appear immediately. Give it time.
2) Technical issues. Is your markup incorrect or misleading? Double-check the information you’ve provided and review the guidelines for nesting items. Are you sure Google can see the page? Test it using the Fetch as Google service in Webmaster Tools.
3) Quality issues. Does your markup follow Google’s markup guidelines? Is your marked-up content hidden from users? Is your marked-up content representative of the actual content on the page? These are all important questions to ask yourself, as Google has actually started penalizing sites for abusing rich snippets â€” things like adding Google Authorship to a home page, or adding reviews to a page that doesn't actually have any.