Rich snippet codes are structured data markup that are added to the existing HTML by the site operators, to enable search engines to understand better as to what each of your web page is all about. Rich snippets provide an effective means to boost one’s exposure on the SERP.
On a general sense, when someone types down a particular query in the search engine bar, Google provides a set of ten results per page. You would notice that each result is displayed with a Title, a URL and a meta description. If you haven’t noticed that, then look at the image below –
But with the implementation of rich snippets, search engine crawlers would be able to display a bit more information than what is already displayed in the above result page (screen shot) . Look at this example below to understand better –
This Is How Rich Snippets Look Like!
They are a few lines of information that is usually displayed, just below the title of the search result or near the surrounding meta-description. It can be a picture, a video, review rating, price , etc.
Rich snippets make a search result visually appealing to the eyes of a searcher. It is a general tendency among humans, to be attracted more by a visual information than we are by a text based information. A rich snippet is expected to draw an increased traffic attention close to 150%. Hence, they can easily make your site’s information stand out among the rest.
Snippets have been a powerful SEO tool for years now. However, not many seem to have recognized or acknowledged the CTR boost they can generate to improve a site’s rank.
Why Should Rich Snippets Be Used Specially By E-commerce Websites?
- To Make Web Page Information Easily Recognizable
The HTML codes make it easier for the search engine crawlers to identity and comprehend what each of the information, provided on the web page is all about, before they are displayed on the search engine results page. This helps the engine bots to return a particular query with more relevant and quality information for the browser.
- Help Users To Determine The Relevance Of A Specific Result
The additional information that is provided by the rich snippet, enables people to determine the degree of importance a particular result will hold. Suppose, you have got a friend’s birthday party to attend and you are searching online for a site that provides the best deals in gifts. You type in your query and click the search button. Your search result will appear somewhat like this –
While the above two results does not display any rich snippets, the bottom three are bound to grab your eyes first because of the additional information that each of them provide. Of the bottom three – the first one tells you the number of items available in their stock, while the second and the third results provide you with percentage review rates from others. Choosing a birthday gift sometimes becomes quite confusing. So, looking at the first one, you are assured that there are 371 items for you to look through and make a choice. On the other hand, you want to be assured that what you purchase comes with a guaranteed quality. For this, the last two search results have cleverly made use of the review rates posted by other customers, which assures to provide you quality for any item you purchase.
- Increased Click-Through And Reduced Bounce Rates
Rich snippets promise users with additional information to enable them to understand what information a particular page is likely to provide before they click on it. This saves the visitors from wasting any time in visiting pages that fail to provide them with any relevant information. In other words, it reduces the number of bounce rates for an e-commerce site because customers are unlikely to visit a site if the rich snippet does not cater correctly to their individual query.
Some Rich Snippet Examples To Show How Certain E-commerce Sites Use The Structured Data
#1 – Products
The Product snippet is that one place where the structured data markup language is most importantly implemented. The key properties that one can avail from a product snippet are – name, brand, image, product description, reviews, identifiers like SKU, ISBN and others, which are included with extended information like price, quantity, currency, etc. Google can provide markup data for pages that come either with a single product information or multiple product details. It is important that you embed product markup on pages, from where customers would be able to make a purchase.
E-commerce sites can also add options like ‘High Price’ and ‘Low Price’ for a particular product that is being offered by multiple number of brands.
#2 – Recipe
The recipe snippet uses an image of the food, the total time taken to make it and what others have to say in their reviews. Some recipe snippets display nutritional value and other health related information.
#3 – Breadcrumbs
These snippets display a trail of links to help users understand the hierarchy of a website and navigate accordingly.
#4- Google Authorship
This snippet adds a personal touch to your result page thus helping to build a sense of trust among readers, so that they can be assured regarding the organic quality of the content.
Getting Started With A Rich Snippet Installation?
A structured data needs to be embedded in a web page with the help of a markup language. A markup language is basically a set of symbols that provide instructions to the search engines. The language is supported by a set of rules that specify how the symbols should be used.
The three types of mark-up language that the search engine can recognize are as follows:
- Microdata – Google defines the HTML5 microdata as “a way to label content to describe a specific type of information—for example, reviews, person information, or events. Each information type describes a specific type of item, such as a person, and event, or a review. For example, an event has the properties venue, starting time, name, and category. Microdata uses simple attributes in HTML tags (often <span> or <div>) to assign brief and descriptive names to items and properties”.
- Microformats – According to Google, Microformats “are simple conventions (known as entities) used on web pages to describe a specific type of information —for example, a review, an event, a product, a business, or a person. Each entity has its own properties. For example, a person has the properties name, address, job title, company, and email address. In general, microformats use the class attribute in HTML tags (often <span> or <div>) to assign brief and descriptive names to entities and their properties”.
- RDFa – Google defines RDFa, as “a way to label content to describe a specific type of information, such as a restaurant review, an event, a person, or a product listing. These information types are called entities or items. Each entity has a number of properties. For example, a Person has the properties name, address, job title, company, and email address. In general, RDFa uses simple attributes in XHTML tags (often <span> or <div>) to assign brief and descriptive names to entities and properties”.
Of the three markup languages, it is the Microdata that is most preferred (recommended by Google), because of its wide range of annotation support, specially the Microdata vocabulary named as the Schema.org. A large number of modern day browsers come supported with Microdata.
What Is Schema.org And Why Is Microdata Necessary For Using The Schema?
Using structured data will work well with Google’s search engine. However, it does not guarantee flexibility with other search engines like Yahoo, Bing, etc. That is the reason why the Schema.org is used, which is a common vocabulary set of Microdata.
The Schema cannot be considered a language as a whole. It has to depend on the Microdata markup language.
In other words, Google describes Microdata as –
“A balance between the extensibility of RDFa and the simplicity of micro formats, so this is the format that we’ve gone with.” – Source
However, if you have embedded rich snippet codes in your web page, using either the Microformat or the RDFa markup language, Google can support them if you have not mixed them with multiple formats.
Steps To Integrate A Rich Snippet For Quality Search Result Display
Implementing a rich snippet in one’s SEO strategy is difficult, compared to the traditional on-page search engine optimization techniques. However, investing some time on learning how to implement this rich feature would be well worth a go, given that it can improve your site’s click-through rate even if you are ranking 6th on the SERP.
Step 1: Take some time to get a clear concept about the Microdata, before you begin to markup the code. It is used to label a particular content, to describe what the information is all about. The code is written in HTML5. However, Microdata uses simple HTML tags like <span> or <div> for describing any information.
Step 2: Review your web page to understand where to implement a rich snippet code.
Step 3: After you have understood what each of your page is all about, choose a schema code that is relevant to the information provided on your web page. It would not make much sense to add recipe Schema attributes to a page that provides a list of popular music track records. You can refer to Schema.org or find a web developer who can help you out with choosing a relevant Schema attribute.
Step 4: Implement your rich snippet code. You can refer to Google’s Webmaster tools for references on how to set up a rich snippet. Google has a separate web page to provide web masters assistance in rich snippet and other code installation.
Step 5: Once you are done marking up the rich snippet code with Microdata and Schema vocabulary language, it is now time to test your page to ensure Google is able to read your markup language for instruction. If the coding is wrong, then Google’s search engine would not be able to interpret the instructions provided by the rich snippet, thus preventing it from appearing on the SERP. You can avail Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to check if your snippet is working or not.
What If You Don’t See Your Rich Snippet On The SERP, Even After Running A Successful Test Check?
Google normally requires a few weeks to crawl and index a new data. Have patience and concentrate on your other features instead during the mean time, and let Google do its work.
Sarah Clark, working in B3NET Inc.
& Search Optimal as Content Developer. B3NET is leading web design & web development company from Orange County, California, Search Optimal is the Internet Marketing division of it. Sarah is working in web, mobile & Internet marketing domain with her 8 years of experience.
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