Business owners nowadays have to focus their entire attention on on-page and off-page search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to rank higher in search engine results. Every single element somehow related to their website should be properly optimized: from body copy to title tags, Meta descriptions, and rich snippets. What are rich snippets in the first place, and how could they actually reward your optimization efforts?
Listening to What Google Has to Say about Rich Snippets
Rich snippets are those text lines that are displayed under every single search result. They are very important because they give users some insight into your web content and allow them to go in favor of search pages that are relevant to their particular search query. In this context, it becomes obvious that clear, concise, pertinent rich snippets can work to your advantage, by bringing your business into the spotlight and enabling you to attract more prospects.
If Google manages to grasp the content of your website it is able to create useful rich snippets ensuring a superior web experience for all users who surf the web looking for accurate, detailed answers to their daily questions. For instance, a rich snippet developed for a certain restaurant can list its specific price range and its average review.
Moreover, a different rich snippet, created for a food recipe webpage, can include a quality photo, a review, the estimated preparation time, and even the exact number of calories! Furthermore, a rich snippet for the website of a musician can display songs from his most recent album, with links to every single track included on the album.
Why are Rich Snippets so Important?
In a world governed by white hat SEO practices, it’s the little things that count. Undoubtedly, rich snippets make no exception. These elements serve two important purposes:
1) They guide users towards truly helpful, informative pages that are relevant to their specific query
2) They can boost your number of online visitors and contribute to the growth of your Internet-based business
The Key to Obtaining Flawless Rich Snippets
Want to make the most of extremely useful rich snippets that guarantee a superior navigation experience for all users and promise you an enhanced online visibility and tempting financial gains? If so, follow these 3 basic steps indicated by Google in its list of guidelines, to profit from good rich snippets.
First Step: Select Your Preferred Markup Format
There are three different markup formats that you can choose from:
All of them are accepted; however, microdata is the option recommended by Google. Although these concepts may seem overly technical too you, Google assures all users that they don’t need to be familiar with these markup formats to be able to use them in the most appropriate manner.
Second Step: Continue by Marking Up Your Unique Web Content
Google gives the green light to rich snippets for seven distinctive categories of content:
Choose the elements that you need and want to markup and get started!
You don’t need to learn everything there is to know about a new coding language. The microdata method makes things a whole lot easier for you. Also, Google shows you exactly which steps to follow, in every situation.
Let’s assume that you want to create a rich snippet for a person. In this case, you should know that every single person has a unique series of attributes. These attributes (for instance, job title, name, role, affiliation, or nickname) can be labeled using a markup format (microdata, RDFa or microformats).
My name is Sara Golden, and I was born and raised in California. I am the marketing specialist at MarketingPlus in New York. Learn more here:
With microdata markup
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://data-vocabulary.org/Person”> My name is <span itemprop=”name”>Sara Golden</span>, and I was born and raised in California. I am the <span itemprop=”title”>Marketing Specialist</span> at <span itemprop=”affiliation”>MarketingPlus</span> in New York. Learn more here:
<a href=http://marketingplus.com” itemprop=”url”> www.marketingplus.com </a>
The first example is a basic HTML block presenting info about a fictitious person of interest, while the second example with a HTML block with microdata.
Third Step: Put Your Markup to the Test
After completing the second phase, make sure you test your marked-up content. See if Google can read your marked-up elements, by simply utilizing the Structured Data Testing Tool. It’s easy and absolutely free. As long as you are HTML savvy, you shouldn’t encounter any difficulties throughout the entire process. However, do note that:
- It may take a while before you actually see your rich snippets in Place Pages or in search engine results.
- Google can’t guarantee that it will actually utilize your markup
- You may not manage to see your rich snippets on your pages. In this case, you may be dealing with
a) Technical problems related to your data markup or to Google’s current inability to index and use your markup data. Incorrect nesting, insufficient information, and misleading or incorrect data markups can be the main cause of your technical issues.
b) Quality problems: in this case, users are not dealing with technical problems; however even if their structured data is entirely correct, from a technical standpoint, it fails to comply with Google’s quality policies, for some reason or another.
It is relatively easy to come up with great rich snippets for your website, as long as you follow the concise set of instructions provided by Google every single step of the way. Rich snippets generate more website traffic and can easily improve your conversion rates.
Think about it this way: let’s say you want to find the best recipe for brownies on the Internet. Would you click on a page that provides no additional info or would you go in favor of a different one that offers you important details (like the number of calories, preparation time and so on) at a first glance? Undoubtedly, users who can get past the slightly difficult technical phase in which they have to implement rich snippets are rewarded for their efforts. Increased profit margins and an enhanced online presence: what more could you ask for?