What are Rich Snippets and why are they so important?
Snippets are the black line of text directly beneath the title of search results. Rich snippets, however, are additional lines of information underneath the search results, which often consist of product information, breadcrumb links, product prices and even reviews. Rich snippets form part of rich results, the “catchall term” search engines use to describe parts of search results.
There are other enhancements for the search result pages too, like Rich Cards for mobile, which offer a lot more actionable information. Rich cards were only until recently available for recipes and movie reviews but were expanded with restaurants and courses. You can read this article about rich cards to understand them more.
On top of all of this, there are also featured snippets, which are the boxes Google shows at the top of a page to answer a search query directly. Finally, we have knowledge graph cards, which are the big blocks of information to the right side of a search result page.
Rich Snippets are used by Search Engines to better understand what information is contained within a web page. Over the years, Search Engines have taken this structured data markup a step further and now use Rich Snippets to present more information to users in their search results. This allows users to more easily find the information they’re looking for and whether your website has what they’re looking for, without having to actually click a link and go to your website. This increases both user interaction speeds when looking for information, and helps website owners increase their rankings.
Rich Snippets provide the following benefits:
- Search Engines are able to return more relevant results from both your website and to a user looking for something
- Users are able to decide if the returned results are relevant to their search more easily based on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page)
- Site operators can benefit from more click through to their site and reduce bounce rates based on misleading information being presented in a search result.
Rich Snippets are just another form of Structured Markup that search engines use to present your website data to its users who are searching for things. Structured Data Markup is added directly to the HTML of a website page to give “extra” data to the search engine about the contents of that specific page. You could have 2 identical website pages both containing the exact same information word for word, and the website using Rich Snippets and other Structured Data Markup would look completely different in search engine results than the web page that didn’t include Rich Snippets or Structured Data Markup. The web page that used Structured Data Markup could include things like:
- Opening times
- Review Rating
- Manager Titles specific to that section of the business
- Pricing etc
So if someone searched for that business, all the above attributes would also be shown to the user to give them more information immediately, without them having to actually click the link to your website to see that information. Structured Data Markup is very useful and can a website a very real edge to competitors. Even if your page has things like telephone numbers, contact people etc, doesn’t mean web crawlers are able to interpret that information directly and display it in search results, so when a web page is structured correctly in a way search engines can interpret in their language, then they can present that information to users who are searching on their engine. In a nutshell, Structured Data Markup allows search engines to determine the basics of a website, Name, Telephone Number and Location.
You can read more about Structure Data Markup from Google here
MOZ also have a simple breakdown of Structured Markup Data here
How do I get rich snippets on my website?
In order to add rich snippets to your website, you need to add structured data to your website. Structured date is apart of a vocabulary called Schema.org, and can be added to your web page in multiple ways:
Using a plugin like Yoast within your WordPress website will give you all the options you need to add JSON-LD structured data to your website to allow search engines to interpret your web page and provide a Rich Snippet result.
If you’re manually adding Rich Snippets to your site, you can use the following resources to get started.
- Use the Google Structured Data Tool and see if your page markup is valid
- Insert a Product URL of a product with reviews into the Structured Data Testing Tool from Google
- On the left side, you will see the code of your page. On the right side, you will see the structured data that Google is able to understand when crawling your page.
- In some cases you will be offered a “preview” button, but this isn’t always available for certain data-sets
- Use Googles Structured Data Markup Helper to get the code structure needed for your web pages
Does adding rich snippets to my website have SEO benefits?
Adding structured data overall doesn’t directly give you better rankings within search engine website listings, although it does make your website more visible in the final search results pages. Search will understand your pages better, and therefore give you a much “prettier” search result in their results pages, which in turn could catch more peoples attention, and as a result increase click-through.
We strongly suggest reading the comprehensive guide from Yoast about Rich Snippets, their benefits and overall understand of adding them to a website.