Ever wonder if there is anything missing to your website in the SERPs? Is your website truly pushing for maximum SEO potential in the organic results? For quite some time now, Google particularly has been displaying more granular information in the SERPs pertaining to user reviews, prices, product information, and events. It’s a way to connect with users by providing more specific information in lieu to their search. From a brand perspective though, structured data markup still remains a source for untapped potential. Before we dive into the logistics of rich snippets, let’s ensure a thorough understanding of structured data markup.
Understanding the Schema.org Endeavor
In June of 2011, the world’s largest search engines including Google, Bing, and Yahoo joined forces on a collective initiative. The intent was to create a common set of schemas for structured data markup usage on web pages. Later in that year (November 2011), Yandex who is Russia’s largest search engine joined the movement. Through the use of ontology, microdata, and HTML 5 this would assist with sophisticated page interpretation by allowing search engine robots and other parsers to gain a better understanding behind the contextual value. The end result of this endeavor was the birth of Schema.org. The structured data markup section available in the Google Developers area is extremely helpful in wrapping your head around its potential.
The rich snippet listed below is a prime example from the familiar Allrecipes.com website. Certainly each and one of us have encountered a familiar rich snippet at one point or another. Especially when in search for the next dinner recipe to satisfy the dinner urge.
Another one consists of the St. Louis Cardinals game information. Similar to upcoming games in the 2015 MLB season.
From an SEO perspective, rich snippets enhance the data in the SERPs by providing additional relevant information to the end suer. After all, Google’s primarily goal is to provide a succinct user experience which ultimately entails in the ability to find the most relevant information around a specific search query. An additional benefit to using rich snippets consists of an improved CTR (Click-Through Rate) by allowing the user to interact with additional information that pertains to their individual query. This could be centered around specific categories, individuals products, services, events, and more.
The drawback of rich snippets though is the intermittent visibility. Rich snippets are typically displayed at the discretion of a search engine contingent upon the individual user search query. If Google, Bing, or Yahoo determine relevance of a rich snippet in conjunction with a search query then that particular snippet will be displayed to the end user. Isn’t that amazing? The ability for a search engine to determine the relevance of a user’s search query in a fraction of a second and able to provide a corresponding rich snippet.
Is There Value in Rich Snippets?
Yes, absolutely! Rich snippets have been around for a quite some time. However, they have become far more utilized publicly by brands during the last four years. There is even some controversy around rich snippets that hint usage of such tactic by reputable brands under a provisioned VIP-access only environment. Well, that is either a truth or a made-believe myth. Rich snippets are not factored into SEO as a ranking factor. Yet, anyway! However, usage of structured data markup can significantly enhance the contextual value of information within the SERPs. Ultimately allowing for a better user experience and improved CTR (Click-Through Rate) potential.
Ok, let’s dive in a little deeper and talk about the specific type of rich snippets.
The Five Different Types of Rich Snippets
In order to enhance SEO potential in the SERPs, you should consider proactive usage of the available rich snippets. It assists Google algorithms with better interpretation of the actual content and ultimately the ability to deliver information to the end user in a succinct fashion.
There are five different types of rich snippets as it stands a web page can fully leverage:
- Product – anything that pertains to a product’s price, availability, and user ratings.
- Recipes – information that pertains to individual recipes displayed in a designated recipe view.
- Reviews – an item that pertains to a review such as a restaurant, movie, or a store (location).
- Event – anything that pertains to a live or future occurrence such as game, gathering, or anything that involves participation within a specific time or place.
- Software Application – information that pertains to your application product including reviews, link to application, and pricing information.
So, there’s a variety of different ways to spice up the contextual value of a web page. Regardless of the industry your brand operates in. It can significantly improve CTR (Click-Through Rate) potential and attribute to additional SEO traffic opportunities that can help spark new revenue. Particularly applicable in e-commerce websites seeking to enhance their individual category or product information.
How To Implement Structured Data for Rich Snippets
First, you will need to determine which of the five types of rich snippets are adequate for your web pages. Considerably matching the content on each individual web page to the best of your knowledge.
Second, I strongly suggest using Google’s structured data markup tool helper to determine the most suitable rich snippet for individual pages. If uncertain how to proceed in the first step above then rest assured Google will come to the rescue in this step. Prior to using the markup tool helper though you will need a Gmail account. I would strongly urge you to use the one appended to the profile in Google Webmaster Tools that is also associated with your website. It’s much easier to do this from an administration standpoint and also to keep things nice and tight.
Third, and last make the required changes for better interpretation of context on individual web pages. You can do this through the helper tool which will provide a guided approach to accomplishing such task.
Here is a sample of what the end result should look like for the individual different types of rich snippets
Product Rich Snippet Preview Using Microdata
Recipe Rich Snippet Preview Using Microdata
Review Rich Snippet Preview Using Microdata
Event Rich Snippet Preview Using Microdata
Software Application Rich Snippet Preview Using Microdata
Let’s recap for a minute here. Implementation of structured data markup into individual pages of your website attributes to development of rich snippets. Rich snippets expose additional information regarding a product, recipe, review, event, or a software application from a web page and allow for improved user engagement. Rich snippets are displayed in the SERPs based on search query relevance at the discretion of a search engine robot. The Google structured data markup tool helper can assist with easier identification of the correct rich snippet in accordance to the content of specific web pages on your website.
Questions about rich snippets usage? Interested in finding out how to enhance the SEO value of individual pages on your website? Want to learn more about improvement of CTR? Get in touch with me today and take advantage of a complimentary FREE 1-hour consultation to discuss your needs.