Rich snippets are a spinoff of normal Google results that display additional information along with the title, URL and meta-description. The extra data provides users with more data about the company/business than other search results, therefore increasing the clickthrough rate (CTR).
The additional bit of info is taken from Structured Data, which is found in the HTM code of webpage.
Some of the most common rich snippet types include events, reviews and recipes. A normal search engine result looks like this:
A rich snippet looks like this:
As you can see, Starbucks reviews are rich snippets. They give user reviews about how good/bad their service is that enables users to decide instantly whether they want to visit the website or not.
Importance of Rich Snippets
Rich snippets are more eye-catching to the users. If your rich snippet has good content that answers a query in the user’s mind or gives them vital piece of information, it can be the deciding factor behind them clicking on your website.
According to Google, using Structured Data does not improve the search engine ranking of your website, and it cannot be used as a ranking signal. But there’s no denying the fact that adding rich snippets to your webpage can help you in attracting new visitors and possibly convert them into customers.
How to Get Rich Snippets
Rich snippets are created based on Structured Data. The data is first formatted and thenorganized efficiently so that Google can easily understand it and use it for SERPs. This Structured Data is called schema.org vocabulary in technical terms. Schema.org vocabulary then marks up the content on your website.
Here is an example:
Instead of data stored like this: It will take 2 hours to reach your destination. The weather will most probably be cloudy..
Data is presented in this format:
Time duration: 2 hours
This helps Google in reading the data proficiently. Google then decides to use the markup to enrich your search engine results.
Choose the Right Rich Snippet Type
The first step is to identify the type of rich snippet you want to have. Here is a list of the most common types of rich snippets:
Recipe: An exclusive type of Structured Data for recipes. It displays prep time, review and image.
Reviews: A star rating out of 5 is displayed with the total number of reviews.
Organization: Gives google information about an organization, which includes address, logo, and contact info.
Events: Gives information about events, which includes location, times, dates, etc.
Product Markup: Gives information to search engine including price, image of product, and ‘in-stock’ or not.
Music: Gives info about music like album release date, singer, genre, etc.
News, media: Websites that are approved by Google news appear in the ‘Top Stories’ box.
How to Add Rich Snippets
Every piece of content that has Structured Data mark-up added to it has a rich snippet in the search results. But it does not mean you should add it to every single page of the website. Do not mark up the pages that are hidden, rather only add it to pages that are visible and important.
Structured data markup has the following primary elements:
- itemtype: this shows the type of item
- itemscope: this specifies that HTML in the <div> block is with regards to a certain item
- Itemprop: it shows the property of item, whether it is a review, a name or a URL
Here is an example of markup HTML for a book listing:
You can also find a lot of information about Structured Data from Google. They have full-fledged
documentation on the topic that is free for public use.
Test Structured Data
Once you have setup Structured Data, it is important to test whether you did it correctly or not. The good thing is Google launched its own tool that helps users in testing whether their Structured Data is setup properly or not. This tool is called The Structured Data Testing Tool and is available online.
- You can either add the URL of the page you want to check or add the HTM code.
- Once added, click on the ‘Run Test’ button.
- The test will show you if Google finds any Structured Data on that page or not.
- If it has any errors or warnings, they will be displayed too.
Using structured data on your website or particular webpages does not guarantee that rich snippets will start to be displayed for your content. Google clearly talks about it in their official documentation that there is no promise that your structured data will be translated into rich snippets. Every markup is first analyzed and then assessed by Google against many parameters. Only if Google thinks it is eligible for rich snippets, they will start to show.
What Happens After You Have Added Rich Snippets
Now that you have added rich snippets, here are some of the things you can expect:
- Any new markups are analyzed by Google in 10 to 14 days after they have been added to the website.
- If Google makes your markup eligible for a rich snippet, rich snippets will be displayed for some of your pages.
- After roughly 5 days, the rich snippets will vanish but that does not mean you should make any changes. After a few days, the snippets will reappear.
- This cycle continues for approximately8 weeks. After that, you get rich snippets permanently for your pages.
- These permanent rich snippets will be assessed and analyzed again after a certain period of time and re-shuffled.
It needs to be noted here that adding content to Structured Data markup is not an easy task, rather it requires both technical skills and expertise. If you are not tech-savvy or do not have time to work on it yourself, we recommend that you get some help and let the experts do it.