The following post has been developed in collaboration with Nikolaj Østergaard – an SEO Expert and friend of mine.
Rich snippets are shortcuts to attract more visitors and customers on your website or webshop. In a way, they help you cheat to become front of the line. You will also find yourself at the top of the organic search results. If you do this well, you can steal attention and traffic from competitor sites.
Rich snippets typically look more inviting than regular search results, and at the same time, they give the users a variety of valuable information. Therefore, rich snippets usually get many more clicks than regular search results do.
Here you can find a guide on how you can increase your chances of getting your content displayed.
What are rich snippets?
First and foremost, we should establish what rich snippets are.
Normally you see the title tag, meta description and URL when you search using Google’s search engine. We call this a ”normal snippet”.
A rich snippet is a search result that, in addition to metadata and URL, also contains other information. In the case of products, the additional information could be ratings from users or the price of the product. If you deal with food recipes, the extra information could be cooking/preparation time or total calories of the dish.
There are many different ways to structure your data for rich snippets, depending on which type of content you are dealing with. There can be rich snippets that are tailored for events, videos, music releases, products and food recipes, just as mentioned above.
Why are rich snippets worth focusing on?
You are more likely to get more visitors on your site if your content appears as rich snippets than if it appears as a regular search result. That is because Google users appreciate easy access to information which is exactly what users receive with rich snippets.
There are various forms of extra information provided by rich snippets, and it makes it easier for users to choose the correct search result. Also, the rich snippets make the information look more visually pleasing than regular search results do. They are more practical in the search results which is why they get more attention than regular search results.
In addition to improving your CTR by displaying your content as rich snippets, they can also result in a lower bounce rate. This is because by clicking on the rich snippet, the users know more about what they are clicking than would be the case with regular search results.
If a user can already see, for example, what your product costs from rich snippets, then the user will not be surprised when they go to the site and see the price. This greatly reduces the risk of the user bouncing on your site.
Let us take a look at a concrete example. I have searched for a recipe on leek pie. Some of the first results are shown as rich snippets, as you can see below:
In both instances, I am presented with a picture of the final dish. Also, regarding the top result, I can see how long the dish takes to prepare, whereas, in the lower result, I can see users’ ratings of the recipe and the total number of calories in the pie.
Both search results look good and present the information that makes it easy for me to choose the right recipe.
If I search for a recipe that takes under half an hour to prepare, I would not click the top recipe. If I only want to cook recipes that have 5/5 stars, I would not go with the lowest result.
So, I can choose the easiest recipe thanks to rich snippets. At the same time, ALT.dk and Arla have the opportunity to attract visitors to their sites which increase their bounce rates.
If we move on to some other search results that are further down the ranks, there are no longer pictures or additional information, as you can see below.
These results do not give me the same motives to choose a recipe, because I, for example, do not know how long I should stand in the kitchen cooking or what other users think about the recipe.
Rich snippets can attract a lot more visitors than regular search results can. You can prepare your CTR with the help of rich snippets and have the potential to reduce your bounce rate.
How do I get my content created for rich snippets?
First and foremost, it is important to note that even if you do your best with rich snippets of your content, there is no guarantee that it will happen. Google has made this clear.
Google always shows the search results that the search engine finds the most relevant for the user; in a way, the most appropriate match. What Google finds relevant for that single user depends on a series of different factors such as search history and device type.
Therefore, even if you have done everything to have your content presented this way, there is no way to make sure that it will be displayed as a rich snippet. In some cases, your content will appear as rich snippets, while in other cases it will appear as regular search results. It all depends on what Google thinks the user will get the most from.
If you have any hope of displaying your content as rich snippets, start by working with the structure of the data on your site. First, you should create a structuring code.
Most people use schema.org. Here you have a wide variety of different choices in structuring codes and in-depth guidelines that tell you how to create your code. You can see a few options within structuring codes below:
When you have found the right code and developed your structuring code, it should be implemented on your website. This can be done a few different ways – for example with plugins.
When your structuring codes have been implemented, you should avoid inserting them directly into your site’s HTML, as this can easily go wrong. Therefore, it is an advantage to implement structuring codes in “code packages”, which you can prepare using JSON-LD, for example. These can be inserted into the site afterwards.
With your structuring codes implemented, you have the opportunity to display your content as rich snippets.
Check if your structured data is playing
As always, when you work with coding, many things can potentially go wrong with developing structured data for rich snippets. This is especially true if you choose to insert your structuring codes directly into your site’s HTML.
Google have luckily developed their own tool for testing structured data. Here you can check, either by using your URL or your structuring code, that everything is as it should be. If your structured data plays, there is a chance that your content will be displayed as rich snippets, which in turn will likely attract more visitors to your site.