The term "Rich Snippets" comes up very often in the SEO world. These are classic Google search results but enriched with additional data. These come from the structured data in the page’s HTML code. The most common types of rich snippets are reviews, recipes and events. Google displays the title in blue, the URL in green, and a page’s description or a small image. This is what we call the “snippet”.
Why did Google develop these rich snippets?
Well, nothing new here: Google is trying to provide the most optimal user experience for finding information.
That’s why these types of results appear in the SERPs, because they may be more relevant depending on the category of queries searched by Internet users.
What are the impacts of rich snippets on SEO?
Visibility: these enriched descriptions can include visual elements, as well as customer reviews that attract more attention than simple blue links. They also take up more space in search results.
A rich snippet contains a lot more information than a normal ad, for bots and internet users alike. This is why they are very important, they not only promote the position, but also CTR (click-through rate). If the rich snippet pages’ click-through rate increases, you will automatically get more traffic from that search result. It's a bit of a snowball effect!
What are the most useful Rich Snippets?
There are tons of rich snippets out there, and of course their usage depends on your business. They are most often used on the following types of content:
Profiles of “Famous” People: you may have noticed that Google and Bing now display richer information on LinkedIn when you search for famous people. Similar results are possible for any website that includes profiles of staff, team members, and other people with influence in the organization. Rich snippets include name, title, role, professional affiliations, and contact details. This is important data for Google EAT (Expertise-Authority-Reliability).
In e-commerce, the use of rich snippets relating to products and special offers is very common. Available data includes name, image, brand, description, price, currency, vendor, and stock condition and status. Marketplaces can even list the lowest price and the highest price based on different merchants.
Companies and organizations
These very useful rich snippets display a company or organization’s properties: company name, address (physical and URL), phone number, geolocation (latitude and longitude) and logo.
Recipe websites are certainly the ones that benefit from the most interesting rich snippets. Indeed, the markup offers a multitude of data, with which owners can include absolutely everything: type of dish, opinion, preparation and cooking time... Some even indicate nutritional information such as portion size, calories, fat content, sugar, etc.
This type of structured data is reserved for future events and not past events. The rich snippet only informs about the event’s name, but does not give you a summary. Other data can be used to display start and end dates, duration, ticket details and location.
While Bing makes no mention of any support for music, Google has provided structured markup for data relating to songs and music albums. The latter may contain links to song samples or links to the platforms on which they can be purchased.
This rich snippet applies to video content embedded on a website, and can be used to indicate the duration, license, production company and/or video’s creator, and even if the content is family-friendly. It can help you get a highly visible thumbnail in the SERP.
How to implement Rich Snippets?
Rich snippets involve the use of standardized HTML code called Schema Markup.
Although it sounds complicated, you don't have to be a coding expert to add rich snippets to a website. You can learn all about the different types of markups and tools available at Schema.org. Schema is the standard for rich snippets that is accepted by all major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Here are some examples from Schema.org for a cooking recipe:
cookTime: dishes’ cooking time, to be formatted in ISO 8601. cookTime must always be used with prepTime (preparation time).
Nutrition.calories: to indicate the dishes’ calories.
recipeCategory: to indicate the dishes’ type (starter, main course, dessert, etc.).
recipeIngredient: to list the ingredients. This data is mandatory so that the recipe can be found from a Google Home.
Review: to collect the ratings and opinions from Internet users who have tested the recipe.
Depending on the website’s type you’ve got, and the CMS you are using (WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc.), you may have a schema already integrated. You can verify this by going to the Google Search Console. If it turns out that you don’t have Schema Markup yet; you should first check that the page falls into the categories eligible for rich snippets. If it doesn't, you don't have to worry about it. If it does, you need to prioritize the content that needs to be enriched. Then, you can install the Schema Markup directly into your HTML or through Google Tag Manager, or the Google Search Console.
Structured data: Implement the "Organization" markup
Do you still have to implement structured data on the website? Yes, at least the data on your company!
If you are not an e-commerce website or marketplace with dozens and hundreds of products, structured data’s implementation is less strictly necessary in the sense that you will not have stars, average rating or opinions on the products from an SEO point of view, as for example here a “Intex 8.5’ x 5.3’ x 2.13’ Rectangular Frame Above Ground Backyard Swimming Pool” on Amazon.
However, you can implement structured data in a basic way on "Organization", which Google appreciates because it likes you to be reliable and in general, it likes structured data (still easier for a robot to interpret this data rather than custom HTML code, right?).
address @type PostalAddress street Address 157 Boulevard .
And that's great!
Structured data: implement the Breadcrumb markup
schema.org Breadcrumb tag
The schema.org Breadcrumb tag is used to define a breadcrumb in a page, which indicates a page’s position within the website’s hierarchy.
How to set it up? (HTML code) :
Insert the HTML breadcrumb block on the page as part of the visual design. Here is an example:
Here is how it was implemented on a category page on Cdiscount:
Regarding the product page, it was implemented as follows:
Are you now an expert on this topic?
Use JSON for better visibility
Before implementing a markup, take stock of the traffic.
First, create a list of the pages you plan to tag and check the following KPIs: position, traffic, click-through rate, bounce rate, time spent on the page.
Then, implement the Schema.org markup. It’s taken into account by Google between 3 and 5 days. Beyond this period, if you don't see the rich snippets, go to the Google Search Console to redo manual checks.
A week after, you will have enough data to start comparing the current content’s performance, with rich snippets. To do so, check all the KPIs mentioned above. Google bots don't immediately serve all the rich snippets on a website, so it takes several weeks to actually measure the performance.
Rich snippets are one of the many strategies implemented by SEOs around the world. They are an effective tool whose only constraint is to make regular adjustments to stay up to date. Getting rich snippets can seem time consuming and busy, but it's not as difficult as it looks. There are plenty of tools available to help you tag correctly. The expected benefits in terms of CTR, and organic ranking in general, largely justify the time spent on their implementation.