If you participate in any sort of online marketing, you must have heard of rich snippets. These are the short descriptions and images that Google displays in their search results, which gives searchers a summary of your web page or post.
Rich snippets improve the visibility of your webpages in the search results, because search engines can better index your site and potentially increase your sales and conversions. Rich snippets are a type of structured data markup, specifically known as microdata, which you can add to the HTML on your website and which provides search engines with a much clear understanding of your webpage’s content.
Without using rich snippets, your search engines results will show the site title, Meta description and URL. With rich snippets, Google is able to display much more information about your content, such as star ratings, number of reviews, price and whether the item is in stock or not.
Rich snippets are not only great for E-commerce websites, but for book or movie review websites, personal websites, recipe websites, event promotions, restaurants, local businesses, music or video sites, and many more.
Using Schema to Generate Rich Snippets
Google added rich snippets to their search engine result pages in 2009 and because they were so popular, in 2011 Google teamed up with Bing and Yahoo! to support a range of “schemas” for use by webmasters, to help these search engines better index their sites.
The result was Schema, or Schema.org to be more precise. Essentially, webmasters can use the Schema vocabulary and embed this in your HTML using microdata formatting. There are hundreds of different Schema vocabularies for different content types. For example, movie information, job listings, recipes, company information, people, book listings, software applications, and so on.
Whilst in the search results pages it is great to see images for recipes or an author’s photo next to a post they have published, how can adding microdata to your website help to increase your sales and conversions?
Benefits of using Microdata:
You increase the visual impact of your SEO listings and draw searchers’ attention to your web pages.
Search engines have more of an understanding of the content of your web pages and can better present your web pages to interested searchers.
Your listings provide quality results to searchers with a good description of your web page giving them a better understanding of your website, and resulting in more informed buyers and a lower bounce rate on your web pages.
Because listings marked up with Schema are better presented by search engines, these sites may be presented above websites that don’t use microdata – essentially pushing competitors down.
Traffic is more targeted and qualified, because you can show searchers the value of your products, the price, number of reviews and ratings all in one quick snapshot.
Some studies have shown that sites using Schema are ranked higher than sites without microdata and whilst that was not the purpose of supporting Schema, Google may well in the future use the presence of structured data markup in their ranking algorithms.
Remember, Google wants to create the best experience for searchers and so wants to present the best and most relevant results on their pages. The better Google can understand your web pages, the more likely it is that Google will present them to interested searchers. Using rich snippets and Schema is a way for Google to achieve this goal.
Rich snippets not only have the potential to increase your rankings, but also by providing additional information to the searcher, they can help you to communicate your marketing message to your audience and thereby, giving you a leg up over the competition.