For the longest time, SEO was all about getting the highest possible ranking on search engine results pages or SERPs because it is the best way to boost click-through rates or CTRs — which is only natural, considering how short the attention span of people online is.
Nobody really has the patience to browse through pages upon pages of results just to get to what they are looking for. In most cases, people limit their options to the first few items they see.
But all this changed with the advent of structured data and rich snippets.
What are rich snippets?
Before we answer this, let us first define what snippets are. Simply put, they are the short descriptions that accompany search results to give users an idea of what each link has to offer before they click on anything.
They help users decide whether or not each result is relevant to them. For instance, if you try searching for “Fender guitars” on Google, you’ll get results that look something like this:
The snippet is the content right under the link.
In comparison, rich snippets contain much more useful content than the example above. They generally include things like reviews, contact information, pricing and product availability. Let’s look at some examples:
First up: Food Network.
See the difference between this one and the “Fender guitar” example?
On the left, the result gives you an overview of what you can do on the Food Network website (known as the one-box in search engine optimization jargon), on the right, you can see the Organization markup (a type of rich snippet) which highlights the company, includes the logo and contains other pertinent information.
However, take the example from Thomann UK’s website:
It doesn’t just display a simple description, but Google lists the product’s specifications, cost, availability, and popularity based on user reviews.
The different kinds of rich snippets
Now that you know what rich snippets are, let’s look at all the various types at your disposal:
This rich snippet displays information such as the person’s biography, accomplishments, and profession as in the example below:
As the name implies, this one shows useful information about consumer goods, as shown in the photo below:
This one is extremely useful for online shoppers who typically search for online reviews before deciding to purchase products.
This type of rich snippet includes the name of item reviewed, image and number of stars.
This one primarily displays the particulars of upcoming events, as shown in the image below:
This rich snippet provides a quick overview of everything you need to know about a certain recipe like total prep time, calorie count and user rating.
Local Businesses and Organizations
People generally search for companies online to find their contact information or operating hours. This rich snippet displays just that, plus a couple of useful extras:
This rich snippet displays things like ratings and song titles as in the example below:
This one shows a thumbnail preview along with the upload date, uploader name and video description — the exact things you’ll find when you search for videos within YouTube itself.
Finally, we have the software rich snippet, which practically functions the same way as the one we use for products.
All these rich snippets, despite the difference in their application, share a single purpose: to instantly give users what they are looking for by putting the most important content directly on SERPs.
The bottom line: Increase Click Though Rates by giving customers what they want — Fast
Ranking high on SERPs is no longer enough to get people to visit your website. While it’s still generally a good idea to get your link on the first page, you’ll now need to make sure that you also provide useful enough content right on the SERP to set yourself apart from all the other search results.
This is what people online use to gauge just how relevant you are to them — which ultimately dictates whether or not they’ll click on your link.
Adding structured markup like the rich snippets above used to require that you add HTML code to the page itself, and once added, getting that code to validate in Google Structured Data Testing Tool
is another feat entirely.
However, now you can easily use our SEO Ultimate+ WordPress SEO Plugin to deploy 13 different types of rich snippets that validate without adding one line of code to your website to stand out in search engines and differentiate your website from your competition.