Getting your website to stand out is no easy feat. Great product, a solid business plan, strategic planning, and a bit of good luck is the bare minimum required for success, but there’s a critical game of detail and strategy behind the scenes that can ensure a website stands out among the competition.
Rich snippets, also called rich results, are Google results with additional information displayed. This structured data markup is easy to add to a website’s existing HTML. A Google search result, without particular attention to structured data, highlights the words the user searches for but doesn’t give complete, organized, or straight-forward information. When the structured data has been specifically and intentionally written, the displayed result is more appealing to the user.
What is structured data?
Structured data is a piece of code in a specific format written in a way that search engines not only index the data but understand what it means. Search engines read the code and translate it into a rich snippet. By simply adding structured data to a website, Google will potentially show rich snippets. Schema.org is the source for the library of structured data that is supported by search engines.
Why is structured data important for SEO?
Structured data makes it easier for Google to understand what a website, and the pages it contains, is all about. Google uses this data to determine what a page is about and how to show it in search results. Using structured data is like using the language Google understands to tell it what your site is about. Speaking the same language as Google will potentially bump up a website’s ranking. When a snippet is well-written, clear, and informative it increases the likelihood that customers will click on the search result. More clicks lead to higher rankings. This small piece of structured data-powered rich results can lead to bigger gains. Schema.org recommends JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa as the preferred behind-the-scene languages.
Common types of rich snippets
Specific structure can highlight the most important features of a business or website. Here are 8 examples of rich snippets that can be planned on purpose to help a search engine display not just words, but also understand the meaning behind the words. Selecting the correct type of rich snippet that best suits the type of business is important.
1. Reviews. This rich snippet displays a star rating (out of 5). The result can be from an individual reviewer or aggregate reviews from users.
2. Recipes. There is a specific type of structured data that only applies to recipes. Recipe markup includes data like time to prepare the dish, reviews, and recipe images.
3. Music. Album release dates, band information, and tour details can be structured in the rich snippet result.
4. Product Markup. This structured data tells search engines specific product information such as price, product images, ratings, and reviews.
5. Organization. Google can understand key information about a business or organization when given specific addresses, logo, operating hours, and contact information.
6. Top Stories. Only Google News approved websites appear in the “Top Stories” box in the search results, but the structured data allows for new stories to appear in this box.
7. Videos. Search engines cannot “watch” videos on a website, so video markup helps search engines understand what the video content is about.
8. Events. Structured data can be specified to show dates, times, locations, and other details about a particular event.
Being intentional about rich snippets is a small way to get more and should be an integral part of any SEO strategy. Ranking higher is a game of small margins, and any intentional action resulting in higher rankings is always worth it. Here is a list of resources to help change the structured data in order to have better rich snippets, leading to more visibility, clearer information, and more sales.