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What are Rich Snippets?

Rich snippets have been around for a while, but what are they? Read to find out more.

26 Apr, 21 by Antoniy Yushkevych 13 min Read

List of content you will read in this article:

Rich snippets are the term that defines structured data markup that is added to existing HTML pages, helping search engines to know more about web page information. These are extra bits of text, data, or visual elements that appear in the abstracts of search engines. These serve to dress up search results and attract users. Although the use of rich snippets is not mandatory, it benefits search engines and users.

Rich snippets are visually more appealing search results with additional valuable information like it includes graphical elements like shows an image, star ratings, number of reviews, and other visual enhancements. Rich snippets can only appear for pages with a certain type of information and are limited by device type like "how to" type shown in only mobile devices.

Thus the use of rich snippets leads to higher benefits, like search engines return more relevant results, and users can determine the content's relevancy. Even the site operators benefit from increased click-through and reduced bounce rate because users now have a better idea of site data and relevance to their query. They get to know more about the site before they visit the site. Here is a list of items that each type includes.

Snippet includes the following items:

  • Title
  • URL
  • Description

While a rich snippet is more attractive and includes the following items:

  • Title
  • URL
  • Description
  • Date information
  • Product Images
  • Product Reviews
  • Ratings
  • Price information
  • Name of the website
  • Icon of the website

Enriched is the same as rich snippets, but an additional feature enables the user to interact with a snippet without leaving the web page. An example of an enriched snippet is a new job posting snippet with multiple filters. The common filters include the job location, job title, and more. Using these filters enables applicants to choose a job that suits them most.

Three markup specifications recognized by search engines are Microdata, Microformats, and RDFa. Rich snippets can be used for the following content types:

  • Reviews: Rich snippets support both individual and aggregate reviews with different properties for each.
  • People: You may have noticed that Google now shows richer information on people (usually well known) from LinkedIn than ever before; this is because of these rich snippets. Similar results are found for any organization displaying staff and other people attached to an organization. The details like name, title, profession are also included.
  • Products: Usually for the online retailer, this property seems amazing as they can now advertise their special offers with crazy, smart, rich snippets. Properties available include name, description, image, brand, price, seller, and more. Online marketplaces usually use this property to display the range of prices for the same products on a different website.
  • Business and organizations: For any business organization, you can include more details like name, physical and virtual address- latitude and URL. You can also add the logo of your organization to the site using these rich snippets.
  • Recipes: It offers many properties that allow cooking channels to include everything like the type of dish, preparation, cooking time. Cooking channels can also add nutritional information like serving size, calories, fat content, and more.
  • Events: Rich snippets are usually intended for future occurring events. Property summary is intended for events' official name, start date, end date, duration, ticket details, and geolocation.
  • Music: Although Bing uses rich snippets, it makes no mention of any music support. However, Google does make a provision for structured markups related to songs and music albums. This also includes links to previews of songs. You can also buy individual tracks or whole by directly clicking on the link provided by Google.  
  • Video content: This is linked to embedded video content and is used to indicate duration, license, Production Company if the content is family-friendly, and more.

If you are convinced that rich snippets will be an excellent investment in your website and would love to add them, here is a read for you. But before stepping forward with our six easy steps to get rich snippets, here is a quick sneak peek into eligibility criteria for getting one.

Your websites need to have structured data implemented in HTML before getting eligible for rich snippets. Without the use of structured data, google won't be showing your website. This is because google rich snippets are important for SEO. Besides having structured data, the other must-have includes:

  • The search query should be suitable for rich snippets. Depending upon what the user is searching for, the user's location, and the device used to search a query, and Google shows a rich snippet.
  • It is very important to have structured data accurately representing the page content.
  • The data should have a correct implementation, and the code must match google specified requirements.
  • Web content must adhere to Google Webmaster Guidelines. Google does not show rich snippets for untrusted sites and those that are snappy.
  • Some features are restricted to AMP pages only.

Now that you know your content is eligible for rich content, let us continue with our five easy steps:

1.   Choose the right snippet type.

First things first- Know what type you want in your website that suits it optimally and would eventually lead to higher returns on your investment. Visit the list of supported types and choose one or the combination of many depending upon the type of your content.

Here is the list of the types that Google supports: Article, Book, Breadcrumb, Carousel, Corporate Contact, Course, Critic Review, Dataset, Employer Aggregate Rating, Event, Fact Check, Job Posting, Livestream, Local Business, Logo, Media Actions, Occupation, Product, Q&A Page, Recipe, Review Snippet, Sitelinks SearchBox, Social Profile, Speakable.

Here is the list of the types that Bing supports: Breadcrumbs, Business, and organizations, Events, People, Products and offers, Recipes, Reviews, Reviews (aggregated), ClainReview (aka Fact Check).

If you are wondering what features are best for your website, here is your answer. Snippet types like breadcrumb, images, organization or person, articles are ideal for every kind of content. Besides, some types need to be chosen specifically depending upon the type of content of your website. Google has given guidelines depending upon the content type, and these are:

  • Articles/Blogs- Article, AMP, Fact check, How to, Speakable.
  • Books- Book, Review
  • Education- Course, Carousel, Dataset
  • Entertainment- Carousel, Review, Media actions, Video, Video Livestream, Podcast
  • Business- Business or corporate identity information, Local business ( For a businessman with a local store)
  • Events- Event, Video, Video Livestream
  • Recipes- Recipe, Carousel, AMP, Review
  • Products- Product type, Review, FAQ
  • Scientific or research organization- Dataset
  • Job-related content: Dataset

2.   Get specifications for each type

Visit the search gallery and study requirements for the selected type. Know which fields are mandatory, and make sure to include that in your code. Let me take an example for getting better: If you want to get a rich card for a course- tag the name and description.

3.   Write a script

Though Google and bing support various formats, I suggest you write your script using the JSON-LD format. When it comes to structured data, many websites also rely on schema.org.makeup. You can also choose to use structured data codelab or structured data markup helper tools to create a code. This is how your script may look like after writing a code for the same:

<script type= "application/ld+json">
{
"@content": "https://schema.org",
"@type": "Course",
"Name": "Introduction to Computer science and programming",
"Description": "Introduction to CS course laying out the basics.",
"Provider" :{
"@type": "Organisation",
"Name": "University of ABC- XYZ",
"sameAs": "http: //www.abc-xyz.edu"
}
}
</script>

Test your code

Once the script is ready, test your implementation using structured data testing tool or Google rich results testing tool depending upon your compatibility. Make sure that code passes the test; else, reiterate the corrections in the code repeatedly until it does test well. 

4.   Add scripts to your website

Copy the script. Add it to the <HEAD> section of your HTML page. You need to add the structured data to the related pages and not to every page. You should only markup visible content and not the hidden page elements. For example, if you are running a cooking site/ blog and have structured data for cooking recipes, add it to cooking recipes pages and not your entire blog. Add a script with a code that changes each page automatically and not manually. 

You can use various tools that can automate the generation of the required structured data like if you are on WordPress, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin, or if you are using Woocommerce, it automatically adds structured data for your products. 

5.   Monitor Google search for errors

Troubleshoot all your errors and monitor the performance of your rich snippets. You can test a page using the URL Inspection Tool.

Google is now moving away from traditional blue plain snippets and heading towards rich snippets. Rich snippets are also called rich results as they are normal google searches but with additional data. By its use, google has added graphical and interactive elements in its search results. The service is available both on desktop and mobile. You may think of it as how google play shows up the ratings, the number of votes that resulted in that rating, the platform, and more. The following are the reasons that google rich snippets are growing popular:

Friendlier to search engines

It enhances the search experience online. Rich snippets make your content look friendlier to search engines. This is because of rich snippets that the chance of ranking increases for various Google features. Also, Google features such as Google Assistant and Google Maps rely on schemas and structured data.

SERPS ranking

Rich snippets stand out awesome on the search engine results page and thus have extra benefits than those not including rich snippets. By optimizing a website for rich and featured snippets can improve your website's ranking in SERPS, which will bring quality traffic to your website. If Google takes content from your page in response to user queries, your page will appear at the top of organic results. Websites have a good chance of getting clicked. If your brand competitors have included rich snippets in their coding, then it becomes for you too to remain in the market.

Enhanced website credibility and prestige

Higher click-through rates mean more people visit your site, reaching a higher customer base, which eventually means getting higher profits for your brand. It also builds a great relationship between you and the audience that positively influences your brand name. Anyone who views a website and finds it as a top choice for google search, the audience will automatically assume that you are a credible source of information.

You must know structured data markups in your site will not automatically translate search engines to display rich snippets for your content. Rather Google does several tests to ensure that users receive what they are looking for and if they have accepted your results. Google will analyze markups and respond accordingly.

Google starts to analyze new markups for 10 - 14 days at the start. Google will then display rich snippets for some and not all pages for five days. Several days later, Rich snippets will be again displayed for the same or new set of pages of your content. This may be repeated several times. Only after roughly eight weeks, your site will be rewarded with rich snippets throughout your content. (Assuming Google's repeated analysis did not find any errors in the content).

Google has also started to penalize the websites that have used the rich snippets inappropriately. Only if your content approach to SEO is ethical, you need to be a little concerned. Google is continuously working on improving its search result. Hence, rich results are one of those features they are relying on.

Rich snippets are actively replacing traditional blue links we used to see previously in google search results. This is because they are more attractive, informative and bring huge traffic to your websites. Google and other search engines are continuously improving their results and investing more in rich snippets. The process is simple if you need to have your website eligible for a rich snippet, implement structured data.

Antoniy Yushkevych

Master of word when it comes to technology, internet and privacy. I'm also your usual guy that always aims for the best result and takes a skateboard to work. If you need me, you will find me at the office's Counter-Strike championships on Fridays or at a.yushkevych@monovm.com