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 What are rich snippets? Should we use them?

What are rich snippets? Should we use them?

Rich snippets are a way of giving users more information within the search results. This post will help you understand what they are and how they help.
Lee Hanbury-Pickett,
Senior Developer
What are rich snippets? Should we use them?

What Is A Rich Snippet?

A Rich Snippet is a few lines of text or links underneath a search result which explain the page in more detail, they are also designed to give the user a bit more of an insight on how your website is relevant to their search query. They also add the extra functionality of linking directly to that section.

Rich snippets also help with pre-qualifying your sites visitors before they reach the site by giving them the majority of the main on-page information, paired with a well written meta description, the result of the hard work is greatly enhanced SEO campaign. 

Rich snippets aren’t always chosen off the back of your normal on-page content. You will normally have to prompt Google to the fact that it is a rich snippet by adding specific code to the content. 

There are various different versions of rich snippets for all different types of websites and industries. A snapshot of a few of the various things you can do for each are is:  

  • Recipes – Average review rating, cooking time, calories.
  • Food – Average review rating, price range.
  • Events – Location, price, start time, duration.
  • Music – Track name with a link to play the track, duration.
  • Products – Price, Picture and reviews.

How Do Rich Snippets Work?

Considering all rich snippets are different we have split this section into a bit more of a granular level so that we can look at each snippet in more detail on they work.

Reviews Rich Snippet

A review rich snippet is an extremely useful rich snippet when looking to increase your click through rate. In principle the review snippet will show a star rating within your search result to reinforce the fact that your product or service is reliable and worth buying you can also bolt the review snippet into almost every other rich snippet out there. There are 2 types of a review rich snippet:

Individual Review Snippet

The individual review snippet does exactly what it says on the tin. It only shows 1 review. The information will be a link to the person that left the review but also what they rated the product or service. Generally this would be used for a product which has been reviewed highly by an industry leader. 

Aggregate Review Snippet

The aggregate review goes into a bit more detail. If you have a review or testimonial page on your website and each person that leaves a review rates your product or service out of 5. Google will use the code supplied on the website to display the star rating, what the average rating is and how many reviews there are. If the page is a product you will find that you can even merge them with the product rich snippets.

Products Rich Snippets

The product rich snippet is great for eCommerce websites. The principle of the products snippet is to entice users from the search results to click on your product by showing all the product information within the search results. There are 2 types of Product Snippets Offers and Product;

Offers Rich Snippets

The offer rich snippets are designed to announce that you have a sale in the search results. You can add in discount or other offer information or if you have various versions of the product or like Amazon various different traders you have a aggregate option like within the reviews to show the lowest and highest available price.

Single Product Rich Snippet

This single products rich snippet works very similar to the single review snippet. It is normally used within ecommerce sites in which have only 1 type of the product available. The snippet will normally show one cost and the aggregate review.

People Rich Snippets

The people rich snippets is typically used in a meet the team section for companies with large customer facing sections or for social profiles such as linkedin. This will typically consist of a town or city, job title and company so for example in a meet the team area you would put the office they work in and job title. You can optimise these further by adding images as well as links to their specific page.

Businesses and Organisations Rich Snippets

The business rich snippet will generally be used to enhance your Google+Local listing. This snippet is the most helpful with regards to your local search campaign. This will add your address to the bottom of your search results so that potential customers can see you are local as well as where to find you. 

This works best paired up with your Google+Local account so that you gain more area on the right side of the search results. As well as the link to your Google+ account you will gain extra information such as Wikipedia (if you have one) and a feed from your Google+ account. Utilising this rich snippet as well as utilising your Google+Local account paired with other factors such as Wikipedia can cause yourself to take over the search results for your branded terms reinforcing your authority and ensuring that something to do with your company is clicked on.

Recipes Rich Snippets

The recipes rich snippet works extremely well if you sell food and recommend recipes to go with the product or if you just list recipes. You can go into great detail in this snippet. You can have the prep time, cook time, total time, ingredients needed, calories, review and photo. With this you can make sure that the visits your gaining to the recipe page are interested in what you are offering.

Events Rich Snippets

The events snippets are by far the most well rounded snippet next to the business and organisation. Nearly any company is capable of holding an event whether it’s the fact you’re exhibiting at an event or you’re hosting an event. You can go into great detail from the search results and to a degree use the search results to get users to go straight to the booking page. You can have so many different combinations such as: Name, URL, location, start and finish date, start and finish time, duration, geo targeting, photo and even ticket information such as price. 

You can also now tell Google what event information is on your site if you haven’t marked it up yourself by using the WYSIWYG editor provided in the Google Webmaster Tools control panel. 

Music Rich Snippets

The music rich snippet can come in handy if you have a collection of music or sound files on your website. These could be audio books through to recordings of a seminar. The music rich snippets is quite straight forward where you will get the track name, duration, artist and also have a buy link to show where you can buy the track.

Software Applications Rich Snippet

The software applications snippet is handy if you have apps you would like to promote free trials of software or just software in general. This snippet helps you answer all the common questions people will be looking for from the search results. You will be able to add in file size, format, operating systems, rating, install url, video or image, version, language, author and price. This will work a great deal in getting users to move directly from the search results through to the download page without having the journey in between.

Why Should You Be Using Rich Snippets?

Rich snippets in short are a great way to pre-qualify your sites visitors as well as increasing the click through rate to your website.

Rich snippets are designed to show the users what exactly your webpage is all about and to elaborate on your meta description and title but to also take them straight to the section they want instead of trying to hunt around in the main category page. You can use rich snippets as a help function so users can find what they want straight away. Alternatively it is also used as a sales tool by putting prices next to things and send them straight to a purchase page. 

By utilising rich snippets across your site, you not only increase your click through rate from the search engines but it will also make sure that your visitors are interested in what you want decreasing your bounce rate and potentially increasing revenue and sales which we all know is the ultimate goal of all business and SEO. 

For more information on rich snippets check out the Google Support Centre