Guest Post by James Harper:
Rich snippets have become a new tool in the online marketing arsenal. First implemented as stars that appeared alongside reviews in the SERPs to show the rating the review gave, they’ve now grown to include many other different formats.
They’re important in SEO because having the snippet appear next to a result encourages people to click it. It also helps with having your site rate higher in the SERPs, as the search engines aim to bring more good content to the user.
What are Rich Snippets and How do they Work?
Rich snippets appear next to a search result. They could show up as a rating for the site or as a rating the site gave to product in a review. A rich snippet could appear in the form of an article writer’s name and profile picture alongside one of their posts.
Other examples of rich snippets could be a photo of a meal and the time required to make it, all sorts of information about a restaurant including average review rating, a link to play a song from a band you could be searching for, the location information for a business or an event time and location.
Rich snippets are there in an attempt to show someone using a search engine some more information about the site they’re about to look at, so they’ll be better able to understand the information that they’re about to see.
Rich snippets can also help to give people information they’re after without entering the site, or show them links that appear within the page straight from the search results page.
For a website to get a rich snippet, it’s a simple matter of inputting the correct HTML code. Google provides all the information needed in order to get rich snippets up and running for your page.
Why should they be used in SEO?
Rich snippets will make a link appear more attractive to the searcher while browsing through them. Not only will the added information standout from the other links, but it might show them the information that they’re after straight away.
For someone searching for specific information, they might be more interested in reading a post if they recognized the author, for instance. Or seeing a very positive or negative rating for a product might encourage them to read more and find out why the reviewer felt like that.
In terms of online marketing, it’s more likely to attract visitors that will stay on your site, lowering the bounce rate for the site. They’ll read the whole review to find why it was given a high score, for example, and then may look for more. Rich snippets help to increase click through rates too.
Fundamentally, rich snippets help the site stand out from the competition. It provides something a bit more interesting that grabs a search engine uses attention more. Rich snippets help search engines to understand the larger concepts of a site by structuring the data better.
image via Search Engine Land