If you’re at all familiar with search engine optimization, you know the importance of getting the most out of your basic metatags. Your H1, H2, title tag, and meta description for each page are important factors to increase site visibility. However, your optimization doesn’t have to stop there. You can set up your web pages so that they are poised to have search engines display extra information called rich snippets. In the example below, the ratings line, not shown in a standard search result, is a rich snippet.
The What and Why of Rich Snippets
The ratings on the third line above is only one example. What are some of the other factors rich snippets can highlight? If you offer products, rich snippets can highlight information about what you sell including the name of the item, price, and special offers. If you are a musician, a reference to a song title, lyrics, or recording may show up as a rich snippet. The name, cuisine, and hours of a restaurant, a recipe, details about an upcoming event, or biographical information may all become rich snippets.
Why strive for rich snippets? Because rich snippets, sometimes known as rich results, increase web visibility in several ways. The most important behind-the-scenes function is that the coding used to indicate the information highlighted in rich snippets “speak” directly to search engines. As Google or another engine crawls a website, context and meaning may not always be clear. For best ranking results, you will want to have a website that is informative, user-friendly, and obvious about its purpose to readers and search engines alike. Adding extra, specific coding called schemas are like a beacon to search engines broadcasting, “Hey! This is the contact information for a blues club!” “This is a page about a popular politician!” or “These are the dates of the county fair!” These content clues help search engines to categorize and rank content. The visual aspect of rich snippets draws the attention of internet users resulting in a higher click-through rate (CTR). It’s an all-around win for SEO.
The How-To of Rich Snippets
Now you have a sense of what rich snippets are and what they do. How can you get them to appear online in relation to your website? Technically, you can’t. It’s not possible to guarantee that Google or other search engines will add a rich snippet to a search result for your website. You can, however, add the code to send those loud-and-clear signals that make rich snippets more likely. For that, use structured data, also called schema markup.
First, decide which elements on your website you’d like to highlight. Schema.org lists all the codes used for schema markup. You will need to add the code to your website. Try using Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, which can assist you in finding the appropriate codes for your content.
To mark up the name and address on the Loebig Ink contact page, we went to the Structured Data Markup Helper, chose “Local Businesses” as the data type, and submitted the page URL. Once the markup helper opened the Loebig Ink page, we highlighted each page element individually and chose the nature of that element from a drop-down menu.
After indicating the name of the business, city, state, and postal code, we clicked “CREATE HTML,” and added the resulting code at the top of the text area of our contact page in edit mode and clicked “UPDATE.”
Voilà! The Loebig Ink name and address on our contact page now have structured data. That information will now be more likely to appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) in an eye-catching position to attract more calls and clicks. Take a look at your web pages, decide on the content you’d most like to highlight, and get some structured data working for you. There may be some very helpful rich snippets in your future.
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