How to Gain the Visual Boost of Rich Snippets in Search Results
How does your business stand out to a crowd of shoppers? Learn how to enrich your sales efforts in search results by leveraging product data with structured schema. Move in front of potential client eyeballs with SEO tactics that have proven results.
Metadata and structured data play a role in recent algorithms, like RankBrain These optimized search results are known as rich snippets, and they may just give your business the edge you need to win the click. By improving the number of visitors who land on your site and engage your content, search engines come to trust that your site offers a quality experience, which may contribute to improved rankings.
More than one-third of Google search results in 2014 incorporated Rich Snippets supported by Schema; however a mere 0.3% of websites made use of the Google approved Schema tool. This means that many businesses are leaving money on the table by waiting to use structured data that produces rich snippets – when they could be stepping out ahead of their competitors.
Rich snippet search results offer information that fills gaps for searchers’ who have never been to your site before. With the goal of delivering a rewarding user search experience, Google’s machine learning models could look at search results and determine how rich snippet information helps people eventually land on pages that they are searching for. For example, the presence of certain rich snippets that display higher ratings than another site could lead to more successful searches because they meet user intent.
What are Rich Snippets?
Rich snippets are additional bits of data that make a lighter task for a search engine to identify content on a web page. Rich snippets are used to enhance the searcher’s ability to predetermine the value of a page suggest in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Consumer ratings, product prices, hours of business, and availability are commonly found in e-commerce rich snippets.
This isn’t about favorites. One business webpage ranks higher than another page when they trust the page will lead to a rewarding user experience. When structured data markup is implemented correctly, the result is searchers to make a more educated click decision because of the rich snippets that offer them clues to your content. If you improve the likelihood that searchers will choose your web page, the real win comes when arriving there satisfies their need. So, if structured markup is a piece of code, then consider a rich snippet the visual aspect that you can from it.
All e-commerce sites will be missing out of key opportunities unless they take advantage of at least two forms of rich snippet for earned search: Products and Offers. If your business relays on revenue from what you sell, set a published price, and compelling intro and gain the benefits of rich snippets working to bring qualified viewers to your site.
QUESTION: How Important is Using Structured Data for SEO?
ANSWER: There have been several conversations on Twitter where Google’s John Mueller has provided helpful answers on how rich snippets work. The summary that I come away with is that Google prefers not to be dependent on structured data for this at some point in the future, but today it helps a lot in order to gain them. To expect to see rich snippets today, the recommendation is clear – go with structured data markup for your pages.
“If you really want them, I’d just use structured data – it’s cleaner.” – John Mueller
It seems fair to say that technically, structured data is not demanded in order for Google to apply rich snippets in the SERPs to your site, but John indicated that although it is not necessary, it would be exceptional to find a search result with rich snippets that does not also use structured data.
A survey performed in 2016 by Bing found that a mere 17% of marketers are using (or were planning to use) Schema.org structured data markup. The Prioritize search to boost marketing ROI report comes out of work by Microsoft and Catalyst when commissioned by Forrester Consulting to evaluate companies’ marketing mixes with a particular focus on the role of search in the digital media mix. Registering at only “Schema markup 17%” implementation planning going on means that those who do are leaders in this realm and many are reporting an appreciable difference by gaining coveted rich snippets in search results.
SEOs have been talking about structured data for a few years now — ever since Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex banded together in 2011 to craft a standardized list of attributes and entities which they each agreed to support, and which became published as Schema.org. However, there’s still a lot of questions as to what structured data is, what are the benefits of using it, and how and when to implement structured data to improve a website’s search engine optimization.
For those who have jumped into it, the benefits of gaining rich snippets are well worth it.
How Data Structured Helps Product Search Results
Rich snippets are features derived from the Markup as formatted by Schema. The Schema markup enhances search engines’ ability to better recognize your website’s value-driven content. It also creates search result rich snippets, search boxes, breadcrumbs, live blogs, a more robust Google Knowledge Graph, and much more. It goes further; rich snippets add substantial visibility results by pushing data into Google’s Maps, Knowledge Graph and Now Results.
Structured Data Markup helps search engines interpret a website’s content faster when accessible in what is known as “machine-readable data”. As business life transitioned to a digital world, computers find it challenging to fully understand the language used by humans. They consume data differently. Like someone trying to learn a new language, computers can put out results we don’t want when trying to deal with speech that comprises an array of idiosyncrasies. This is where you can thank Structured Data for making it easier via the rich snippets they produce.
Google launched support for Structured Data Markup and Rich Snippets as early as May 2009. In 2011, our Kings of search engines; Bing, Yahoo!, Google and Yandex all agreed to abide by a single standard of language known as Schema. Therefore, schema.org was created to house the foundation of all supported Structured Data code. With consistent dedication, new supports for the formats that produce rich snippets as the technology improves are being introduced. Schema.org is a Microdata vocabulary; not exactly a language in and of itself.
SEO Strategies now Encompass Structured Data Search Results
The route to obtaining visual attributes in search is quite complicated when new to marketers, yet it quickly becomes simpler with use and updates. In general, code markup is best conceptualized when thought of as underlying code that wraps around the outside of existing web content that your page viewers can see.
Rich snippets make greater transparency possible into what web pages are about compared with competing pages that only use default Metadata like: page titles, URLs, and descriptions. While rich snippets are bit attributed for directly swaying page rank, they can indirectly augment a page’s ranking as a result of higher click-through rates. SEO tactics are changing as search algorithms use artificial intelligence (AI) more.
7 Benefits of Appearing in Rich Snippet Search Results
1. Offer Visual Appeal
2. Improve Click Through Rates From Search Queries
3. Offer Faster and More Immediate Indsutry Specific Information
4. Lowers Bounce Rate Which Improves SEO
5. Improves Your Website’s Trust Factor
6. Offer New Opportunities for Personalization
7. Provide Higher-Quality Results
“Think of rich snippets as the cherry on top of a chocolate sundae: it allows search engines to give your listing that extra flare that differentiates your product/service from everyone else, and makes your site that much more appealing to those who are searching.” – Lyons Consulting Group
A Deeper Dive into the 7 SEO Benefits of Rich Snippets
While you may just be grasping what a “rich snippet” is, many websites in various market niches have already taken a leap of faith and are seeing the benefits in the form of rich snippets. You can take the plunge and start getting SEO benefits and higher levels of visibility today. Consider the following benefits:
1. Rich Snippets are like “Eye Candy”: Offering Visual Appeal
With so many paid search ads, logos, image results, and other visually stimulating elements competing for attention on the search results pack, rich snippets can be that “extra something” that entices viewer’s eye more than anything else on the page. Humans can digest an image faster than text. Make that an appealing image and you have already introduced a positive first impression. Rich snippets are data-rich formats cluing prospective viewers to your website content by offering details that draw the searcher’s eye.
A recipe rich snippet is a prime example. Our taste buds are stimulated when an image makes the food look tasty. Assuming you are looking for a chocolate chip cookie recipe, up pops famed Betty Cocker. The first link gives viewers the enjoyment of a picture and even a few basic instructions. As you can see from other rich snippet results in the image on the right, five-star ratings, the number of reviews, addresses, open or closed, are just some of that advantages that a business can win. Most individuals who use make search query are enticed by images and be assured, tests indicate that most people are likely to click on rich snippet results.
2. Improve Click-Through Rates From Search Queries
You won’t see anyone’s rich snippet code shouting on a web page, but they aren’t meant to. Both metadata and structured data are behind whether or not your content serves up rich snippets in SEPPs. With the RankBrain and Penguin Google algorithm updates, they will be more important to improving your click rates from search engines for the queries your site previously won. It’s a way of optimizing your web content for chances to show up in search results that nab the eye and are more visually stimulating. These coveted rich snippets may just give you the edge you need to win the click when competitive search results offer many options.
Even if a page is not awarded a rich snippet, by using Schema.org structured data markup, you up the likelihood of your site’s inclusion in relevant e-Commerce search results. This benefits both the individual behind the search query and rewards webmasters diligent SEO work. By showing up more often in search results, you have a chance to win the click from the corresponding searcher. You cannot expect to if you are not there
3. Rich Snippets Offer Faster and More Immediate Information
For starter examples: a rich snippet can display a link, a picture, a date stamp, a reviewers rating, a price and much more is promised to come.
Not only are rich snippets often served up faster, but they can also offer more granular information. Businesses can offer Google and other search engines a better understanding of what your organization is about and faster as searchers want to wait less. Google’s RankBrain algorithm moves machine learning into the center of its processes by recognizing patterns much faster than humans. It depends more on schema code. One benefit you gain is showing up in search results faster than sites without them. For example, structured data for MedicalEntity MedicalTherapy and MedicalDevice can serve to highlight rich snippet for very specific services within the medical profession.
4. Lowers Bounce Rate Which Improves SEO
It quickly becomes a problem for SEO professionals when your website isn’t retaining its visitors. If individuals are coming to your site and either finding what they search for but nothing else of interest or are not finding what they want at all, the leave too soon. The goal is to make sure that once visitors land on a page; they have a great experience and are drawn to visiting even more pages throughout your site.
Say that your product page to buy a red sports car has a bounce rate of just fewer than 50%. This means at least half of the visitors to that specific page move on to additional posts or pages to learn more. Rich snippets help viewers and search engines find content that fits their search criteria better, so that typically means a lower bounce rate. Some SEOs believe that one of the more underestimated and undervalued metrics of any website’s SEO performance is the site’s “bounce rate.” Rich snippets offer a huge step forward in solving that issue.
5. Improves Your Website’s Trust Factor
In an age of information overload and minimum attention span, for a business to deliver accurate, valuable, and well-structured web content is vital. Creating and managing not just content, but semantically enriched smart content that can be found easier due to the rich snippets produced, is an added benefit. Rich snippets build trust that before a user clicks on a link that can be better assured that the rich snippets represent the content on the page.
If your Business is concerned about driving more organic traffic, earned or paid, it’s important to take the viewpoint of the individuals who will land on your website. Users assess a page that they click on very quickly. They may be asking themselves: “what is the benefit of reading this (information to make a decision, tool, how to video, white paper, benefits they gain if purchasing”, etc.). The more useful your content is, the more likely people are to believe, return, and trust your business – and the more apt you are to achieve your marketing goal of reaching new customers.
If Google understands your content better, the better your rankings will be. When Google is confident of taking the risk of showing rich snippet results of your business, it’s because you’re a trusted site and your content is semantically rich in terms of how Google rates it.
6. Rich Snippets Offer New Opportunities for Personalization
Rich snippets offer businesses a chance for greater visibility in the SERPs and its reach is expanding. This opens up a completely new area of SEO activity for many who are new to structured data. The number of potential factors to personalize your web content and digital communications are growing.
One key way to personalize your marketing reach is to edit your Google Knowledge Graph to win rich snippets that include your social profile. Use schema data markup on your official website to make your social profile information return rich snippets in some searches. Knowledge panels are more intuitive, and it is easier than ever to prominently display your social profile information.
7. Rich Snippets Provide Higher-Quality Results
When computers can offer more closely related information in search results that match user specifications, consumers get what they want quicker. As rich snippets can display more information now than ever before, prospective clients trust that the URL they choose to click on will lead to the information wanted. When you can output your web page in rich snippets that offer specific product and service details, that offers a higher quality search result that one that is more generic.
Rich Snippets are Becoming More Important
Structured data and rich snippets remain underused by a surprisingly high percentage of websites. Being still fairly under the radar to the average business owner, this may be due to how few understood rich snippets and the many benefits to be gained. If you own a local store in downtown Minneapolis, it can enable you to display product descriptions, price, reviews, and ratings, special offers, stock level and brand within the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Google uses rich snippet to categorize your website and provide searchers with additional information. The more knowledge users have about you – as found in rich snippets – the better your prospects are of new customers finding your business.
Google has recently had much to say about revving up support for structured data and rich snippets. And SEO professionals are already seeing it. Undoubtedly, Google is putting increased importance on structured data markup within their algorithms. It might not play a huge part, but having a higher weighting in how it produces more rich snippets could prove to make quite the difference. Therefore, businesses that want to keep a cutting edge advantage for winning in SERPs should make this a higher priority in marketing budget spend in 2016. The unfolding of new rich snippets is happening at a fast clip and we expect this year of technological advances to expand voice search for locally focused searches.
NEW APPROVED RICH SNIPPET OPPORTUNITIES ARE GROWING DAILY
There are numerous distinctive types of rich snippets already available for use; all of which will make a search listing look more inviting to help persuade the user to advance to your site.
Why miss the benefits that enhanced presentation in search results with Rich Snippets can offer your business? Below we will list a few easy “first wins” in rich snippets you want to be sure to check out. The list merely scratches the surface of opportunities to improve your site’s visibility with rich snippets. You will want to delve deep into this yourself or hire a Google Structure Data and Rich Snippet Expert. It is exciting to find and explore new opportunities as they continue to grow
The Google Developer pages for rich snippets were last updated January 13, to reflect the fact they’re now supported by JSON-LD. If you are reading this and are another developer, check back as additional rich snippet documentation is still in progress; we expect these pages to be updated.
Advantages of eCommerce Structured Snippets
Snippets can give eCommerce websites an edge over their competition as an even lower page ranking can get higher CTRs on SERPs. Some consider them a more advanced AdWords feature, but set-up is simple when you understand it. When it comes to running a Google AdWords campaign, there is a difference in how it names its products and features. In early 2015 AdWords moved to offering an ad extension called “structured snippets.” It can feature seller ratings, ad callouts, supplemental sites links, location information, call, and hours of operation. Automated dynamic snippets appear – at Google’s discretion – at the bottom of the ad and link to content on the website when your AdWords account manager utilizes this feature. Manual structured snippets are non-linked features about a business which work similar to callouts, but have a different format.
When using structured snippets with callouts, both have distinct attributes and benefits and can use up to 25 characters. This automated ad extension gives your potential buyers a better sense of your web content. With the addition of the term “snippets” added into the AdWords vocabulary as an official extension type, clarity on this distinction will avoid confusion. AdWords structured snippet extensions may go the needed stretch on your return on investment in paid search. The supplementary website information that can be seen with your ads can amplify your ads’ relevance and click through rate.
Ad extensions have given a boost to the performance of many an ad and Google says that they are also a factor in Ad Rank. The more ad extensions configured in, the more likely the auction is to select the best combination of extensions to improve performance and outshine your competition. This can succor the boost you’re seeking on your return on investment by being more compelling when attracting clicks from visitors whose interests line up with what your business is offering.
There are currently 12 predetermined headers one can utilize in PPC advertising that provide consumers with additional details. These headers include amenities, brands, styles, courses, etc. Marketers can follow that up by adding up to 10 “Values” that come under the header, with 4 as the recommended minimum. Again, each value has a character limit of 25. When customers see your ad, the header that you selected displays and is followed by a colon and your values.
It seems that Google is favoring industries with the highest average costs per click. Studies show that insurance keywords, such as “Insurance coverage”, are among the most expensive in AdWords and easily cost $55 for a single click. Following that, 4 out of the 12 headers still fit under the sector of travel and accommodations. This aligns with Google’s other ad formats such as Google Flights, which compete with the brand equivalent of shopping ads but for flights, and feeds which dynamically come up with Hotel & Rental listings.
Next, 2 out of the 12 Headers suit the Education industry – again falling under the wing of another item in the 10 most expensive paid search industries. These support retail businesses, which are otherwise pressed to include style descriptions in the precious ad text space available.
Therefore, it is key that your values are relevant to your header. This in one way that businesses can increase their paid advertising real estate and have the ability to promote additional product/service information. If you are unsure of how to take advantage of this ad extension, we can help.
Rich Snippet Image Results Require More Specifications
Previous schema rich snippet guidelines for displaying the image property in a news article were much simpler.
Google, apparently, will reward sites that don’t leave up to a guess as to which of many images to use when presenting a news article in SERPs. Nor does it want to have to chase around to have to determine the pixel size. That is lost time, especially for mobile searches. New guidelines include the directive that news article “images should be at least 696 pixels wide.”
The added late requirement that image height and width must be declared (requiring the use of a nested ImageObject, meaning that merely a URL declaration for image is no longer supported for article rich snippets). This change is a forerunner to requirements that will be necessary in support of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) that are just ahead.
Furthermore, the ImageObject URL declaration now requires an absolute image URL rather than the relative URL used previously. This aligns with the many AMP markup examples available for beta testers. With page load speeds a critical factor in search results, leaving the task to search engines to parse code to figure out image dimensions has changed: AMP demands image data up-front before you will see images in rich snippet search results. It is easy to confirm that added markup is correct using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool* found in Google Webmaster Tools. The tool efficiently analyzes the code and displays rich snippets if all is correct.
“Product” – can be gained in the following ways:
4. Aggregate Rating
6. Price Currency
7. Price Valid Until Date
9. Item Condition
11. Manufacturer Part Number
12. Product Model Number
“Event” – that offer specific information:
1. Business Event
2. Comedy Event
3. Sale Event
4. Children Event
5. Music Event
6. Publication Event
7. Library Event
8. Dance Event
9. Sports Event
10. Education Event
11. Exhibition Event
12. Visual Arts Event
“NewsArticle” search results:
1. Date of Publication
2. Date Modified
3. Print Column
4. Print Addition
5. Print Section
6. Print Page
8. Page Start
9. Page End
10. Word Count
11. Article Body
12. Article Section
“Organization” rich snippets are ready for many business types:
3. Government Organization
4. Local Business
5. Child Care
6. Emergency Service
7. Employment Agency
8. Entertainment Business
9. Financial Service
10. Medical Organization
11. Professional Service
Google wants web searchers to be able to complete their tasks quickly when using Google Search. Their end client is the user of a search box. So it’s logical that Google Algorithms will continue to progress toward machine learning, as nothing, so far, is as fast or accurate in deciphering what has the best chance of pleasing that searcher. Manipulating schema to win rich snippet search results on Google won’t work if abusing schema search data markup. The Google Rich Snippet Guidelines are clear, should be read thoroughly, and followed with care. If your business doesn’t win the click, you can’t make the sale. However. your ad or web content needs to get noticed in order to win the click. If you don’t win the click, you can’t make the sale. Run a link search for your business markup and see what the SERPs offer.
Questions to Ask Yourself to Win in Search Results
Besides trying to win rich snippets in search, Marketers need to seek out the extra click opportunities that the SERPs present. A few questions to ask that may lead to the desired results include:
* Can your business achieve a listing in the local pack results?
* Can you make good of structured data to obtain a rich snippet listing
* Should you combine your reach to paid search with a Google AdWords campaign for this particular query?
* How can you make your content truly helpful and provide searchers additional social rich snippet information to gain a following?
Check your use of schema at least twice before hitting the publish button. The information represented in your structured data markup should accurately correspond to that page’s content.
Where These Snippets are Showing up in Search Results
In a GetStat whitepaper on How to Get More Featured Snippets, Jenn Wallis and the Stat Team report the following findings:
* Of the 999,868 SERPs inspected, we found a featured snippet result on 92,832 — that’s 9.28 percent of SERPs with featured snippets.
* We observed three-pack places results on 13.2 percent of all SERPs.
* Paragraph snippets were most common, showing up in 82 percent of featured snippets.
* List snippets appeared in 10.8 percent.
* Table snippets in 7.3 percent.
* “People also ask” (PAA) results only show up in 22 percent of featured snippet queries
Rich Snippets Images and Video Thumbnails
In addition to showing reviewer ratings, the number of gold star reviews, and votes, it is happening more often that well-optimized websites are also finding their images displayed visibility in SERPs. It is common to see these for food and recipes search results. To gain your own experience try typing in a popular food recipe name let’s say “beef pot roast”. You are likely to see a food image, cooking time, a few simple steps to cook it, and nutritional value.
According to data Tim Soulo harvested during Ahrefs’ Study Of 2 Million Featured Snippets: 10 Important Takeaways, it is interesting that words like best, definiation, and cost trigger rich featured snippets more often than many others keywords. In the May 29, 2017 he states that “featured snippets do reduce the overall number of clicks. Which is no surprise, actually, since the goal of these featured snippets is to give the searcher an instant answer to their question so they wouldn’t have to click.”
• 112 million keywords in our US database, almost ~14 million of which had featured snippets in their SERP.
• 12.29% of search queries have featured snippets in their search results.
They are certain catch the eye and surprisingly, often fit with more informative long-tail keywords. Wikipedia, WebMD, and YouTube are a few of the top site who are gaining morefeatured snippets for search queries than other site. It takes an skilled investment of time – but is, oh so easy for new subscribers and buyers to find your business.
How Search Bots Comprehend Topics and Produce a Snippet
The content on your web pages will have a clear meaning to people who read them. But search engines are bots that lack the human capacity of comprehending what topics are covered on those pages. By adding helpful tags to the HTML of web content, these tags assist the search engines’ job of knowing if the information described is, for example, a product, map, author, movie, business location, person, or video. Machine learning comprehends these tags and then can display it in a useful and relevant way, such as a rich featured snippet when matched to related search queries. This works for voice queries, those who leverage image search, as well as traditional search queries that are typed into a search box.
Search is complex, even more so, mobile search results are. That means that both SERP tracking of your site and that of your competitors should be comprehensive.
It is more complicated than adding a plugin or using some checkbox inside your CMS that will automatically implement structured data. You need someone with the right tech knowledge who is willing to read guidelines regularly for markup updates and to recognize the best formats. As featured snippets are generated from Microdata, RDFa, or JSON-LD formats; bear in mind those type declarations are made for these non-microdata syntaxes.
Make sure that your rich snippets are clearly visible in your content. Don’t try to make craft structured data just for search engines while keeping it out of sight from your actual visitors. Just because the information that you’re trying to display in the rich snippets fails to align with your design or isn’t vital data for your users — avoid using CSS, value-title, display:none or some other method to hide this data; this is precisely what Google seeks to catch and often regards as spammy markup.
“Going forward, we’re strongly committed to continuing and expanding our support of structured markup (such as schema.org). This markup helps all search engines better understand the content and context of pages on the web, and we’ll continue to use it to show rich snippets in search results.” – John Mueller
“Using structured data makes your pages eligible for rich snippets but does not guarantee that the search engines will use them in every search result for every keyword.” – Practical Ecommerce**
“Today’s change for reviews and products (which employ the schema.org types Review, AggregateRating and Product) is the latest of Google’s incremental efforts to support the protocol, following on the heels of JSON-LD support for event rich snippets and Knowledge Graph features early in 2015, and recipe rich snippets in July 2015.” – Aaron Bradley on SEO Skeptic
“If someone told you that there was a quick and easy way that many of you could improve your SERP CTR for minimal effort, you’d all stop in your tracks and give them full attention. Yet, Schema.org and rich snippets are still horribly under-utilized.” – Moz
“Unbeknownst to many, you can actually create rich snippets for job listings. This is an underutilized technique, simply because most people don’t know it exists. In order to create a rich snippet for job listings, you must provide the job title, hiring organization, and job location. Other recommended data includes industry, base salary, employment type, date posted, and salary currency.” – The SEM Post***
“Increase your CTR, thereby boosting your Quality Score and lowering your costs. Structured snippets are also a great way for advertisers to control a snippet extension, piggybacking off the successful dynamic (automatic) snippet extension that was rolled out in 2015.” – blastam.com
The days of gaming search engines are in the past for the most part. In the future, adhering fundamental SEO best practices that are proven to work and integrating those with new media formats is going to be a recipe for success. Winning the visibility game in rich snippets is taking precedence. Make this year your best chance to rise above your competition, solidify your brand’s digital reputation, and finds more success than ever. This requires decisive action from you, commitment, and a semantic marketer at the helm who understands how you can win a competitive edge, including the endeavor to win rich snippet search results.
Hill Web Marketing helps webmasters and digital marketers find industry opportunities to present extra information about web page content to the search engines. When combined with your other earned and paid search strategies, winning better rich snippet search results typically improves business revenue.
Since its inception, we have seen tremendous success with dynamically structured snippets. We love the ability to customize the information that shows in this format to help businesses gain higher ROI.
We can help today. If your website isn’t getting the number of visitors and rich snippet search results you want, a great place to begin is with a… Website Audit & Review of your Digital Wins