Rich snippets are a type of Google search result that show more detailed and varied information than regular search results.
Many of Google’s results pages now contain rich snippets, but few website owners know how they can make use of these rich snippets for their own websites.
The strongest benefit of rich snippets is that they can lead to more traffic from Google search without having to improve your rank.
Because a rich snippet stands out from the rest of the search results, users will be more likely to click on it rather than a higher–ranked ‘normal’ result.
Rich snippets are a great way to improve your website traffic from search without having to invest in classic SEO techniques.
You’re probably familiar with the most common type of rich snippet — the review snippet:
Having these star ratings and review details included in Google’s search results are a great way to improve your product’s or service’s visibility in Google.
Another common type of rich snippet is the video snippet. This type of snippet includes a screenshot from a video and the video length in search results:
Other popular rich snippets
There are plenty of other types of rich snippets available in Google’s search results. Here are a few examples:
Job listing rich snippet
Events rich snippet
Recipe rich snippet
Implementing rich snippets with structured data
The way to trigger these snippets is to use something called structured data. This is a type of code that you implement on your website. The code is invisible to users but is seen by search engines.
The structured data code tells search engines the meaning of the information on your website. Google therefore doesn’t have to do any guess work when it interprets your site’s content.
There are various different types of structured data. The one that is used most often is Schema.org, which is co–developed by Google. You implement schema.org code, like all structured data, in your website’s source code:
The Schema.org website provides helpful instructions for adding the structured data attributes into your HTML.
Google then reads this code when it crawls your webpage. In due time this enables your website to have its own rich snippet search results in Google search.
Adding structured data in the IRP
Using the IRP, you can incorporate structured data (such as that provided by Schema.org) in your custom content pages, for example your Terms & Conditions page, About Us page, Delivery & Returns page, Contact Us page and so forth. See our Knowledge Base help topic on Custom Content Pages for details about adding these pages. Here is a simple example of a ‘Contact Us’ page that uses Schema.org’s ‘Person’ item type:
In the same way, you can incorporate structured data into any of your product descriptions in the IRP. As shown in the example above, include the relevant attributes in the HTML of your descriptions. (For details of how to add models, see our Knowledge Base help topic on Models).
Testing structured data
When you’ve implemented schema.org code on your website, you can use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to see if you’ve implemented the code correctly to enable rich snippets:
Google also has a Markup Helper tool that you can use to generate structured data source code to put on your website.
When you’ve verified that all is correct, that doesn’t mean Google will start showing rich snippets for your website straight away.
It can take weeks — and even months — before Google accepts your structured data and will enable rich snippets for your website. But when it eventually does, you are likely to see a direct improvement in your website’s traffic coming from Google search.
Using structured data reports
You can keep an eye on how Google is interpreting your website’s structured data by looking at the structured data report in Google Webmaster Tools:
Here you can see the types of structured data that Google has recognised on your site. If there are errors in your structured data, Google will highlight them. You can then fix them and ensure that your website is fully enabled for all relevant rich snippets.
Rich snippets are an advanced, powerful SEO technique to improve your website’s visibility in Google’s search results without having to improve your rankings.
Implementing structured data will make your website part of the semantic web and can drive lasting growth.