Rich Snippets allow website owners to more effectively share particular information including reviews, people, businesses and organisations, events, and more recently recipes in structured format right on the search results pages.

For example a search for “Avatar” returns “Rating 8.4/10 from 229,718 users” for the search results listing as per the image below:

Example Google Rich Snippets
Rich Snippets give searchers a convenient summary of information related to their search query, by marking up the results page with highly relevant, specific information and thus helping searchers make a more informed click. Ultimately this means that rich snippets will help capture better qualified search traffic by drawing in the users with more relevant information.

RV Guha, one of Google’s engineers involved in the rich snippets project, states:

From our experiments, it seemed that giving the user a better idea of what to expect on the page increases the click-through rate on the search results. So if the webmasters do this, it’s really good for them. They get more traffic. It’s good for users because they have a better idea of what to expect on the page. And, overall, it’s good for the web.

Increased relevancy means increased organic search click-through rates. Rich snippets is definitely something to add to your company’s SEO toolbox. Contact usto find out how First Rate can help with your organisations search engine optimisation objectives.

Below we’ll outline and discuss the particular benefits of using rich snippets. The five types of rich snippets introduced below can be marked up in Google’s search results:

  • Reviews
  • People
  • Businesses and Organisations
  • Events
  • Recipes

Rich Snippets: Product Reviews

Product reviews displayed on a search results page can be used to display snippets of useful information such as ratings, count, votes, item being reviewed, short summaries of the review, author of the review and the date of the review – all known as properties.

Review information can be marked up in two different ways being either individual reviews or aggregate reviews. To recognise these properties, and for rich snippet integration to be successful, the content must be marked up using microdata,microformats or an RDFa markup.

The more information the rich snippet can provide, the more easier it becomes for the user to decide whether the information being displayed is relevant to what they are searching for. For example, if your site provides review information such as ratings and descriptions, if it is marked up in the body of the webpage correctly, this information can complement your listing on the search results page by encouraging users to pay more attention to your listing.

The image below shows an example of an individual review by of the much anticipated and popular PlayStation 3 game – God of War III:

Search query: God of War 3 review
Properties of this individual review include: rating indicated by stars, reviewer (GameSpot), and date the item (8th March 2010) was reviewed.

Search Query: "God of War 3 review"

Search query: Avatar movie review
Properties in this aggregated review include: rating indicated by stars and as a percentage and count by total number of reviews.

Rich Snippets: People

Rich snippets can also be used to enhance a search result listings for people. Such properties can include: name, job title, person’s role, link to a particular URL, name of organisation in which the person is associated with, location of the person and even an image link. Below is an example of a person’s rich snippet, First Rate’s own Samuel Stadler.

Search query: Samuel Stadler
Properties displayed in this snippet include location, job title, and organisation.

Search Query"Samuel Stadler"

Rich Snippets: Businesses and Organisations

Business and Organisation rich snippets allow properties such as the name of the business/organisation, link to homepage, location (address), geographical co-ordinates using longitude and latitude, and a telephone number for businesses and organisations.

In case you are wondering whether this type of rich snippet information is going to affect your Google Local Business Listing, it’s important to note rich snippet data does not replace or affect other channels of information provided to Google, so your Google Business Listing should not be affected.

Rich Snippets: Events

Events are another format of Rich Snippets that can surface structured data in the search results pages. The events format allows webmasters to display links to events including the date/s and location/s. Event rich snippets can be beneficial to the user displaying specific events they may be interested in.

Event rich snippets allow properties such as the name of the event, link to event details page, location of event, description of event, start date and time of event, end date and time of event, duration of event, type of event (concert, exhibition, festival, seminar etc…), geographical co-ordinates using longitude and latitude, and a link to a photo or image of the event.

Rich Snippets: Recipes

Most recently, recipes have been added as a format of rich snippets. This means that for sites with recipe content, marking up these recipes could show in the search results pages like the example below.

Recipe rich snippets allow properties such as the name of the dish, type of dish (entrée, main desert, etc…), image of dish prepared, date the recipe was published, short summary describing dish, review of dish, preparation time, cook time, total time, nutritional information, instructions, serving quantity of dish, specific ingredients, and the author of the recipe.

Search query: Crepes with Salted Butter Caramel Recipe
Properties displayed in this rich snippet include an image of the dish prepared, number of dish reviews and the total cook time.

Search Query "Crepes with Salted Butter Caramel Recipe"

While Google continues to roll out rich snippets internationally it’s likely we’re going to see more of them in our daily searches on Google. Rich snippets can be particularly useful for e-commerce, review, and topic specific sites (i.e. cooking sites). If you have a site that you think would benefit from rich snippets it’s time you considered marking up your web pages.

Google Rich Snippets Tips

Here are a few are important areas to note when using snippets:

  1. Ensure the marked-up structured data is representative of the main content of the page.
  2. Ensure your marked up data is correct and not misleading.
  3. Ensure your marked up content is not hidden from the user (“Hidden div’s — don’t do it!”).
  4. Test your mark ups using the rich snippets testing tool
  5. Once you’ve tested and confirmed your mark up is being extracted correctly, fill out the rich snippets form to submit it to Google to help speed up the process.
  6. Simply marking up your web pages won’t guarantee your snippets will show in the search results pages, but as long as your pages are marked up correctly your rich snippets have a good chance of being displayed.

One last important thing to note: No matter how well your pages are marked up, Rich Snippets may not show for sites that have too few pages (or very few pages with marked-up structured data) and may thus not be picked up by Google’s Rich Snippets System.