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If you think Rich Snippets are little ideas cut out of very wealthy individuals, you would be wrong! Rich Snippets are a way to make your web listing stand out from the crowd in search results.

We all know that Google wants to give its users the best possible results for their search. The user is Google’s customer and they want to make sure the user experience is timely, relevant and simple.

One of the ways Google do this is using Rich Snippets. By showing Google clearly what type of content is on your page, you will help them to present the most relevant results to the user. Your snippet needs to be accurate and reflect the primary page content.

Rich Snippets give the user a good summary of what your page is about and help identify different parts of your page. An advantage to you is that by showing what is on the page, you may well result in increased traffic to your site. Video content can also be included in Rich Snippet markups which may also improve your search results.

Rich snippets example

The recipe name and URL are followed by a 5 star review showing 76 reviews with the most recent added only 1 hour and 15 minutes ago. This type of listing gives great credibility to that particular recipe and may invite clicking on this listing ahead of the previous one, as it only has 37 reviews.

The types of content that are currently supported for Rich Snippets include:

  • Products – searchers can see detailed product information in the search results without having to even click on the result.
  • Businesses and Organisations.
  • Reviews – these are very common especially for restaurants, books, etc. The best way to include the information is to clearly label what is being review, who reviewed it and when. This gives a solid framework to build a trust factor into the reviewing process and is clear for a user.
  • People, music, recipes and events.

To create Rich Snippets, you use a special markup tag in your HTML code. This code will not affect the way your page looks at all. Nested or embedded markups can be used for things like reviews or ratings. There is a wonderful explanation and set of examples to follow at googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/05/introducing-rich-snippets.html.

There are several formats for Rich Snippets; these include older systems, microformats and RDFs. However, the preferred method is microdata, a modern HTML format which all search engines can understand.

Rich Snippets data will show in your listing instantly, they will not, of themselves, change your organic page ranking in the search results, but if more people like your page, the chances are, you will improve organically anyway. However, Google does not guarantee that any markup on a particular page or site will be used in search results.

Essentially, Rich Snippets help to clearly indicate what your web page or site is about. This makes it simpler for users to determine if it will fulfil their needs if they click your link. If done well, this increases your chance of increasing traffic and having more satisfied users, which make them and Google happy.

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