Have some unique content needs? Get a content writer and your problems are solved. Have some problems with your website? Hire PHP programmers to get it fixed. But what can you do when it comes to your SEO needs? Hire an SEO expert? What if we tell you that you can be your own SEO expert when it comes to on-site SEO optimization? We are not talking about fancy techniques –we are talking about rich snippets, a concept that is still fairly unknown in various SEO communities.
So without further ado, let us get started on rich snippets and how they can be used as an effective on-site SEO strategy.
What are Rich Snippets?
When you perform a search action on Google, a number of search results pop up. There is the heading or title in blue, URL in green, and then a small snippet of text immediately after the URL. This small content section is the snippet which is used by marketers to provide hints as to what kind of content users will find once they click the search result.
Generally, there are two types of snippets; rich and normal snippet. A normal snippet provides content for the sake of filling up space. However, a rich snippet is one that cleverly uses content, has an appropriate amount of keywords, and delivers useful information.
With that being said, a rich snippet is not so easily obtained as one has to add structured data to their code. Structured data is a small code that is written in a way to send signals to Google. The search engine goes through the code which then provides websites with a rich snippet in the SERPs.
The relationship between rich snippets & SEO
Since rich snippets provide more useful information, they have a better chance of standing out from the rest of the search results. People will instantly open the links that look promising. For instance, if you have an article about home-made apple jam, you would want the snippet to reflect the article’s content. So, having the ingredient list in the snippet will help users to know the required ingredients. If they have all the listed ingredients, they will visit your website and vice versa.
In the long run, rich snippets prove beneficial since it helps website owners get more traffic from the search result. The more people visit your website, the more signals will be sent to Google who will then rank you better; thus enhancing your SEO efforts.
Content categories supported by Rich Snippets
There is no restriction when it comes to using rich snippets as every online business can use it to their advantage. However, rich snippets would be best if used in the following content categories;
· Reviews: Rich snippets take the form of review snippets by analyzing every review or rating from a review website. Then, the reviews are combined to get an aggregate review which is displayed in the rich snippet.
· Products: Online vendors, who specialize in e-Commerce, can benefit from the rich snippet by displaying current offers, payment methods, product types, and whatnot.
· Business and organizations: For any organization, having an accurate NAP (name, address, and place) is mandatory. So contact information, location, email address, and URL needs to be mentioned in rich snippet.
· Recipes: Rich snippets offer this content category with a unique opportunity as they can mention everything from ingredients, cooking time, and serving size to recipe collections, reviews, and nutritional value.
Additionally, rich snippets or structured data can also be utilized for an individual’s social media profile, video content, live events, music, and whatnot.
Structure data and click-through rates
A thick block of content is boring. No matter how many keywords you use or how much valuable information you try to offer in the rich snippet; if it is not visually pleasing, visitors will move past your search result. Because of this, it is extremely important to ensure that your structured data stands out from the rest. But how can you do that? Simple, by breaking up the content.
In a mass of similar-looking search results, the visitors’ eyes will be naturally drawn to the result that looks different from the rest. To give your rich snippet a facelift, you can add images, and use asterisks to highlight important information. Furthermore, you can put emphasis on your signature element by not only mentioning it but also bolding it.
By going against the flow, you are ensuring that your rich snippet would stand out. This will help you increase your click-through rates which will indirectly affect your on-site SEO efforts. This is truly a win-win situation because on one hand you will get qualified visitors and on the other hand, the sudden increase in visitors’ traffic will help you rank better.
However, this will only work if you provide valuable information on your website as well. This is because if the visitor fails to find the required information, then they will click back to look for other results.
Things to avoid in rich snippets
Just like any other strategy, rich snippets also come with a set of regulations, which must be heeded when crafting a structured data mark up. Additionally, you need to make sure that your rich snippet is not going against the guidelines defined by Google. So, here are the following things that you should avoid doing at all costs:
· Never fabricate data as this will create a stark difference between the snippets and the website’s original content. This will lead to disappointment which will impact your CTR.
· Never rely on shady websites for the star ratings.
· Never design your rich snippet for the search engines. Always design it with your visitors in mind.
· Refrain from stuffing keywords into the content. If you must include keywords, then just stick with one or two keywords.
· Never stick with a single snippet. Keep updating it especially if your website deals with events, workshops, job listing, etc.
Rich snippets are a powerful tool that can enhance your on-site SEO campaigns. However, one must not raise their hopes since there is no guarantee that your rich snippet would appear the moment you code it. This is because Google has developed a certain pattern of assessing the snippets over the course of 8-weeks. You can learn about this pattern by reading the ‘privilege’ section of this article.
All in all, adding structured data to your website can be quite taxing. But it all pays off in the end so be sure to start a rich snippet strategy if you do not already have one.
**About the Author: Anne Taylor is a serial blogger with technical and business background. She loves writing about digital marketing, IT industry and workplace productivity.