What are Rich Snippets?
Rich snippets are a few lines of text that are displayed in a websites listing within the search results pages. They are extremely useful for webmasters to highlight to Google important aspects of a webpage. Google can then use this information and provide search engine users with a more detailed idea of what content a webpage will contain and whether or not it will be relevant for them.
Rich snippets can be used to highlight information about products, recipes, reviews, events or apps. An example of a rich snippet showing a customer review is shown below. The rich snippet contains the review rating, reviewer name, review date and the actual review itself. Presenting this type of information to search engines users can be very powerful in convincing them to view your website, resulting in an increase in traffic.
Note: Rich Snippets do not help increase the rankings of your website and Google does not guarantee that Rich snippets on a website will be shown in search results.
Creating Rich Snippets
To implement Rich Snippets to your website HTML mark up has to be added to your webpages. This mark up allows Google to understand the data you wish to appear in your Rich Snippet. There are 3 types of mark up formats that can be used to create Rich Snippets.
Google recommends using Microdata when creating Rich Snippets, but all types of mark up language work just as well as each other.
An example of using Microdata to create a rich snippet of a customer review is provided below. The following HTML code contains a review about the TV programme Breaking Bad.
We can add mark-up to this HTML so that search engines can understand the context behind it. For example:
If more than one review is present on a page, it is recommended to aggreate these reviews. This will allow search engines to diplay the accumlated review data – eg. the average rating out of 10 stars. For this to happen, there needs to be a section of the page which shows this accumulated information.
For more information on creating Rich Snippets for reviews please read Google’s guidelines.
Rich Snippets Testing Tool
To find out if your Rich Snippet mark up code has been implemented correctly, you can use Google’s rich snippet testing tool to check the structure of your mark up and find out how your search engines listing would appear in the search engine results pages.