Ever wonder how IMBD, Food Network and eBay pull extra information like ratings and prices into their search results listings? They use microdata. The additional info is called a rich snippet. Rich snippets can help your listing earn the holy click, and here’s why.
Instead of the regular snippet, which includes a title, URL and description, rich snippets enable you to display votes, cook times, calorie counts and more in the search results. Say you have a sudden craving for fudge brownies. Wouldn’t minimal cook time and calorie information quicken your decision?
This was the first result for the query fudge brownie recipe. Thanks to rich snippets, I know these brownies take an hour to cook and contain 502 calories. However, the following results weren’t so helpful.
At least the salted fudge brownies gave a picture, but I have no idea how long either recipe will take and my time is limited. I think I’ll just go with the AllRecipes.com brownies. They only take an hour.
This decision-making process may seem rash, but this is how searchers work. Searchers don’t view the search engines as some epic adventure. They want accurate information quickly, which is why the most relevant and informational listing typically wins the click.
Let’s look at the top three search results for “The Hunger Games” blockbuster for the search query the hunger games showtimes.
The first and then the third listing immediately catch my eye. The first listing includes a photo, star rating, number of reviews, movie length and type and PG-13 rating. Showtimes are also displayed.
The third listing includes star rating and number of reviews. I think I’ll click on Nummer Eins.
As you can see, rich snippets grab the eye and expand the amount of space or “real estate” a listing owns in the search results.
How do you integrate rich snippets into your listings? Here are a few essential steps:
1. Choose a Markup Format
Google prefers microdata, though microformats and RDFa are also accepted. What is microdata, you ask? Microdata allows search engines to better understand your page content and was introduced with HTML5. As Schema.org explains,
“By adding additional tags to the HTML of your web pages—tags that say, ‘Hey search engine, this information describes this specific movie, or place, or person, or video’—you can help search engines and other applications better understand your content and display it in a useful, relevant way.”
2. Simplify with Schema.org
Schema.org provides an assortment of HTML tags that webmasters can use to mark up their pages. Google, Yahoo! and Bing support Schema.org and utilize its markup vocabulary. With schema, you can provide rich snippets for various content, including but not limited to:
- Local Businesses
- Music Playlists
Essentially any business or individual can utilize rich snippets for at least one webpage, if not a handful.
For more information on how to utilize this vocabulary, visit Schema.org’s Getting Started page. Once your content is marked up with the appropriate tags, you can move on to the next step.
3. See if it Works
Before calling it a day, you must test your markup to ensure search engines can read it. You can use Google’s rich snippets testing tool to do this.
Just enter the URL to the marked up page to see how it displays in search results. Keep in mind that it may take some time for your rich snippets to appear.
Google states rich snippets do not affect rankings, but remember, they do help earn that holy click. For a video explanation of rich snippets, here is an introduction from Jeremy, a member of Google’s search team.