Google Rich Snippets and Why Your Site Needs Them

Keeping up with Google’s changing algorithms often feels like a full-time job. It’s also one that is well worth the effort if you want your online store to get noticed above your competitors. By optimizing your website for search engines, you’re able to sell your products to a wider audience–and Google’s Rich Snippets is a huge part of that for online retailers.

What are Rich Snippets?

Rich Snippets is one more piece of the SEO puzzle–and it’s a critical one for stores that are attempting to get their products noticed. “Rich Snippets” is a term used to describe the structured data markup that’s added to the existing information available on Google and other search engines. In short, it enhances the information available on the search engine page. This does two things: first, it tells the search engine more about the product you’re offering; and second, it tells potential customers more about what they’re going to find when they come to your site.

A typical search result on Google contains three pieces: the site title, which tells searchers what they can expect to find on the page; the URL, which indicates what the website is; and the meta description, which gives more information about the content and holds many of the keywords that help gain the item its search engine rank. When you use Rich Snippets, you can include additional information that doesn’t necessarily go in the meta description: star ratings, what type of result people are getting (for example, an item for sale in a store versus a blog reviewing the item), and the item’s price, among other factors.

Why Use Rich Snippets?

Rich Snippets have a number of key advantages for your website. Ultimately, however, it boils down to one thing: they’ll help interested searchers choose to visit your website over your competitors’. There are two reasons for this:

  • Rich Snippets make it possible for search engines to recognize more about your website, moving your search engine ranking higher so that customers will find it easier to locate your site, and
  • Rich Snippets offer customers more information about what they can expect from your website so that they can differentiate between you and your competition.

Rich Snippets will help customers filter search results. This also means that by the time they choose to come to your webpage, they’ve already decided that you have an offer that they’re interested in and that they genuinely care about the page that they’re visiting instead of finding it during a random search for another item entirely.

How Do Rich Snippets Work?

As you’re building your Rich Snippet content, you’re narrowing down your website so that customers can refine their searches. For example, if a customer were to perform a search for toaster ovens, their results will pull up plenty of relevant information that they can check out on the spot: price information, star ratings, information about sales, and more. From there, searchers can filter their results by brand, price, cooking method, size, and even available features–all important information for a consumer who is interested in buying a quality toaster oven that they can count on.

You want consumers to have the same wealth of information at their fingertips when they search for the products in your store. From fandom merchandise to major appliances, an increasing number of consumers are choosing to do their major shopping online. Most consumers no longer feel that they have the time to hop from one store to the next as they choose their goods; instead, they’re looking for online stores with plenty of reviews, great products, and reasonable prices. Rich Snippets help customers find your store in the middle of dozens of others who are selling the same product.

Keep in mind that search engines run on algorithms. They aren’t yet smart enough to “think” for themselves, so your Rich Snippets do the thinking for them. They let search engines know which pieces of information on each product page are actually relevant to what customers want to know. That includes telling it which item is the price, which item is a star rating, which item is the title, and so on. The more information you’re able to provide, the better Google and other search engines are able to process your website so they can get it in front of customers who are looking for items in your store.

How Do You Use Rich Snippets on Your Site?

Before you can place Rich Snippets on your website, you’ll need access the HTML of your page. There are several programs that can help you accomplish this goal, but Schema.org is supported by Google and offers reliable information and help walking you through the process of adding Rich Snippets to your website. If you’re going to be creating several similar pages, it can be helpful to create a template that will streamline your data entry process.

Once you’ve entered the relevant data, you aren’t done! Use Google’s Rich Snippets Testing Tool to check over your Rich Snippets, making sure that you’ve written the code correctly and provided all the necessary information. Going through this testing process will give you the confidence to move forward with the next step, which is sending it off to Google.

Google will review several of the pages on your website and make sure they meet its standards. This is not an automatic process–it has to be reviewed by a person, not a search engine! Because of that, it may take some time before you start seeing the work you’ve put into constructing your Rich Snippets appear in search engine results.

Is It Worth the Effort?

Creating Rich Snippets seems like it will require a lot of work, especially since you’ll need to update your information each time you add new products to your inventory. By paying attention to this critical component of SEO, however, you will start to see a big difference in your search engine ranking and your store’s conversions.

  • When you use Rich Snippets your store is much more likely to be noticed–both by search engines and by potential customers.
  • Rich Snippets allow customers to narrow down what they’re really looking for from their search engine page, which means that by the time they make it to your webpage, they already know that you have a product they want, and probably for a price that’s within their budget.
  • Rich Snippets establish your competitive advantage. They let customers see right on the search page what your store is offering and what makes it different from your competitors. This allows them to compare and contrast information within the search engine, rather than having to open multiple tabs and visit several search engines at once.
  • Give a better marketing pitch before customers ever visit your page with Rich Snippets. You might be the first search engine result, but that’s okay–if you’re the best one, with the information that appears to offer the best value, searchers will come to your website anyway.

Learning how to include Rich Snippets in the HTML coding for your website takes time and effort, but it’s effort that is well worth it in terms of increased site visitors, more quality site visitors who are more likely to convert, and an increased number of satisfied customers. If you need help creating the perfect website for your business or you’d like more information about how Rich Snippets can help you develop the search engine results you need, contact us today to learn more.

About the Author

Jess Coburn

It's Jess's responsibility as CEO and Founder of Applied Innovations to set the direction of Applied Innovations services to ensure that as a company we're consistently meeting the needs of our customers to help drive their success. In his spare time, Jess enjoys many of the things that made him a geek to begin with. That includes sexy new hardware, learning new technology and even a videogame or two! When you can’t find him at the office (which admittedly is rare), you’ll likely find him at the grill or in front of his smoker getting ready for some lip-smacking ribs to enjoy with his wife and two kids.