Table of Contents
Rich snippets can be the difference between a searcher clicking on your result and moving on. They can significantly increase click-through rates (CTR). In an experiment from Catalyst Search Marketing, one brand saw a 150% improvement in CTR when they added rich snippets to their product pages.
They draw the eye and entice users to click. And on today’s search engine results pages, they’re a must-have to keep up with the competition.
Turn rankings into revenue
Intent SEO can boost search traffic revenue by 700%. How much revenue are you missing out on?
What are rich snippets?
Rich snippets are search listings that have additional data that helps a searcher better understand a result on Google. They come with additional elements, like images, rankings, reviews, and more, which make the listing both bigger and more engaging.
Here you can see a normal search listing:
And here you can see a rich snippet that has added data underneath —in this case, the rating of the business and the number of reviews.
That additional data allows you to make a more informed decision before you click. Instead of clicking the result that has no information about ratings, you might be more likely to click the rich snippet that has the ratings information displayed right on the search engine results page.
Rich snippets are different from featured snippets. A featured snippet is a snippet of information that appears above search results and usually includes what Google believes is a simple answer to a search query, like this:
Here’s a regular search listing, which consists of a meta title, a meta description, and the website URL (usually with breadcrumbs).
By contrast, a rich snippet shows additional information beyond these three pieces of information. In this example, the rich snippet includes star ratings, number of reviews, and cooking time.
While this information may be available for the first snippet (the non-rich snippet), it isn’t showing. This may be because Google has chosen not to show this information, or it may be because the website doesn’t use structured data.
To learn more about schema, visit http://schema.org.
Studies show that having a rich snippet can increase click-through rates (CTR) by 677% and drive 20-40% more traffic than product links without them.
There are dozens of different types of rich snippets possible on Google and other search engines. They can include product images, pricing data, ratings data, product specifications, and more. This data can appear in a variety of formats, like a carousel, as the image shows, and can be especially beneficial for ecommerce sites.
Rich snippets can include a calendar, as in the case of this listing for the band Modest Mouse.
They can include local business information, like reviews, open/close times, and menus.
Google’s knowledge graph is another type of rich snippet, and it can include a variety of data.
There are dozens of types of rich snippets for all types of content, and each type of data can get quite granular. You can learn more about 28 different rich snippets here.
Why are rich snippets important for SEO?
Rich snippets are more engaging than search listings. They take up more real estate on the SERPs than a regular snippet, which draws the eye. They often have more colors compared to a regular snippet, which also draws attention.
Another benefit is that SERP CTR increases because users are clearer on what they’re clicking. With a better idea of what they’ll find on the next page, they’re clicking with confidence. That means bounce rate drops because users are finding the information they want when they click. This means you’re closing the loop.
While rich snippets are not a ranking factor, they improve SEO because they can boost click-through rate, and there is a correlation between high CTR and high search rankings.
If you want to see how your CTR changes after you implement structured markup on your website, you can use Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) to check your click-through rates.
How to create rich snippets for your website
Creating rich snippets can be fairly straightforward, depending on what content management system (CMS) you’re using, because there are many plugins available that will help you to do this, like Yoast. Here are some tips on implementing rich snippets.
Choose a rich snippet type
Choosing the right rich snippet type is important because Google ultimately decides whether or not to enhance a result based on what information you provide it through your markup.
That means you have to not just choose a type, but choose a type accurately.
For example, you can’t mark up an article that talks about different products as a product in an attempt to trick Google into giving you a rich snippet for that article (many articles don’t get rich snippets).
Choosing the right type makes it more likely that Google is going to give you a rich snippet. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s the best you can do.
Most plugins make choosing your types easy, like Schema Pro for WordPress.
The image shows at least 15 different types of schema that you can create for pages on your website.
For example, if you are creating an article, you’ll want to first create the article schema type, and then you’ll want to apply it to the article. If you’re creating a product, you’ll use the “Product” version. A rich result for a product might look like this on Google:
You can see in the image that everything from the screen size to security types to storage, ratings, and price is being pulled from the articles.
FAQ rich results can include a number of questions with dropdown options that let you read the answers:
A rich result for a video can include key portions of the video:
How-Tos can show some of the beginning steps of a process:
Software might include a knowledge graph:
Or it might include ratings information:
Remember: In order to give yourself the best opportunity of showing up on the SERP with a rich snippet, you have to pick the best format for your content. Plugins like schema pro make it easy to figure out what format that is.
Structure your data with schema markup
Schema tells Google, Bing, and other search engines what this additional information is so that they can display it to users. Without Schema.org markup on your website, Google won’t display rich snippets on a search engine results page (SERP).
Marketers should always apply Schema.org to their websites, which can easily be done on many content management systems, like WordPress, using plugins.
Validate your schema markup
Once you’ve implemented schema on your website, through a plugin or otherwise, you can then test your website using the Rich Results Test, a structured data testing tool created by Google.
If you get a page like this image, you may need to check your schema or schema plugin to see if you have it configured correctly.
If you get something like the next image, then your schema is set up properly. However, note that it only says that your page is eligible for rich results. That means you’re not guaranteed to get rich results. It all depends on Google’s algorithms deciding if showing the extra data will provide a better user experience to the searcher.
Tools for rich snippets
If you want to have the chance of getting rich snippets, then you likely need to use a tool to create schema for the pages on your website.
There are a number of tools that you can use to apply structured data to your web pages. Because each type of page on your website is going to require different schema to be applied, it’s best to get a tool that is going to do this for you automatically.
While it’s possible to code this yourself, you need a fairly strong understanding of website development. For most business owners and SEOs, it’s going to make a lot more sense to use a tool.
If you prefer to put in the code yourself, you can use a tool like Schema Markup Generator to create the code and then input it into the website yourself. What’s great about this tool is that it creates JSON-LD schema, which is what Google prefers.
That being said, it’s only a step away from writing the code yourself. You’ll have to spend a lot of time entering information that a plugin would be able to input (fairly) automatically for you.
There are several other tools that will do the same thing. If your goal is to handle this on your own, check these out:
If you just need some simple schema for your business website, especially if you have a small website and you don’t plan on implementing any ongoing content any time soon, then you might want to check out Microdata Generator.
This is specifically designed to help small businesses generate some simple schema that can be added to a website quickly. It uses schema.org and outputs as JSON-LD, so it’s exactly what Google wants to see.
Get help with rich snippets
Need schema markup applied to your content? Talk to a proven SEO consultant.
Some types of website builders will automatically have schema applied to the website (or some pages of the website) or will supply an internal tool to add specific types of schema to a page that doesn’t natively have schema applied.
For example, if you’ve built your website using Wix, some pages, like store pages and blog posts, will automatically have schema applied. For other types of pages, you may need to use a schema generator like those listed above to add schema to your website.
Other website content management systems are going to require a plugin to get structured data on your site. Thankfully, the big CMSs like WordPress have many options available.
For example, the Yoast SEO plugin (one of the best SEO plugins on the market) for WordPress claims to have a unique way of displaying schema information. As they say on their website:
“With Yoast SEO, you are now able to tell Google that your WebPage is an Article made by an Organization, and other combinations like that. This is the most convenient way for search engines to retrieve that information, and at this moment, Yoast is the only product or plugin offering this information this way!”
Other schema plugins for WordPress include:
My rich snippets aren’t showing up in search results. Why?
You’ve done the work, installed the plugins, but your results still look like run-of-the-mill search listings. Why? A few possibilities:
Google hasn’t chosen to show your listing as a rich snippet
There are a variety of reasons why your rich snippets might not be showing up on search, but the most common reason first—Google simply hasn’t chosen to show your web page as a rich snippet.
The Rich Results Tool says it best — even if you have structured data applied, you’re only eligible for a rich snippet. It is in no way guaranteed.
However, there are other reasons why you might not be getting rich results (that you believe you should be getting).
You don’t meet Google’s quality standards
For example, if your structured data doesn’t meet Google’s quality standards, then you might not be getting the rich results you seek.
This usually happens because you’ve implemented structured data markup on either duplicate content or on content that’s not up to date, though there can be other reasons. Use the Rich Results Tool to see if your content is eligible for rich results, and if it’s not, then check these two potential issues.
You’ve implemented code improperly
Another reason you might not be getting rich results is that you’ve implemented the code improperly. This is the next most common reason. For example, you might have used a plugin to mark all your pages as product pages when, in fact, many of those pages are not product pages (contact pages or your homepage, for example).
If this is the case, then you might not be getting rich results for your homepage, or you might not be getting sitelinks.
Google needs more time
Another common reason that you might not be getting rich snippets is that you just implemented schema on your website, so Google hasn’t had time to evaluate the content and decide if it deserves a rich snippet.
It’s also possible that Google doesn’t view your website as trustworthy. This might mean that you don’t have HTTPS implemented on your website, for example, or that you have a lot of spammy links pointing to your website.
Get a complimentary SEO audit
Rich snippets help you grab up more space on SERPs and can be a critical component of increasing click-through rate. As such, they’re great for SEO, and they provide a better user experience, which is ultimately what you (and Google) want to provide searchers.
Want to see how you’re doing with SEO? Get an instant SEO audit below. Or, schedule a free consultation to see how intent SEO can boost search traffic revenue by 700%.