September 22, 2015

The Importance of Rich Snippets to SEO

A look at the nature of rich snippets and their value to SEO campaigns.

So often the changes in the world of search – such as algorithm updates, etc. – make the jobs of search engine optimisers harder.  A strategy that would work exceedingly well the day before an update would suddenly be defunct when the update was rolled out.  However, sometimes search engine updates make the job of search engine optimisation that much easier, and such is the case with rich snippets.

What are Rich Snippets?

rich snippets example

‘Rich Snippets’ is the term given to the information that is found underneath a search result.  If you enter a musician as a search query, for example, you may be shown information about that musician’s songs or albums, as well as tour dates.  Similarly, films and restaurants may feature star ratings and reviews.

Rich Snippets essentially supply the information that a user may be searching for, and thus alert that user as to the relevance of the results listed on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Why Rich Snippets are Important to SEO

Search Engine Optimisation is certainly concerned with rankings, but the highly contested top spot of the SERP listings is often unattainable.  Rich Snippets are so valuable to SEO because they make it easy to draw users’ attention to results that may not be at the top of the list.google-rich-snippets

If a user is searching for a great restaurant, for example, he or she is likely to be far more drawn to a search result featuring rich snippets than one without.  The star rating, menu description, or booking information that rich snippets may contain works to alert the user as to the relevance of that particular search result.  In the likely case that any of the former information fulfils the user’s motivation for searching, the user will be attracted to that particular result.

Thus companies with smaller marketing budgets don’t have to get into keyword bidding wars trying to take ownership of the top rankings.  First page results featuring rich snippets are likely to garner huge success.  In fact, many companies using rich snippets have experienced a 20 to 30 percent rise in click-through rates.  

How Rich Snippets Work

Rich snippets are not merely a random rendering of the information contained on a web page.  In an effort to make their search results more relevant to user search queries, Google has made it possible for SEOs to customise structured data, which includes rich snippets.  

Using Google’s Data Highlighter, optimisers can show Google the exact data which is to be included in a specific search result’s rich snippets.   Thus, if a result is missing data, or is showing irrelevant data, SEOs can take control of what appears in future results and rectify any issues.  This level of customisation allows SEO strategy to be far more pointed than perhaps it has been in past years.

The visually pleasing nature of rich snippets accompanies their relevant content in making them an extremely important SEO tool.  Users entering queries are drawn to them based on the fact that, aside from being eye-catching, the information they offer is easily accessible and pertinent to search queries.  Rich snippets aren’t going to replace SERP rankings in SEO importance, but, if correctly optimised, they are an extremely valuable addition to your SEO efforts.