Improve your CTR with Rich Snippets
Historically, the meaning of web content has been largely unfathomable to search engines, which indexed fairly clumsy indicators of content like keywords to get a sense of what a web page is about. Semantic markup, however, allows search engines to have some understanding of what certain parts of a page’s content refers to and include that information in the text that they display below the links on SERPS (known as snippets).
As you can see from the image, the inclusion of semantic markup on a page lets Google pick out details such as price and customer reviews, and display them as part of the results page. At the moment, using semantic markup to produce rich snippets is fairly rare, and those pages that do display them stand out from the crowd. There is evidence that those search results that do include rich snippets have significantly higher click-through rates.
Among the information that Google can use for forming rich snippets are:
- and Authors
As an example, suppose you run a website selling widgets. For each type of widget, your site has a product page that has a comprehensive description with price, features, reviews, branding details, availability, and current offers (more details). Adding semantic markup to that page will let Google know where these bits of information are and show them in the search result snippet.
Semantic markup depends on a vocabulary that indicates the particular properties of an item. There are a number of such markup specifications that Google and others search engines understand, including RDFa and microformats, but Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! are working together on Schema.org, which uses the HTML5 microdata specification. While the other types of markup will be understood, to ensure the best continuing support, we’d advise that you stick to the Schema.org microdata.
Semantic Markup and rich snippets are an excellent way for businesses to take control of how their search engine results are displayd, and while Google say that they don’t use semantic markup as a signal for determining ranking, including it on your site will lead to increased customer engagement and traffic.
For more information check out this great infographic.
Visual Guide to Rich Snippets on SEOmoz created by BlueGlass Interactive.
Let us know in the comments below or on twitter what you guys think of rich snippets and how they have affected traffic to your sites.