What Is a Rich Snippet?
A rich snippet is a search result that can appear before the ranked listings. It can appear at the top or alongside regular search results.
The rich snippet answers a particular question and often provides the direct answer without the need to click through to the website.
The type of information displayed depends on the query and the kind of information that gives the best search results. They can include:
- Thumbnail images
- Ratings information
- Number of reviews
- Specifics like calorie counts for recipes
- And, sometimes, videos
Unlike a meta description which describes a page, rich snippets provide a specific answer to a query.
Rich snippets also supply results for People also ask. These results are helpful when an individual doesn’t know exactly what they want or need to know to get their question answered.
Featured snippets provide a partial answer to complicated questions. For example, a bulleted list may display only the first few items in the list, encouraging a searcher to click through for the rest of the information.
Why Do You Want a Rich Snippet?
If a rich snippet displays the answer without the need to click through, how does it help?
A rich snippet like a partial answer is likely to get the searcher to your website. Rich snippets can also draw attention to particular search results with visuals or more information which potentially makes them more competitive that search results from higher-ranking competitors.
In the case of voice search where only one answer is the result, a rich snippet is a complete win. When you provide the exact information, your answer is the answer.
Content Creation for a Rich Snippet Win
To create content optimized for featured snippets you need to think in terms of the kind of content that rich results display. Start with strategic thinking about rich snippets as answers to questions and how you will formulate answers. In order to respond to queries relevant to your business, focus on the types of search where people search for an answer.
You want your answer to be not long, but a bit too big to get the full answer in the text box at the top of the page. In order to read the full answer, the searcher needs to click through to your page.
Brainstorm questions relevant to your website and industry. Then Google some of those questions to see what results show now for the answers. Look for questions that result in a featured snippet, but the answer is not noteworthy. These are the opportunities for you to create a better answer. You know now that Google sees the query as one that should generate a snippet.
You can research questions people ask about your industry at Answer the Public. Search key phrases. Answer the Public provides you with real questions asked to search engines. These are a great source of content material for rich snippet results.
PRO TIP: If the search engine brings up answers from Wikipedia, don’t attempt to compete. Google and other search engines are unlikely to decide your website is more authoritative than Wikipedia.
Use direct, literal language. Clever headings are no match for the phrase someone has in a query when they look for an answer. Make sure your keywords and phrases match the query you want to answer.
Boost Your Rich Snippet Possibility with Schema Markup
Schema markup provides search engines with data categories that merit display. Google looks for schema markup on websites. Google thinks users will benefit from specific information and will display it on search results.
The standard markup with HTML tags is found at schema.org. Fairly user-friendly, schema.org tells you which tags to use for specific types of content.
Google says in its introductory guide to structured data:
Google uses structured data that it finds on the web to understand the content of the page, as well as to gather information about the web and the world in general.
If coding with HTML is a challenge, Google has an answer: Google’s structured data markup helper. Go to the page and select which type of data you want to mark up. You may choose article or products for most content. Then supply the URL for the page where you want to generate markup.
Once your page appears in the data markup helper, highlight the section to apply the different markup fields. For example, highlight the title and then select "Name" in the drop-down menu. This then shows you want this text from the page to be the title.
Go through each category and select the appropriate text. When you are done, click on "create HTML". This generates the code to add to your page for schema markup. Copy and paste the code to your page.
Rich Snippets Put Your Content On Top
Rich snippet positioning puts your content not just on top of search results but top of mind for the searcher. Rich snippets, sometimes called rich results, appear above regular search results. They give your information visibility before competitors. Because of this positioning rich snippets have become more important than regular blue links.
Rich snippets results are also more engaging because they contain pictures, highlighted information, and links closely associated with the search terms (the language in the query). And, because they are more closely associated with the query, they are perceived as both more trustworthy and convenient than other search results.
The biggest benefit for business is that a rich snippet is closely associated with the official content of the business website. Careful selection of keywords and precise descriptions help Google’s algorithm understand your website. Due to their highlighted presence and targeted results, featured snippets may lead to higher click-through rates.
As search algorithms evolve in sophistication, content writers can improve search results by providing the type of information prepared for featured snippets. Strategic thinking, research, planning, and organization will help you create rich result content.