Enhance your search engine results with rich snippets

Rich snippets are a great way of enhancing your website’s search engine listings, making them more informative, helping them stand out more and ultimately increasing your click-through rate.

So what are rich snippets? Essentially, they are the additional lines of information that you see with a Google search engine result that are designed to give users a better sense of what the webpage may contain and therefore aid their decision as to whether to click the link. There are lots of different types of rich snippets appropriate to different content, such as Recipes, Videos, Products, Organisations and more.

For example, the search engine listing for a product might look something like this:

Example of a Google search listing with rich snippets

In this example I have searched for ‘Beats by Dr Dre’ and you can see that the listing result from very.co.uk, in addition to the usual title and description, is also showing rich snippets regarding reviews and price.

So, how to get rich snippets in place for your webpages?

You can use three different markup formats – Microdata, Microformats or RDFa. Google, however, suggest that microdata should be used. Once you’ve picked which one you’re going to use, you simply need to add the appropriate tags in to your code using the relevant properties for your data.

Alternatively, you can use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper which enables you to tag the data on your page, and the tool then generates the correct markup for you to add to the page, so you don’t have to write it from scratch.

Or if you’re not confident with writing HMTL markup, and are only worried about putting in data for Google rather than all of the search engines, you can use Google’s Data Highlighter in your Webmaster Tools account. You’ll find this option under the ‘Search Appearance’ menu heading.

Once you’ve put your markup in place, you can then use Google’s structured data testing tool to check that it can be read correctly by Google, who should then read these the next time your site is spidered. It can then take a little while before you start to see your rich snippets appearing in listings though, so don’t worry if you don’t see them straightaway.