Jan 10, 2024

What Are Rich Snippets & Why They Are Important For SEO

What Are Rich Snippets & Why They Are Important For SEO
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Rich snippets are eye-catching search results that provide additional information about the content of a web page.

Rich snippets are important for SEO because they offer search engines and users more details on what a page is all about.

Because they offer precise information upfront, they get more targeted traffic and enjoy longer dwell time.

Many rich snippets also qualify for featured snippets. These highlighted results ranking at the top of SERPs are the first thing a user sees. Thanks to their enhanced appearance, they are more inviting.

Thus, they enjoy increased CTR (Click-Through Rate).

Since 2017, when rich results first appeared on Google, there have been constant changes and updates in an effort to make valuable content easily found and accessed by users.

Keep reading our short SEO guide on rich snippets to learn more.

What Is “Snippets” In SEO?

A snippet in SEO is a single result in a search engine results page (SERP). Snippets typically include a title, a URL, and a description of the page.

By definition, ‘snippet’ means a small piece or brief extract.

So, in essence, snippets in SEO refer to the ‘summary’ of a page that appears in search results.

Here is an example of a snippet in search:

Example of a simple snippet in Google search

In an effort to enhance user-friendliness, search results now include rich snippets and featured snippets.

Note: Many SEO professionals refer to rich snippets as ‘SEO rich text’ or ‘Google rich text results.’

What Is SEO rich text? (Disambiguation)

SEO rich text has two meanings:

  1. SEO-rich text snippets (a synonym for rich snippets or Google rich text results) are results that provide additional information for your page’s content: reviews, contact details, etc.
  2. SEO-rich text means optimized texts within the content of a webpage, using targeted keywords and optimized structure.

The two meanings are used interchangeably.

What Are SEO-Rich Snippets? (Disambiguation)

This is another term with 2 slightly different meanings.

  1. In SEO, rich snippets can increase CTR because they are visually appealing and provide more information than a simple result.
  2. SEO-rich snippets also refer to keywords used on a page’s title and description. These words are typically chosen after some keyword research. Optimized titles and descriptions can increase visibility and enhance rankings.

What Are Rich Snippets?

Rich snippets are enhanced search results that stand out among the rest.

Depending on the page’s content type, they offer additional information, like price and availability for products, dates and programs for events, cooking time and ratings for recipes.

Example of a rich snippet with related links, a book list, and an image

Some types of information in rich snippets appear for specific types of content and are displayed differently on different devices.

To have your pages qualified for rich snippets, you need to add extra information using structured data markup on the backend of each page. Such extra information may be the cooking time required for a recipe or book's author.

More rich snippet features appear as search engines optimize the look of search results to create a better user experience.

Today, search engines aim to help users find exactly what they want fast and easy.

Recently, Google started showing additional information about the content of a page even when its structured data do not explicitly define it.

This is currently most common for products and their prices from e-commerce sites, but it may apply to more types of pages in the future.

What Are The Features Of Rich Snippets?

Depending on the type of content, product, or service of your page, a rich snippet provides extra information that commonly includes:

  • Breadcrumbs in URL
  • Lists (ordered or unordered)
  • FAQs
  • Media (single images, carousels, videos, etc.)
  • Product information (price, availability, and stores)
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Related site links and site search
  • Comparisons
  • Basic info, short bios
  • Event dates and program
  • Location, logo, contact details

...and more.

Today, the term ‘rich snippets’ may also refer to various expanded search results, like knowledge boxes, flight searches, shopping results, etc.

Rich Snippets Vs. Rich Results

There is no difference between ‘rich snippets’ and ‘rich results.’ Google and SEOs refer to the same thing using two different terms.

What Are Featured Snippets?

Featured snippets are prominent results that appear at the very top of SERPs, the so-called position zero. They are also known as zero-click results.

The aim here is for users to quickly find what they are looking for without clicking any further. Featured snippets typically include enough information to briefly cover a user’s query.

Example of a featured snippet in position zero

There is no set technique to qualify your page for a featured snippet. For this coveted position, Google generally selects popular websites that depict quality, relevance, and significant topical authority.

So you can diligently work on your website’s SEO in the hope of reaching position zero for certain queries.

Pages that show in featured snippets do not depend on structured data.

Nevertheless, if you want your page to appear with a rich snippet, using detailed structured data, like schema markup, is always a good SEO practice that enhances your CTR.

What Is Schema Markup?

Schema markup is a code standard that most search engines can understand.

It uses structured data to help search engines comprehend and categorize elements and information of a webpage’s content.

How To Make Rich Snippets?

Here are the steps to add information on your page and enable it to appear as rich snippets in search results:

  1. Determine the type of rich snippet you want to add.
    For example: review, organization, music, recipe, news story, video, etc.
  2. Choose the type of information you want to show for this type of snippet.
    For example: business location, book rating, recipe ingredients, etc.
  3. Create structured data.
    There are various ways to do that, and most websites use Schema markup, a code standard supported by all major search engines.
    The most common structured data format is JSON-LD. Other types include Microdata and RDFa.
    Depending on your website platform, you can add a plugin that automatically creates and inserts structured data markup inside the head section of every page.
    Alternatively, you (or your developer) can mark up pages manually.
  4. Validate your structured data.
    Use a testing tool, like Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
  5. After implementing structured data, it will take some time until search engines show (some) of your pages with SEO-rich text results.

It’s worth monitoring which pages are qualified and which are not. This can help you plan your future SEO roadmap with data-driven decisions.

Remember: Even if your structured data is correct and filled with useful information, there is no guarantee that your pages will appear as a rich snippet in SERPs.

Still, you are well prepared in case they do.

Do Rich Snippets Help SEO?

Structured data markup and rich snippets improve SEO in various ways.

  • Structured data helps search engines better understand the type of information on your page and eventually show your pages for more relevant search queries.
  • Structured data is a sign of page quality and topical relevancy - favored by Google.
  • SEO rich snippets take up more space on the screen compared to other results and often include icons, graphics, or other media. They are more appealing and attract a higher CTR.
  • By providing extra information right on the SERPs, you get more targeted traffic by interested users who will eventually spend more time on your page.
    These are both positive signs for Google. They show that you provide valuable information (an important ranking factor.)
  • By making a competitor analysis, you can detect opportunity gaps and be the first to qualify for a rich snippet (for certain keywords). This gives your content a boost in SERPs.

How To Block Snippets From Showing?

If you wish to block some piece of your content from showing in a snippet (rich text snippet or featured snippet), you can declare so in your backend, inside the head of your page. Just add: ‘data-nosnippet’ or ‘nosnippet’ attributes.

Here is an example:

How to block a webpage from showing with a rich snippet

Which Search Engines Support Structured Data?

All major search engines support structured data. In fact, schema.org is a collaboration between Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex. Chinese Baidu also has rich snippets written in another format called “Baidu Open.”

To maximize your SEO effectiveness, check how your rich snippets show in different search engines.

Rich Snippets: Just A Detail In SEO?

For successful SEO, every detail counts. Our approach at Atropos Digital is to work on essential SEO issues while dealing with smaller fixes along the way.

Our clients come from diverse industries, but they all gain higher, more targeted visibility and enjoy lasting SEO results. Contact Atropos Digital to elevate your website’s SEO.

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