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Rich Snippets and Schema

Here we'll explain How to use Rich Snippets and Schema to improve your click through rate in SEO and so rank better in the search engine results

Introduction to Rich Snippets and Schema

In a nutshell Rich Snippets make the way your website is presented in the search results look a whole lot more sexy and inviting. Webmasters who use it find their click through rate improves dramatically and as this is a signal to search engines about where they should rank you it is a key part of seo.

Rich snippets work in all the major search engines including Bing, Yahoo and Google

From Ashop to XCart, SEO for your eCommerce store is a vital part of improving your bottom line sales and profit, especially in competitive market places.

Who should use Rich Snippets

Everyone is the short answer but especially those who have:

  • Blogs
  • eCommerce websites
  • Websites which review products or services

Rich Snippets and Blogs

There are just zillions of blogs on the web these days so how can you get yours to stand out or be more eye-catching? With Rich Snippets you can add an image of you (the blogger) and a link to more of your writing on other sites.

This is done by creating a Google+ page for yourself and then adding a strip of code to any web page where you contribute as a person. The image you upload on your Google+ page will then show in the search results along with a link along the lines of "More by [Your Name]".

Rich snippets in your code can change how a blog looks in the search results from this:

Blog in search results before rich snippets applied

to this:

Blog in search results after rich snippets applied

Note: - as of late 2014 Google stopped using the authors image as it found this did not affect the way internet users selected a choice in the search results. Strange but apparently true!

Rich Snippets and eCommerce

For eCommerce websites the case for Rich Snippets is even greater. Some of the items that can get displayed in the search results include:

  • the product image
  • the price
  • in stock confirmation
  • Reviews

This all makes it far more inviting for the internet user and as has been said many times - getting into the top 10 search results is one thing, getting people to click through to your website is another!

A Rich Snippets eCommerce example

In the following example we've used Rich Snippets to mark up a standard product page on an eonline shop. Now in the search results it looks like this:

A product page after rich snippets applied

Note the following which is now showing (highlighted by the red arrow in the picture above:

  • Breadcrumbs - the line " > Nickel Cadmium Batteries" are the breadcrumbs for that product. Showing these in the search results offers more visual reasons for users to click through.
  • Product Price and Availability - Shown in grey these show potential customers you are proud of your price and that you have the item ready to ship.

Beyond the fact that you are showing a greater amount of useful information using Rich Snippets also means you are quite simply taking up more space on the search results pages and that makes you much more noticable. As such Rich Snippets are a key way for eCommerce websites to increase their Click Through Rate.

Rich Snippets and Reviews

If your website has reviews on it then Rich Snippets can really help these stand out by showing star ratings in the search results. It doesn't matter how your reviews are rated (percentages, score out of 10, etc) you can format these for the search engines.

A Rich Snippets Reviews example

Note: - as of late 2014 Google stopped using review ratings provided by websites after heavy abuse by many a webmaster. They are now using reviews provided by third party services to a much greater extent instead. For full details about this read my blog post on "Third party review services".

Are Rich Snippets worth it?

It's another hunk of work for sure but consider what will happen if you don't. If you become the only entry on a search results page that is dull and lifeless your Click Through Rate is going to suffer ... and so are your rankings!

The Rich Snippet Google penalty

Such has the abuse been from many webmasters when using rich snippets that Google introduced a penalty if you were caught messing around painting a false picture of your sites content. Full details of this can be found on my How to SEO website under Spammy structured markup recover.

I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimisation and Online Marketing specialist. I created this site to help others understand that SEO is not a mysterious black art!.

If your a newbie try the Getting Started in SEO page, otherwise feel free to dig around and learn more.

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