When it comes to search engine results pages, rich snippets are an often underutilized but highly effective means of generating a high click-through rate and getting people interested and excited about your site. After all, when you first search something on Google, the first results are often times the ones with rich snippets, which might be even more proof of rich snippets being associated with high quality sites and SEO rankings. So are you convinced yet? Great! Here’s what you need to know and some great rich snippet ideas to get you started.
What Are Rich Snippets?
It used to be that every single Google search engine results page looked the same: underlined blue heading, green URL underneath, meta description below. Boring, right? Luckily, with the addition of rich snippets, search engine pages have become a bit more colorful and interesting — all while providing more useful information to web browsers. Rich Snippets are those additionally pieces of information that appear on SERPs alongside search engine results, these might be photos, movie times, ratings of a product — information that in the days of yore would have been hidden behind a click. Nowadays though, through rich snippets much of this information is displayed right on the search engine results page. While this often makes results more useful and less bland than the norm, it also has another hidden benefit. Enticing clicks to your site.
For whatever psychological reason, when it comes search engine results, we’re drawn to pictures of people and other rich snippets meaning that we are also much more likely to click on these links than others. Because of this, rich snippets can be a valuable tool for your website in increasing click-through rates. So what are some examples of rich snippets you can use to make your site stick out from the pack? Read on for four great choices to promote your site.
Google Authorship Photos
Probably the most prevalent of the rich snippets on the web right now is the usage of Google Authorship photos, these are (as seen in the above photo) the little photos of people’s faces indicating who the author of the article or site in question is. Often times, by including a picture of a key figure in your company, for example a head dentist for a dental practice, makes a search engine result a lot more personal and welcoming. These also link to Google+ profiles which someone to do business with, people are often looking for a personal connection and someone they feel like they can trust. If you put your face out there with a welcoming expression, people are much more likely to click-through to your site than if you left your search engine result blank.
If your site has the functionality to allow user reviews of certain products or services, you can turn these into rich snippets to appear in Google SERPs. For example, if your site sells toasters and you allow your users to review these toasters, if someone searches for that toaster on Google, they’ll be able to see a rich snippet with review information on that toaster. Though this might seem like a minor benefit, now more than ever consumers are turning to reviews before making purchases of a product or service. Thus, if you can get consumer traffic directed towards your site to read the reviews of a product, they’re less likely to navigate away from a page to make that purchase elsewhere since they’re already on your site. However, in most cases people won’t know that your site has reviews prior to clicking on the link to your site. Therefore, through the usage of rich snippets you can demonstrate this feature of your site and entice potential customers.
Are you a bar or restaurant hosting a special event in the future? Then the Events rich snippet might be a great tool for you. If you’ve ever searched for tickets at your local concert venue or movie theatre, you may have encountered the events rich snippet, when you saw a list of upcoming bands or movie times. Indeed, the events rich snippet allows webmasters to display the dates and times of upcoming events related to that business. This can be a great tool to highlight interesting occurrences at your business that might bring in additional customers. Managed to book that up-and-coming band to play at your bar? Put it in the rich snippets on Google, and your once frequently passed by establishment may soon be hopping with people excited to see this great band. By advertising interesting goings ons at your business, you may be able to draw in consumers that otherwise would be uninterested. One important point though: the events feature is not an advertisement tool. So don’t start advertising your $1 off drink specials on Tuesdays. This rich snippet is supposed to be informational and not a free ad for you site.
I know you’re probably looking at your monitor right now in shock, but it’s true; you can display recipes in SERPs. For most businesses this rich snippet is not going to be a particularly useful technique to use, but if you’re in the food or restaurant business it certainly can be. Putting up a recipe of one of your restaurant’s favorite dishes or starting a small “cookbook” of sorts on your site for dishes that can be prepared at home would allow you to display recipes that might draw in extra customers. Again, the main benefit of rich snippets is drawing in extra attention, but you also may gain a customer if someone stumbles upon a recipe through a rich snippet, loves it and ends up becoming your new best customer.