Whether you know them as Semantic Markup, Schema or Rich Snippets these elements of basic code are one of the things that can work behind the scenes to boost your website and increase its performance on search engine rankings. But what exactly are they and how do they work?
Understanding Rich Snippets
A rich snippet is used to define the content of a website so that a search engine can understand what it is all about. Once it understandings, then it can direct the appropriate traffic to the website and accurately display it in the search engine results pages or SERPs. Without this presence, it is much harder to get people to come to your website because it will be effectively invisible.
But what does it look like? To give an example of a recipe website a rich snippet would include a picture of the dish in question, a star rating of the recipe and a couple of lines intro to the recipe. This allows those busy little search engine bots to know that the website is about food, what type of food and that it is popular with other users of the website.
In fact, there is a range of different types of products and services that need a good rich snippet to get their traffic. These include a place or business, a person, a product, an event, an organisation and a creative work such as art, crafts or fashion.
Benefits of Rich Snippets
While the rich snippet of a website doesn’t directly improve website rankings on the search engine, it does increase the clickthrough rate or CTR. This is because more customers or visitors will be drawn to the rich snippet of the site and the increase, according to some studies, could be as much as a 15% increase. Add this up over time and it can amount to a worthwhile increase in traffic.
One of the best examples of a rich snippet that works well is an authorship markup. This allow a person photo to appear alongside the pages you have authored and by your website. This makes the website seem more personal and interesting, rather than a generic, faceless creation.
Another example is a local business schema and a geotag, both types of semantic markup. These are great for local businesses that want to bring traffic to their physical business as well as their websites. Geotagging your location helps the chance of your business appearing in local listing.
Finally, testimonials are a useful snippet and make use of the modern word of mouth. A good review from a real customer will help instil confidence in your service or product and make them more likely to follow your link to the website.
There is no conclusive evidence either way that rich snippets and other markups have an effect on the SEO of a website. But the view from experts is simple – if it might help, make use of it and hopefully the results will be positive.