The search engine optimisation (SEO) landscape moves quickly and although rich snippets were barely on the radar a few years ago, their importance has rapidly increased. The latest SEMrush research indicates that almost 7% of all search engine results pages (SERPs) incorporate a rich snippet. That is a huge number of pages. What’s more, when they do appear, they are securing a significant number of clicks - most of them from the site occupying the number one spot.
So what are rich snippets and how do they work?
What is a Rich Snippet?
In the not so distant past, SERPs were simply populated with URLs, titles and descriptions. Now, however, as search engines have become more attuned to the evolving needs of searchers, SERPs display everything from video and imagery to reviews, sponsored results, knowledge graphs and suggestions for similar questions.
Rich snippets provide searchers with easily accessible additional information, which can inspire a level of confidence in the quality and expertise of the site that will prompt them to click through.
Why are Rich Snippets Important?
Rich snippets are now an essential component of a robust SEO strategy. In short, if you can ensure that your website is displayed in rich snippets, you can markedly increase your online visibility and the volume of organic traffic you can drive from SERPs.
Why? Well, the opportunity to display more information than simply a title, short description and URL is priceless. Everything from showcasing engaging imagery to displaying five-star reviews from your existing customer base can encourage a searcher to actively seek out more information about your business. Given the competitiveness of SERPs in today's climate, this could help you to surpass your competitor brands and ensure that you are viewed as being an authoritative voice within your niche.
There are endless statistics around to back up the importance of rich snippets. One case study, which was designed to measure the value of appearing in a rich snippet, illustrated that a site benefited from a 516% increase in the number of sessions it was driving. Furthermore, its click-through rate (CTR) increased to 8% from 2%, and revenue from organic visitors increased by 677%.
What are the Different Types of Rich Snippets?
To help users locate the information they are looking for more easily and efficiently, Google is displaying a variety of different types of rich snippets in SERPs.
Often referred to as ‘answer boxes’, this type of rich snippet is positioned above the first organic search result but below the sponsored ads. Featured snippets are designed to immediately answer the searcher’s question, which is why they are situated so prominently on the page.
The increase of mobile search has also impacted local search. Local packs show relevant local results so, if you have an office or physical store, being featured in this snippet can markedly increase your local search visibility.
Knowledge graphs are positioned on an image carousel located above the first organic search result or in a large box on the right of a SERP. The information contained within this feature is often pulled from several sources and they are most commonly displayed for organisations, notable people, and brands.
This ad extension allows you to highlight particular services and/or products within your advertisement. Structured snippets support a header and the promotion of a selection of additional features, which will help you to provide searchers with some additional information about who you are and what you can offer.
How Can Securing a Rich Snippet Boost My Business?
As rich snippet results can display more information than a standard listing, your offering will immediately look more appealing to searchers because they will already have confidence that your site contains the content they are looking for.
Additionally, if your rich snippet content is persuasive, valuable and interesting, you will see an increased CTR. This should also have a positive impact on your bounce rate, which will give your SEO an extra boost. Don’t forget, Google is constantly looking at how many searchers click through to your site and how long they stay.
A high bounce rate will tell Google that your site doesn’t have the level of high-quality information searchers were expecting. Conversely, a low bounce rate is a good indicator that visitors like what they see and are willing to spend more time exploring your content after engaging with the initial page they landed on from Search.
Rich snippets can also help you to start forming trust between your brand and your target audience. We all know that trust is a key part of successfully making conversions, so the sooner you can convince your audience that you are knowledgeable, qualified and dependable, the sooner you’ll start seeing positive outcomes reflected in your core metrics.
What Do I Need to Know About Schema Markup?
Schema markup is used to mark-up HTML in ways that allow search engines to understand the content on a web page. Without Schema markup, search engines won’t show any rich snippets on the SERPs, which could be detrimental to your search performance. The type of rich snippet that will be displayed is dependent on the specific type of Schema markup a website uses. There are a huge range of types of schema markup, ranging from recipes and review stars to schema markup for events and places.
Although there is a fairly complicated foundation of coding associated with Schema markup, the results outweigh the effort. Structured data can help your site to secure more prominent ranking positions in SERPs and ensure that your site benefits from the additional visibility associated with rich snippets.
It is thought that fewer than 1% of all websites are currently utilising Schema markup, which illustrates the fact that there is a huge opportunity here for businesses willing to invest in this aspect of their digital strategy. The implementation of Schema markup is a highly technical process, which requires a robust understanding of HTML, coding, and SEO. However, the benefits are simply impossible to overlook.
It’s worth noting that utilising schema markup in order to build rich snippets and start improving your CTR isn’t straightforward. Without an excellent knowledge of HTML code, it’s highly advisable to use professional SEO services as not only will experts get the job done right first time but they can also spot other opportunities for you. The cost might seem higher than doing it yourself, but the savings and benefits you’ll gain in the long soon will far outweigh this initial outlay.