How to Use Rich Snippets to Boost Your Traffic
When your website shows up in search results, are there “rich snippets”—mini-previews that show what the site is all about? If there aren’t, you may be missing out.
These snippets are more than just for show. They increase click through rate (CTR) substantially. So much so, in fact, that a site that ranks #2 for its keyword will actually get more clicks with a rich snippet than the #1 site with no snippet. That’s a pretty mean game of leapfrog.
Often, we see that business owners aren’t sure how to create rich snippets for their website, and many think it’s highly technical. But the truth is creating rich snippets is easy. And it almost always pays off.
Basics of Rich Snippets
You’ve seen rich snippets many times, even if you don’t know it. When a search result contains a summary of a recipe, a preview of a video, or a customized description of what a website is all about, all of those are rich snippets.
Rich snippets are created by dropping a tiny piece of code into your page. This code is a type of “microdata.” For our purposes here, microdata is information that tells search engines about your page content. For many years microdata and other “structured data” markup styles were unregulated, and varied widely from one site or browser to another. in 2011, however, the major search engines (then Google, Bing and Yahoo, later followed by Yandex) sat down and made standardized markup for all of them to use.
That markup is explained in detail at schema.org, but you don’t have to know all of its ins and outs to use it.
Creating Your Snippet
The easiest way to create a rich snippet is to use an automated tool to generate it for you. That way, you don’t have to know any coding yourself. You will, however, have to have access to the HTML code of your website—ask your developer or designer how to access it if you need to.
Once you have access, here are the steps:
- Head to the Schema Creator. A free tool is available at schema-creator.org. This tool was made courtesy of the excellent Raven Tools. (They also offer a WordPress Plugin, so if your site is run by WordPress you can use the plugin and skip the rest of these instructions.)
- Choose your schema. On the left side of the site you’ll see different schema types to choose from. The most popular are “Organization,” where you can show hours and contact info for your business, and “Person” where you can create a mini-bio for a founder/principal. Note that each site or page needs the most relevant type of scheme: it wouldn’t make sense to markup a whole law firm website with the principal’s Person schema, but it would make sense to mark their personal page that way.
- Fill in your info. Whichever type of schema you click on, you’ll be taken to a form to fill out. This will ask for information like the person/company name, hours, contact info, etc. Fill it in as concisely as possible, and double check for typos.
- Grab your code. As you type, code will instantly appear on the right hand side of the page. You’ll see a preview above it, so you know how the snippet will look. Once you’ve filled in all of your information, simply copy the code.
- Add it to your site. Once you have the code you will need to add it to the HTML on your website. Generally, it doesn’t matter where in the HTML you paste it—just make sure it’s not inside of any other tags so that you don’t break existing code. Once it’s there, it will be invisible to people reading your site but highly visible to search engines. (If you want to markup your site as whole, add it just to your main page. This way the snippet will show up in general searches for your company.)
- Test it. It will take a few days before the search engines notice your code, but you can test it right away. Use Google’s rich snippet testing tool to make sure it looks the way you want it to.
Rich snippets can boost your CTR, but they aren’t the only trick in the book. EverSpark Interactive can evaluate your site for over 50 technical factors influencing hundreds of SEO variables and help you rocket to the top of search results. Call us for a free consultation today.