A Guide to Rich Snippets and SEO

Rich snippets have become a staple in search engine results pages. They are major search engines like Google’s way of giving its users the information they’re searching for in the most efficient way possible and to prevent them from scrolling endlessly through Google’s search results.

In recent years, featured snippets and other types of rich results have taken up more and more real estate on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), changing the way SEOs and marketing professionals define a “#1 ranking”.

Depending on your search query, the first organic listing you see could take quite a lot of scrolling – depending on what device you’re using, the number of Pay Per Click (PPC) listings, and the rich snippet results.

With Google’s changing search landscape, there’s a huge opportunity for businesses to hone in on rich results and improve organic visibility and clickthrough rates through technical SEO. Used properly, they are a great tool to have in your arsenal.

In this article, we’ll give you a complete guide to rich snippets, including:

  • What are rich snippets?
  • Types of rich snippets
  • How rich snippets impact SEO
  • How to create rich snippets
  • How to test your rich snippets

What are rich snippets?

Rich snippets, or rich results, are search results with additional data in the listing – this could be anything from reviews, specific answers, images, local results, and more. As a result, they usually stand out in SERPs.

Rich snippets can be pulled from the schema markup of a page or your page’s actual content. The main goal of rich snippets is to let you the content on your web page in a more prominent, visual way in the search results.

With the increase of these opportunities for Google to provide answers directly in the SERPs, there’s been a huge increase in no-click searches for terms that include: People Also Ask, reviews, and featured snippets, to name a few types of snippets – so it’s crucial to consider these options for ranking as a part of your core SEO strategy if you want to see a growth in click-through rates to your site.

Rich Snippet Types

There is a wide selection of rich results types, depending on your site and making sure it is clear and users can understand your content. Some topics, like recipes, also come with other types of rich results like the carousel! Some common types of rich snippets include:

Recipes

Recipe listings are a basic, visual way to improve the visibility of your website in SERP’s. These appear in a recipe carousel and can be added as additional information using schema markup.

Recipe rich results

Business Listings

Business listings can help you showcase your business during branded searches. This allows you to take up more visual real estate on the SERPs and provide relevant information to search users.

Business listings - rich results

Products

Product rich results give the customers all the key information they would need about a product, directly on the SERPs. These can easily be added using Product schema markup

Product schema - rich results

Knowledge Panels

Knowledge panels and knowledge graphs help Google quickly present the information a searcher is looking for. These can help with informational intent search terms.

Knowledge panel rich results

Local 3-Pack

The local 3-pack appears for local search results and is a valuable local SEO tactic for small businesses. When users are looking for a business near them or a certain type of business. To appear for a local 3-pack, a Google My Business listing must be made.

Local 3-pack rich snippets

Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are most commonly found on long-tail keyword searches. They provide a user with a direct answer to their question, or search query. These can only be acquired by creating high-quality content that directly relates to the search query making them highly coveted in search engines.
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Featured snippets - rich snippets

Video

Video listings are becoming more and more prominent for search terms across Google. Structured data markup for video allows Google to understand what the content of your video is about, and help it appear in rankings for relevant queries potential viewers are searching. Make sure you are detailing all the additional information needed on your videos to optimise their chances of becoming a rich snippet.

Video schema - rich results

Job Listing

If you’re advertising a job on your website, you can get it to appear as a part of Google’s listings for free with schema markup.

Job listing - rich results

Rich Snippets and SEO

Since 2018, “rich results” have been an increasing focus of the SERPs. Nowadays, rich snippets take up more and more on search engine results pages, resulting in a lower click-through rate for regular, organic search listings as fewer people click on actual sites when the information in a featured snippet is all they need.

This is changing the way we think about a number 1 listing.

Quality SEO is all about gaining attention on the SERPs, and rich snippets give website owners an extra layer of information to provide to searchers, making your search appearance higher in relevance to a particular query.

Rich snippets can help website owners and marketing professionals gain greater organic visibility on Google search results, and make up for lost web traffic or lower Click-Through Rates (CTR).

Do rich snippets affect SEO?

Targeting rich snippet results for your SEO strategy is a great way to give your website pages a boost in SERPs. While landing these rich snippets can have a major impact on your click-through rates, organic traffic, and user experience, John Mueller has confirmed that rich results don’t directly impact search rankings.

Though, more recently, in a Google Hangouts meeting, Mueller suggested that down the line we may see rich snippets impact search rankings.

So, while it’s a great method of attracting organic search visitors through the SERPs, it won’t make or break your SEO strategy – for now.

How to Create Rich Snippets

Rich snippets can be gained in a variety of ways. The primary way is through schema markup, though John Mueller has confirmed that having structured data isn’t completely necessary for you to appear in a rich result.

The first step in creating a rich snippet is to identify what area of your landing page you want to focus on. Is it a review? An FAQ section? An upcoming event?

Whatever it is, find the corresponding structured data type to focus on – there is a HUGE number to choose from to create a rich snippet, so you’re almost guaranteed to find one that applies to your website’s landing page. These include:

  • Product
  • Review
  • Recipe
  • Local Business
  • Organisation
  • Person
  • Video
  • Event
  • News Article
  • Blog
  • FAQ
  • & many more.

You can find a full list of schema markup types here.

Once you’ve identified the relevant schema, you should fill out all the required fields of your structured data markup as completely as possible. One of the simplest ways to do this is using Merkle’s schema markup generator tool. It lets you quickly and easily fill out all the required parts for your chosen schema, and then simply copy the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) code, and add it to the HTML code of your page.

If you’re not a coder, don’t fear! There are several plug-ins available that can help you simplify adding JSON code to your web pages.

Keep in mind that rich results are not guaranteed, no matter how thorough you fill out your schema. It’s also an ever-changing landscape of the real estate, so while you might appear for a rich snippet for a few weeks, you may find the SERPs – and rich results that are featured – change over time.

Rich Snippets Testing

Google has made it easy for site owners to test and check up on their schema markup and rich results with their Rich Results Testing Tool. Simply enter the URL you want to check, and it will display all associated schema and rich results that you’re eligible for to become a featured snippet.

You can even check your JSON code before applying it, just to ensure you’ve filled out all necessary fields and haven’t missed anything.

It’s a super handy rich results testing tool that’s great for those who are just getting started.

Why we care

At Tecmark, we’ve been shifting our focus over the last year to identify what parts of SEO are making things tick. While rich snippets have been important for a few years now, recently we’ve noticed an uptick in appearances for more and more varying search queries.

The landscape of Google’s first results page is entirely different than it was a few years ago. Website owners and marketers who want to take on an SEO campaign should redefine how they think about number 1 rankings, and devote more time to understanding the SERPs for their target queries, and how they can dominate them.


If you’re looking for a targeted approach to occupying competitive SERPs, our Manchester SEO agency can help. Get in touch to see how we can help.