Google Rich Snippets – A Tool With a View

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Google Rich Snippets

What Are Rich Snippets?

Rich snippets are a type of on page mark-up. They are the extra bits of text that appear under search results.  Think of them like bacon bits for search engines.  That extra pop of flavor that differentiates you from the plain old potato next to you.  Are they necessary?  That depends.  Do you want your listing to stand out?  If so, rich snippets are a great way to get your content noticed!

To understand the difference, look at this image of the Google results for search term “Battlestar Galactica”.   The second result is just a regular “snippet”.  The snippet of information that is displayed under the blue hyperlinks on the search results page.  The first result is a “Rich Snippet” and according to Google Webmaster Tools, it offers users a summary of  what’s on the page and why it’s relevant to their query.  Notice the difference?

Battlestar Galactica Google Search Results

Why Should I Care?

Which result was your eye drawn toward?  The one with the pretty yellow stars?  Precisely.  That is why you should care about Rich Snippets.  If that is not enough, then how about higher search engine rankings?  Even in this example, the listing with the Rich Snippet ranked higher than the listing without.

If you are an author, there is even more reason to implement Rich Snippets.  Look at the three search results for the search term “social media marketing”.  Which one are you most likely to click on?  Yep, the one with the smiling face.  Don’t you want it to be YOUR smiling face getting all those clicks?

Types of Rich Snippets

  • Breadcrumbs
  • Events
  • Music
  • Organizations
  • People
  • Products
  • Recipes
  • Review ratings
  • Reviews
  • Software applications
  • Videos

How To Implement

Pick a data format and include the markup in your content.  Google suggests using microdata, as outlined at schema.org, but any of the three formats below are acceptable. You don’t need any prior knowledge of these formats, just a basic knowledge of HTML.

Once your content is marked up, test it using the structured data testing tool.

Google Authorship

Single Author Blog

Remember the example with the smiling face next to his content?  You can be that face!  Well, not THAT face, but you can see your face.

First, you’ll need to create a Google+ Profile with a good, recognizable headshot as your profile photo, if you do not already have one. Then, verify authorship of your content by associating it with your profile using either of the methods below.  Disclaimer:  Google doesn’t guarantee to show author information in Google Web Search or Google News results.

  1. Make sure you have a profile photo with a recognizable headshot.
  2. Make sure a byline containing your name appears on each page of your content (for example, “By Kimberly Reynolds”).
  3. Make sure your byline name matches the name on your Google+ profile.
  4. Verify you have an email address (such as kimreynolds@dashburst.com) on the same domain as your content.
  5. If you don’t have an email address on the same domain, then use Option 2.
  1. Create a link to your Google+ profile from your webpage, like this:
      <a href="[profile_url]?rel=author">Google</a>

    Replace [profile_url] with the your Google+ profile URL, like this:

      <a href="https://plus.google.com/112643716740116237079?
       rel=author">Google</a>

    Your link must contain the ?rel=author parameter. If it’s missing, Google won’t be able to associate your content with your Google+ profile.

  2. Add a reciprocal link back from your profile to the site(s) you just updated.
    • Edit the Contributor To section of your Google+ profile.
    • In the dialog that appears, click Add custom link, and then enter the website URL.
    • If you want, click the drop-down list to specify who can see the link.
    • Click Save.
  3. To see what author data Google can extract from your page, use the structured data testing tool.

Multi-Author Blog

Establishing authorship on a multi-author blog can be a little trickier.  You have several different options.

  1. Have each individual author link to their Google+ profile on each article using: <a href=”[profile_url]?rel=author”>Google</a>.
  2. If your website has individual author bio boxes or uses biography pages, then they can link directly to their Google+ profile.
  3. If you are using a WordPress blog, you can use a plugin like Google Author Link and if you are using Joomla, you can try the Joomla Authorbox.

Note:  If the snippet doesn’t appear in the Webmaster Tools Rich Snippets Test, try checking the url you have entered in the contributing site section on your Google+ profile page.  If url does not include “www” you should try adding it.  I have not found this to be a problem, but some sites do need the “www”.

Conclusion

Rich snippets are a relatively easy to use type of on page mark-up that can set you apart from the competition, increase your click through rates, and possibly, increase your page rank.  Though Google stipulates that marking up your data for rich snippets won’t affect your page’s ranking in search results, and Google doesn’t guarantee to use your markup, they do state that you can improve the rank of your site by creating content that users will want to use and share.  How is that determined, by click-through rate.  Rich snippets increase click-through rate, which results in higher rankings.

 

Have you implemented Rich Snippets?  What’s your experience been so far?  Have they helped you find more valuable content?  I’d love to know your thoughts!

 

Kimberly

Kimberly

CEO at SocialNotz
Christ follower. Social Media Aficionado and Chief Content Creator at SocialNotz. Founder of the Social Media Mentors community on Google+ Website Designer. Technology Geek.
Kimberly

@kimreynolds

Christ follower | Marketing Manager at @SMExaminer | Social Media Strategist for #leftbehindmovie | CEO of @SocialNotz | #socialmedia #StandWithIsrael #2A
Wow! --&gt; How to make 8 pieces of content from 1 piece of content http://t.co/e0aRZBt2Tg by@jaybaer - 8 mins ago
Kimberly
Kimberly
About the Author

Kimberly

Christ follower. Social Media Aficionado and Chief Content Creator at SocialNotz. Founder of the Social Media Mentors community on Google+ Website Designer. Technology Geek.

20 Comments

  1. Nice post Kimberly. Rich snippets ROCK and for WordPress sites, authorship can be super easy to setup if you have a Google+ profile, and what self-respecting forward-looking online marketer/content creator does not already have a Google+ profile?

    Increased CTR and additional targeted traffic should be incentive enough to add this mark-up to your website as part of the businesses on-page SEO strategy.

    As if CTR alone wasn’t enough, Google rich snippets for people, especially authorship, can help grow influence on Google+ while providing authority to that persons content.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Google authorship is a must have for people both starting out and experienced in blogging. Need it, need it, need it! Good job Kim, hope to meet you one day at a social convention sometime! Then I’ll bop you on the head because of this sharebar…aaaaahhhh!

  3. Good piece of info, Kimberly! I am new stepping into Internet and love to read content creation, marketing topics. I got it all understood in just one read. :)

  4. Hi

    I have a stock market related site.

    Does anyone know if you can post rich snippets of the latest share pries ?

    We have our wn XML feed of live share prices

    Thx

  5. Hello ma’am,
    I made rich snippets using email verification method. Everything is right. But there is one thing that i didn’t understand. When used the rich snippet testing tool, I found this,

    Email verification has not established authorship for this webpage.
    Email address on the getastonished.in domain has been verified on this profile: No
    Public contributor-to link from Google+ profile to getastonished.in: Yes
    Automatically detected author name on webpage: Somanath Yadavalli.
    What should I do now? Please help…….

  6. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your content seem to be running off the screen in Ie.
    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you
    know. The style and design look great though! Hope you get the
    issue solved soon. Many thanks

    • Thank you. I can’t replicate the issue. Were you on desktop or mobile? What browser? Thanks for any additional information you can provide.

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