So, Google not taking your web page seriously and giving it the respect it deserves? Most cases, it may not know exactly what your page is about. Is it a local business, or does it serve customers nationally. Is it a “how to” or is it a “FAQ”? Either case, it most likely just needs a little TLC, or TLMarkup.
Search engines are extremely smart, but even they can struggle with determining what a webpage is all about. This is where Schema Markup (Schema.org) comes to help out.
The Importance of Rich Snippets
Without Rich Snippets, Google simply displays your website’s title tag and meta description alongside the URL. You can edit the title tag, meta description, and URL to display the information you need to encourage users to visit your site.
The most commonly used type of rich snippets involve adding reviews, star ratings (below), local, how to’s, upcoming events, and even prices or recipes. While Google has stated that this doesn’t directly improve your rankings, it has been shown to encourage more people to visit your site increasing your CTR (click through rate), which can and has indirectly lead to better search engine results and higher conversions.
Types of Rich Snippets and How to Use Them
The type of Rich Snippets you’ll need to use will depend on your business’ needs and goals. The first step is to choose from one of the many types of Rich Snippets available. Once you do that, it’s easy to identify the Structured Markup you need to display your Rich Snippet on search engine result pages.
Let’s look at a few of the different types of schema markup and the rich snippets they produce. Starting with the most common type, review schema markup.
Review Schema Markup
One of the popular types of rich snippets involves including reviews. You can use either individual or aggregate reviews or opt for your overall star rating.
HowTo Schema Markup
Utilizing “How To” structured data, you can explicitly tell Google that your content is a how-to. This will allow you to walk users through a set of steps to successfully complete a task. Along with text, you can also include feature video and images.
Music Schema Markup
For businesses that release music or are in the music industry, add Rich Snippets that include song previews, upcoming release dates, or direct links to albums.
Recipe Schema Markup
As more and more people head to the Internet for recipes, adding Rich Snippets with key information is extremely beneficial to increasing your click through rate. Include the average preparation time, recipe reviews, a simple image, or an ingredient overview.
Events Schema Markup
When your business hosts an event, add a Rich Snippet that has the official name, start and end date, ticket details, and location. It’s a great way to promote your event so that everyone can see the details, without having to search on your website.
Video Schema Markup
To allow previews of embedded video content on your site, add a video Rich Snippet. This helps add relevant information and communicates to search engines about what your video entails.
Depending on the type of company you have, you may also have the option to include other types of Rich Snippets. For instance, if you’re a Google News approved website, you can include top stories or recent events as a Rich Snippet. If you want to highlight people, such as those relevant to your business, you have the option to include Rich Snippets with information on these people.
Using Structured Data for Rich Snippets
The sitemap of Structured date helps search engines learn more about what your content is and how to use it. It communicates all of the small details that might otherwise go unnoticed. This, in turn, tells search engines exactly what you want them to know about your post, image, video, or event. When you enter relevant information in Structured Data, search engines are more likely to create Rich Snippets for you.
The most commonly used markup is Schema.org. It’s easy to use and is supported by all the available search engines. When you use the website, you simply need to clarify the type of markup you want to use then follow the corresponding guidelines.
If you’re more of a Google fan, you can opt for their Structured Data support page. Google’s page is a bit more user friendly, especially if you have no web development experience.
Finally, if you prefer WordPress, then you have the chance to browse hundreds of plugins that will help you identify Structured Data for Rich Snippets. You can also opt to add Structured Data Markup on your own using Microdata, RDFa, or JSON-LD. JSON-LD allows you to avoid adding new HTML code throughout your sitemap, making it easier to manipulate and control.
Ensure Proper Setup
Regardless of how you identify and use Structured Data, you will want to ensure that it’s been generated, validated and setup properly. Start with making sure you are using a quality schema markup generator for generating structured data code. After generating the code, head over to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool for a fast, free way to test out your Structured Data before launching it. The on-site instructions make it easy for beginners to run a test and see what Structured Data is on each page of your website. Plus, if they find anything that seems off, like errors or warnings, they’ll let you know so you can fix it.
The important thing to understand is just because you have your Structured Data prepared, even if it’s perfect, it isn’t always guaranteed to reflect on search engines. It will increase your odds of getting the Rich Snippets you want, but isn’t a sure thing. Google will analyze your Structured Data about 10 to 14 days after it’s optimized, then will show Rich Snippets for a brief period of time. They will eventually disappear, and then reappear. This process tends to repeat for quality control and accuracy, but after about 8 weeks, if you get Rich Snippets, they will be fairly permanent. While the results aren’t a sure thing, it’s worth making the extra effort, as Rich Snippets are extremely valuable for your search engine results.