Various search engines such as Google keep rolling out algorithm updates like Penguin and Panda. This requires related changes in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies and organizational best practices. Marketers and brands need to keep working on ways to build trust and drive web traffic of high quality which will bring results. This can happen by utilizing the functionality of rich snippets.
Rich snippets are small summaries of data which a user expects to view on a page. They do not directly improve rankings, but add value to organic listings in search engine results, leading to a substantial increase in website traffic. Snippets may be Google ratings and reviews, author information, products, and event notifications.
Your click through rate and web traffic can dramatically improve using rich snippets because they improve how the listings appear, provide more information, and increase the webpage area for greater visibility. They help identify the exact requirements of the user and make him stick around for longer periods.
Let’s have a look at two of the best ways that rich snippets can be used:
A popular way in which rich snippets are used is via Author snippets. This feature is relatively new and allows users to view the author’s name, his Google+ profile picture, how many followers he has, and links to his other content. Content marketing appears to be the new basis of SEO. Posts from guest authors which link back to your website can help improve rankings in a big way.
To get started with Google authorship for postings from guest authors:
- Create a Google+ profile which is required for Authorship markup. Google identifies you with this and keeps you distinct from others bearing the same name.
- Use the rel=”author” tag to link your Google+ profile with your guest posts. You might want to create a BIO page for a contributing author and add the link within it. For blogs with guest posts, your author’s bio and a Google+ link will appear with each post.
- Create links to articles from your Google+ profile’s contributor section. Once the Google Authorship markup language is included in a guest post or bio, you need to get a complete connection. For this, go to your Google+ profile’s contributor section, and add details of the blog which includes the guest post.
- Run the Rich Snippet Testing Tool from Google to verify the connection. This will let you know if authorship markup exists.
Once everything is properly set up, you can run a search operation for your posts to view the results.
Reviews and ratings
Another way of using snippets is for reviews and ratings. Review rich snippets aim at enhancing the appearance of a listing and offer review information about specific products or services, like the name of the reviewer and the star rating.
Various types of snippet codes can be included in your HTML to display the reviews. A common one is aggregate voting which allows users to vote for a service or product by assigning a score.
WordPress offers great plugins for this purpose. These automatically generate rich snippet code each time there’s a review added. GD Star Rating is a good plugin for generating rich snippet code for web pages. You’ll find many others offering the same functionality with the ability to generate similar code.