What Are Rich Snippets?
Google, Yahoo!, Bing, and other search engines are constantly trying to enrich user experience.
Making it easier and more efficient for users to find what they are looking for is the ultimate
goal, and companies have historically been quick to embrace anything that they see as an advancement
in that direction. One of the recent innovations that has been adopted by Google in particular is rich
snippets, small bits of text that can give important facts and receive prominent placement in results.
Additional Data Used To Enrich Your Results
Rich snippets are things which give quick information to people who are looking for what
you provide. For example, it might include movie times, an address, or perhaps the calories
and cooking time on a recipe. These enhanced features are currently supported widely by Google
and can be used for reviews, businesses/organizations, music and musicians, scheduled events,
recipes, products, and people searches.
Gives Quick Information
The whole goal is to improve the overall experience by making the data that people most
want - the "vitals" like who what where when and how - as easy to spot as possible. Searchers
desire to have their queries answered as quickly as possible; if that answer can happen without
the inconvenience of additional page loading times or any other considerations, which leads
to better service.
Pulled From Your Page Content
One of the most surprising things about this data is that there isn't a central location
where you can submit these facts. Instead, they're automatically pulled from your page. But
you'll need to know how to flag particular elements of your site to be considered for these
positions by Google.
Microdata, Microformats, and RDFa
The three primary markup options for rich snippets are microdata, microformats, and RDFa.
All of these are accepted and supported by Google, although the company's webmaster tools recommends
microdata. They are used on your site in the actual page to flag particular elements of the
site as snippets.
Microdata is a form of mark-up like html that describes an element on a web page, like a
product, person, review, event etc. Below is an example of micodata that describes a webpage about a person.
<div itemscope itemtype="http://data-vocabulary.org/Person">
Name: <span itemprop="name"">Stephen Bucaro</span">
Website: <a href="http://bucarotechelp.com" itemprop="url"">bucarotechelp.com</a">
Title: <span itemprop="title"">Webmaster</span">
Itemscope indicates that the content within this <div> is a microdata item. Itemtype
references the schema for a person microdata, and indicates that the content within
this <div> is a person item. Itemprop describes properties of the specific item.
Applications For Search Engine Placement
By themselves, rich snippets aren't likely going to do much for your search engine placement.
They might add a little bit to your ranking simply because they provide additional information
and might encourage more frequent updating to your site as a whole. They may give a slight
boost simply because what they offer a searcher in the initial on-page experience may be more
compelling. But overall, the reason an internet marketing agency will want to use them is for
branding and information purposes. They can provide a lot of detailed knowledge that people
who are involved with your company - or are considering getting involved - want to know.
Beyond that, they give you a bigger presence on the actual page. It makes your entire
snippet look more enticing if it has more detail, and these maximize the amount of detail that
you can present. Although working the code into your content isn't always the easiest task,
the rewards for doing so can be quite substantial.
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