Canadian Internet entrepreneurs can always use a boost in click-through rates from search engines. In this post, Thomas McMahon shares his tips for using Rich Snippets to make your webpage stand out on search engine result pages so you can grab those clicks! Make sure you don’t abuse this trick, however, or it may backfire on you.
Use Rich Snippets to Boost Click-Through Rates
By Thomas McMahon
Improving the click-though rate on your links appearing in the search engine result pages is one of the best ways to improve sales, readership, and page views. There are a number of ways to do this, and many involve trying to get your pages to rank higher in search results through search engine optimization (SEO) and link-building practices, but these are time intensive and expensive. An easier option is to implement Rich Snippets on pages that are already ranking for queries.
What Are Rich Snippets?
What are these easy to apply and powerful tools? Well, you’ve probably seen them already if you use search engines, and especially Google. First of all, a “snippet” (just a normal one) is the text found underneath the big blue links on a Google search results page – a snippet of information, if you will. A Rich Snippet offers detailed information about what is on the page in an eye-pleasing manor.
What kind of information do Rich Snippets provide? That is up to you, as there are a number to choose from depending on the content of the page.
- Ratings and Reviews: If you review anything (baby strollers, maple syrup, chainsaws, anything) you can have the ratings show up as golden stars with your webpage in the search results, as well as how many people have reviewed the product or service. Even if you’re not selling a product directly, you could still have a “review” page for your site or business. Getting reviews can also help rank in local searches.
- Products: Display detailed information about the product such as price, availability, the name of the product, and even a rating for that product.
- Events: Pages that feature information about upcoming events can have the snippets show the date, time, and location.
- Music: If you feature music on your pages, you can have the search engine results display lyrics and even a link to play the song
- Authorship and People: Show basic information like photos and contact details for individuals featured in your pages. You can even claim your content and have your picture show up in the search engine results. Authorship might be the most powerful tool for sites based on content.
How to Implement Rich Snippets
Rich Snippets aren’t hard to implement into a site. Rich Snippet HTML tags simply get added to existing code. Don’t worry, the code won’t make any changes to how the pages look or function – just how the snippets are portrayed in the search engine results. The particulars are a bit dense, but if you’re interested in implementing Rich Snippets read more at this Google help page, and find helpful coding at Schema.org.
While it’s not difficult, it can still be a hassle to go through your site and put in the appropriate tags – especially if you’re not tech savvy – but the benefits of adding RS tags to your site might convince you to bite the bullet.
Increased Click-Through Rate
Showing up organically in Google’s results is only half the battle, the other half is getting people to click on your link and follow through to your site. Ranking highly helps this to happen naturally, but Rich Snippets help grab the searcher’s eye by giving them extra information, and being aesthetically pleasing. A search engine results page without Rich Snippets looks humdrum and monotonous and the only incentives to click on the links are the titles and rank of the link. The eye-catching pictures and extra information that a Rich Snippet provides brings a surprising amount of life to the otherwise bland results page.
Because of the eye-catching information, Rich Snippets help boost the click-through rate (CTR) in a natural, easily implemented way. The CTR boosts are even larger if you operate in a narrow niche and try to rank pages for long-term keywords which have less competition. Depending on the niche, you have a chance of being one of the only people utilizing Rich Snippets, which can make your Google links stand out over your competitors’.
Enabling Rich Snippets won’t make you rank better, but it will help boost the CTR on the links you already have ranking. Since the snippet tags won’t do anything to change the look of the page, you’ll need to make sure that the page fosters engagement. Then if your CTR for that page does improve, people will actually want to spend time on your site.
Do you use Rich Snippets on your website? Please share your experience in the comments below.
Thomas McMahon is a writer and link building specialist who works for Page One Power, a relevancy first link building company. Thomas helps Page One Power provide white hat SEO practices to an international client base.
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In over 20 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and eCommerce websites.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.
I knew about google’s author program but not about all this. Thanks so much!
There are a lot of subtleties when it comes to Google Authorship – glad I could help shed some light on the subject.
Sounds like something we should all be doing. I’ll give it a try.
It’s particularly useful now since not everyone is using rich snippets. You can really stand out in the SERPs this way.
I think it can improve your ranking too, especially authorship. Anything that helps search engines determine your legitimacy has the potential to give you a boost.
That’s a good point, Missy. Although I haven’t seen anything to state that authorship can give you an actual boost in the SERPs – can you point me somewhere that states this? I agree though, making it easy on the crawlers can only benefit your pages. I could see Author Rank being a large factor in rankings once it gets rolled out.