It’s no secret that Google has performed ample behind-the-scenes work on their search algorhythms to ensure that the most helpful, specific websites are the ones that dominate first page rankings.  One of the newest tools that have become available to business owners is rich snippets, and we believe that this emerging tactic will eventually become a crucial part of every business’s overall SEO strategy.  This article helps our readers understand what rich snippets are, how they can help consumers find you on search engines and what the strategy will mean in terms of optimization purposes.

Understanding Rich Snippets

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Rich snippets are nothing more than a few lines information that are shown beneath a page title in Google’s search engine results.  Snippets can be almost anything; pictures, product reviews, contact information or even a special online offer just for your customers.  This information is uploaded in HTML code so that spiders can tie this information into your page descriptions, and more importantly, to understand what type of content will be shared with consumers.

The main reason the snippets are so valuable to businesses is because it streamlines information into relevant categories that Google can better understand.  While pages without snippets are ranked solely on factors like keywords, total page views, and the amount of time each user spends reviewing your content, pages with this extra code can be further categorized for the end-user.  Even though it is yet to be proven that snippets can increase a page’s overall exposure within the search engines, experts almost universally agree that overall page rank does increase due to the extra visibility alone.

Practical Rich Snippet Uses

Since rich snippets can be used to display numerous types of relevant data and multimedia content, it is a powerful tool for almost any type of business website to gain additional exposure.  Think about it; if a consumer performs a web search for products available in your store, how much more likely would they be to click on your link if a picture of the item, the average retail price or other types of information were available?  Even though this technology is available for about three years now, very few retailers are taking the extra time to embed rich snippets on their webpages.

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It is important to keep in mind that Google verifies each and every snippet on your website to ensure that this technology is not being used to gain extra page views that are not fully deserved.  If the information being displayed in search engine results is deemed to be dishonest or irrelevant, Google will penalize the website and ignore the snippet code completely.  There has not been an official statement by Google on how steep the penalty would be for misusing snippets, but it goes without saying that abusing this technology would not be a good idea.

 The Lasing Effects of Rich Snippets

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Then again, every business with an online presence is looking for every possible competitive edge in order for their products and services to rank higher in the search engines.  Since rich snippets are clearly an indicator of what Google wants in terms of content listings, it would only make sense that making this move sooner rather than later would be smart from an SEO perspective.  As we mentioned earlier, there is no definitive proof, but it can’t be a coincidence that businesses using rich snippets are consistently atop search engine queries.

Besides, embedding snippets into your webpages takes very little time and the rewards can be substantial.  For exact instructions on how to embed rich snippets and structured data into your website, please feel free to contact us directly or check out Google’s support page.