How to Use Rich Snippets to Improve Your Click-Through Rate

Dec 11, 2014

Rich snippets have been promoted by Google since 2009, and are designed to help search engine users find more information relevant to their query before clicking on a search result. Snippets are the lines of text appearing immediately below a result that provide a brief summary of what the web page is about and how it’s relevant for a given search. By using structured markup code, webmasters can help Google better understand the page content so that rich snippets can be created that provide additional detailed information for the user.

structured data increases ctr

While rich snippets will not actually improve search engine rankings, the additional information contained in a rich snippet can improve click-through rates by convincing the user to choose one particular result over another. The more relevant and useful a result is believed to be, the greater the likelihood that it will be selected over results that provide less detailed information. Rich snippets can provide you with the additional ammunition that will get your result clicked on.

In a case study for a food blog, the addition of rich snippets specific to recipes and reviews resulted in a 150 percent increase in clicks to the site over time, and dramatically increased the number of visits and page views.

What Type of Content is Supported by Rich Snippet Markup?
Google presently supports rich snippets for a number of different content categories such as

  • Reviews
  • Recipes
  • People
  • Products
  • Businesses and organizations
  • Music
  • Events
  • Video content

How to Implement Rich Snippet Markup
The first step is choosing a markup format. Google recommends the use of microdata, but supports microformats as well as RDFa. While you won’t need prior knowledge of any of these formats to successfully apply rich snippet market code, you will need to have at least a basic understanding of HTML.

Make sure that the content you are marking up is supported by Google. An updated list of supported content types as well as detailed information about marking up specific content can be found in the Google Webmaster Tools suite.

Once your content has been marked up, use the structured data testing tool within the Google Webmaster Tools suite to ensure that your data can be properly read and extracted by Google.

As an alternative to adding HTML markup to your pages, you may choose to use Data Highlighter to help Google understand your pages. The Data Highlighter allows the pertinent data fields on your page to be tagged with a simple point and click action of your mouse.

Which is the Best Markup Format to Use?
HTML markup might be the best choice if you want more control over how Google interprets the various types of supported content on your web pages, or if you want other search engines besides Google to be able to understand your content. If your website structure is subject to frequent change, HTML might be the best way to go.

Structured Data Markup Helper is a good choice if you have the ability to update page HTML markup but prefer not to have to write it from scratch. Structured Data Markup Helper also provides more control than Data Highlighter in terms of how Google understands your content, and will enable other search engines to understand your content.

Data Highlighter is useful if you’re not prepared to commit to updating HTML markup, or if you’re unable to change the HTML markup on your site.