In the world of search engines everything starts with a click. Increased followers, fruitful business affairs, great shopping deals and even beautiful relationships all start with the click of a button. Competition for these clicks is incredibly fierce given click through rates dramatically drop after the top 3 organic results. Bearing this in mind, it’s important that you do all you can and invest in professional SEO services to make the link to your website stand out from the rest. This is where rich snippets (created by using structured data) come in to play. They are a (relatively) simple way to enhance your listing on Google and encourage your target audience to press it.
What Exactly is Structured Data?
Many websites contain mountains of data and this means lots of code. Structured data is basically code from a web page that has been organised into a format search engines can immediately understand and index accordingly. Basically, the webmaster ‘marks up’ the relevant code by paring a name with a value in the HTML. This organisation of the code means Google can crawl and immediately know exactly what the page is about, instead of having to try & use its algorithms to figure it out on its own. It’s a more advanced technical SEO tactic that’s becoming more and more common in the industry.
For example, structured data can help Google recognise a Company’s contact page as the structured data will include the NAP (Name, address, phone number). A search engine will read this data and because of the structure of the marked-up data, can immediately tell what the page is about.
It’s possible to markup many different types of data such as events, reviews, products and even blog articles.
Below you can see the ‘marked-up’ code we have added to White Chalk Road’s Contact Us page – this defines each element of our NAP.
What are Rich Snippets and Why are they Important for SEO?
Rich snippets are the extra bits of information that pop up on search engine results pages. This is pulled from the marked-up data that’s been added to the websites HTML code. Snippets might include additional information about the website including reviews, pricing, event times and many more. The resulting rich snippet stands out from other search engine results or ‘snippets’ and will give you a better chance to land that all important CLICK. This will inevitably lead to better rankings as Google will recognise your page as preferable over other similar pages.
The example below is for a vegetable soup recipe. Here we can see that the marked-up data includes the title, URL, recipe method and an image of vegetable soup. The visual element make it stand out from the rest of the search results, giving it a much better chance of user clicking through to the recipe.
How do I Create Structured Data and Rich Snippets?
The good news is that structured data and rich snippets have come a long way since their introduction by Google in 2009. Before it would be a tedious and tricky task, only implemented by a developer and limited to certain types of data. Fast forward to 2017 and there are not only heaps more options to mark up (such as reviews, ratings, events etc.) but it’s also been made accessible to the lay person.
Schema.org was a created as a collaborative effort between Google, Bing, Yahoo! and later Yandex in order to standardise structured data mark up across all search engines. It’s like a huge library of pieces of code where you can pick and choose what data you want to mark up, then simply add & edit the code. For example, if you have a website that sells shirts, you could highlight the available colours and sizes in your snippet. To do this you would go to Schema.org/product. select the relevant options you wish to mark up, then copy the code and edit it your own specifications.
It’s possible to add this straight to the HTML code but you can also use tools such as Google Tag Manager or even install a plug in that does all the hard work. The Google Data Highlighter is also a popular option; however, it only marks up data that Google can read, limiting the number of search engines where your rich snippet appears.
If this all sounds a bit too much and rather complicated, fear not! Here at White Chalk Road we’ve had extensive training on structured data, rich snippets and schema.org and are always on the lookout for data we can markup to help increase a client’s CTR (click through rate). Feel free to contact us to have a chat about structured data and rich snippets and we will be only too happy to help.
Kate has more than 12 years marketing experience including managing online and offline marketing campaigns, event management and advertising. Since moving to Perth from her native Ireland, Kate has gained over 4 years’ experience in web content creation, worked alongside iconic WA companies such as Synergy, Murdoch University and PEET and has completed an ADMA Certificate in Digital Marketing. Kate is also a Google Ads and Google Analytics accredited professional.