Rich Snippets & Part I

Melanie Wahl - November 22, 2011

“Snippet” refers to the grouping of content related to one search result on a search engine result page.   A traditional snippet contains three sections:

  1. The Title Tag — Pulled from the landing page to which it is hyperlinked.  
  2. The Landing Page URL — Not hyperlinked.
  3. Descriptive Content — This content is usually sourced from the meta description tag.

As search evolved, new ways of displaying search snippets surfaced.   “Rich Snippets” were introduced on May 12th, 2009 in the Google Webmaster Blog post entitled “Introducing Rich Snippets.”   This blog post explained the fundamentals of Rich Snippets which very simply is, by adding markup formats (such as microformats) — some extra code for the non-technical readers — Google and other search engines can “see” extra data about your webpage that may be interesting to a searcher when viewing your snippet; the search engine can then pull that identified content and display it with that snippet.

By adding some additional code, everyone wins.   Searchers using the search engines find more information about what they want, search engines are happy that their users are happy, and your business benefits from more traffic as more searchers click on your enhanced snippets (Rich Snippets).

The following example, in excitement for Thanksgiving, is the search engine results page for the Google query “Pumpkin Pie.”   As you can see, All Recipes is using markup formats in their code so that their Rich Snippet displays their recipe’s image, star rating, review count, time to make, and calorie count.   One ranking above it, is not using any additional markup and shows as a regular snippet.   Which result would you choose?  

Rich Snippets & Part I

What is

Rich Snippets are wonderful, but each search engine chose to read markup formats differently, that is, until Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex (the largest search engine in Russia) banded together and made a website filled with schemas that each search engine taking part would recognize.   Webmasters can use the agreed upon markup formats on their pages to provide searchers Rich Snippets.   That website is, founded in June 2011.      

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