“Snippet” refers to the grouping of content related to one search result on a search engine result page. A traditional snippet contains three sections:
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, PickYourOwn.org is not using any additional markup and shows as a regular snippet. Which result would you choose?
What is Schema.org?
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 Schema.org, founded in June 2011.
Every time I am in need of a new recipe, I always turn to the same place, Google, regardless of how many cookbooks I own. Google has just made my quest for excellent recipes even easier. If you go to Google and search for a specific food or recipe, such as chicken parmesan, blueberry pie, or even pomegranates, you will see pretty typical search results within the body of the page. You may see things like a Wikipedia listing, food websites, Google images, and recipes all mixed into those results. However, if you are interested in seeing recipes only, you can now easily do just that by clicking the “Recipes” link located on the left hand side of the page. This will take you to Google’s Recipe View.
Below is a Recipe View for chicken parmesan.
What’s great about this new feature is that if you know you have limited time or specific ingredients, you can filter the results by cook time and ingredients. If you are counting calories, you can filter by the number of calories as well. For those who are all too familiar with flipping through pages and pages of search results to find a recipe that suits your palate and lifestyle, this feature will make your life a bit easier.
For website containing recipes, this is certainly a good feature for you! As you may expect, however, there is some work required. In order for your recipes to show within the Recipe View and have the opportunity to display rich snippets (introduced in the spring of 2010), you will need to do some coding work. There is quite a bit of information from Google about rich snippets and how to mark up recipe information for you to reference. Following these instructions will enable your recipes to display in the search results with rich snippets or display in the Recipe View, but it will not guarantee that the markup on a page will be used.
Try Recipe View to find something new for dinner tonight, or start working on modifying your website’s pages to help them stand out from the rest.
As you may know, Rich Snippets in Google are a way to serve enhanced data in the “snippet” portion for a site’s organic listing in the SERPs. With just basic HTML knowledge, you can add enhanced data to your organic listings, such as event dates, reviews and customer ratings. This is a great way to entice the user to click on the link to your site and not have to necessarily rely on the automated text-based snippet that Google may pull from the description meta tag, page content or from DMOZ.
What are the real SEO benefits of the Rich Snippets? User experience is one thing, but what are the direct ranking benefits of incorporating them if a regular description served up in the SERPs will suffice? Google is able to interpret the information much better when a site is utilizing the Rich Snippet’s markup language (microformats and RDFas). Microformats and RDFAs are instructions in the code of a webpage to describe a specific type of information (reviews, products, events or a person).
Known as “semantic markup”, this technology tags different parts of the page with code that “explains” to the computer what the data is referring to. A search engine may be able to “see” the instructions for making chocolate brownies on a page, but the semantic markup will be able to explain to the search engine what the data is referring to, and the relationship between different parts of the data.
Here is an example of a site using code to generate a Rich Snippet in Google:
While there are several types of microformats, Google currently only supports 6 major ones. Those are: