Not all Google search results are created equal, and I am not talking about rankings here. I am talking about the little details that make some more attractive than others. They show little pictures and sometimes author details, drawing the eye better than the others.
These are made more dynamic with the use of rich snippets (you can also read my other article on snippets here or view my deck showing the anatomy of a snippet). Extra details are added in to be displayed in the search results, such as site or review rating, author info, pictures and even video clips. It creates a new focus beyond traditional search engine optimization techniques, as it isn’t about achieving a higher ranking in search engines. Instead, it is about distinguishing itself once it is already there.
Optimizing for Rich Snippets
Google is very good about explaining their rich data support (Bing has good instructions as well but from experience it’s much harder to get a rich snippet in Bing especially if you are not a huge brand website they learned to understand).
Structured Data Markup Helper can show you how to add micro-data to your site.
- Micro-data (recommended)
Useful: To test how well Google can
scrape see your rich data, use their official Rich Snippets Testing tool (as well as this bookmarklet). Mind that this tool only show what structured data Google can or cannot recognize on your page; it doesn’t guarantee the listing will look the same when it comes up in search.
Types of Rich Snippets
Each snippet has their own type. Here are some more details about possible types:
1. Author Rich Snippet
The author snippet includes the author’s name, the author’s picture from his/her Google Plus profile; Google+ followers the author has (Don’t confuse it with “People” snippet that shows profession, location, etc).
How to add: WP Beginner has an excellent tutorial on getting Google’s verified authorship for your blog
2. Product Rich Snippet
Product rich snippet shows price and status of the product (e.g. “In stock”)
How to add: This plugin has product microdata support. That plugin can also be used to add “Businesses and organizations” rich snippet as well.
3. Reviews & Ratings Rich Snippet
(Can be used in combination with Product Rich snippets above)
This one shows star ratings, average rating and total number of votes below the snippet title.
How to add: Here’s an awesome article: How To Add Rich Snippets for Reviews To Your WordPress Blog by MakeUseOf.
4. Recipes Rich Snippet
A recipe snippet works by providing a photo of the food item, (often with a rating from users who have tried to make it in the past). It also shows the amount of time that is takes to make it, and might even show the nutritional information.
5. Events Rich Snippet
Event snippets include the date and the location of the event.
How to add: Awesome Events Rich Snippets for Google plugin
To find out how to do each of these snippets and get the coding to customize your results, check out the official Google Webmaster Tools.