Google makes many changes to its search engine results pages each month, some noticeable and some not too noticeable. One of the higher profile changes to be made recently is the inclusion of rich snippets. A change designed to provide the searcher with more useful and informative search results, rich snippets can take many forms but are in essence a form of structured content intended to provide more information about the page or business. Common examples of rich snippets are things like a price brand, location, or company name.
Rich snippets are actually incorporated at website level and allow webmasters with certain types of content to label key parts of the information. The labels make it clear that each labeled section of text represents a particular thing. Structured content can be anything from a business listing or review to product information, personnel profiles and events.
As the name suggests, a rich snippet is intended to provide a very small amount of information. But despite their tiny stature, they can be hugely helpful to website publishers as including these labels within the source code helps the search engine to make more sense of the page at hand. The use of snippets in the SERPs also suggests that sites using this type of labeling system for structured content will enjoy greater visibility.
Businesses and Organizations
As a business or organization, providing as much data as possible to the search engine is key if clients are to find you online. If your website has an About Us page or similar, you can mark up each part of the address or contact details using rich snippets.
You can use microdata properties to mark up the name, address (and then subsections of the address such as zip code, locality, region and street name), telephone number and geographical coordinates. This type of data is particularly important if you plan to host an event such as a seminar or to specify the location of your store in Local Search.
Using rich snippets in reviews helps Google to understand the purpose of the text and appropriately display information such as ratings in universally recognized forms including stars or percentages. Properties to be labeled with microdata include the name of the item being reviewed, a numerical rating, name of the reviewer, the date of the review, the review itself, and a summary of the review.
It can be useful to pick out key members of staff on your website and add microdata to help Google recognize and display the information in search results as such. For each person with a website profile, you can specify key contact details such as name, job title, role, and web page. There are also a number of social-media-related snippets such as friend and acquaintance which you can use to identify social relationships.
The ability to flag up important product information such as price and availability is a real bonus for online merchants, particularly at this time of year. The data can be used in Shopping and directly in the search results. Rich snippets for products are varied and include product name, brand, model, description, and category. You can also mark up text to show reviews and offer details (price, price valid until, number of units left, etc.).
Correctly used event properties can help clickthrough rates and even event attendance. The data given to Google helps the search engine to identify that the information relates to an occurence on a specific date, which means it can be displayed as such. You can use microdata to specify event name, location, date (start and end), event type, and duration.