SEO Policies: How 'Rich Snippets' Can Increase Your Web Traffic

1 July 2013


Berlin: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) policy and best practices change continually as search engines like Google go on to roll out new algorithm updates such as Penguin and Panda. The result is that brands and marketers can no longer take shortcuts. It’s all about building trust and driving quality website traffic that will impact the end result. This comes from improving click-through rates for organic search results, which is where the underutilized function of rich snippets comes into play.

A rich snippet is basically just a small summary of the data that a user can anticipate to see on a webpage. Rich snippets don’t have direct effect on improving rankings, but they add important value to an organic listing in the search engine results and can significantly increase website traffic. They can come in the form of Google author information, review and ratings, products and event notifications.

Rich snippets get better click through rates significantly by improving the look of the listing, offering more information to the user, and rising real estate on the page for better visibility. They help validate precisely what the user is seeking, so when they click through to web pages, they are more likely to stick around. They decrease bounce rate and increase time on site.

Now that we comprehend the benefits, let's consider the two most impactful ways to use rich snippets and how to get started:

Google Authorship

One of the most accepted ways to use a rich snippet is through Author snippets. This relatively new feature enables users to see the author's name, Google+ profile picture, number of followers and links to more content the author has created. Content marketing is the new base for SEO. Guest posts with links back to your site are a great way to improve rankings.

Here are some easy steps to set up Google authorship for guest posting:

  • Setup a Google+ profile. A Google+ profile is a prerequisite for Authorship markup. This is how Google knows you are, in fact, you, and not someone else with the same name.
  • Link to your Google+ profile from your guest posts using rel=”author” tag. Typically, you will want to set up a contributing author BIO page and include the link there. For blogs that allow guest posts, your author BIO and Google+ link will appear at the top or bottom of each post.
  • Link to the article from the Contributor section of your Google+ profile. Now that you have the Google Authorship markup language in your bio on the guest post, we have to complete the connection. This is a simple process. Go to your Google+ profile and edit the contributor section to include the url of the blog where the guest post is being published.
  • Verify the connection with Google's Rich Snippet Testing Tool. Navigate your browser to the Google Rich Snippets testing tool and input the url of your guest post once it is published. The tool will tell you whether authorship markup is present.

Ratings and Reviews

Another useful way to employ rich snippets is for ratings and reviews. The goal of a review rich snippet is to improve the appearance of the listing and give users with review information about a specific product or service, such as the star rating -- 1 to 5 stars -- and the name of reviewer(s).

There are various types of rich snippet code you can have within your HTML to present different reviews. The most common, and easiest to setup is aggregate voting. This lets a user to vote on a product or service giving a score, either out of 5 or 10.

WordPress has great plugins obtainable to achieve this. These plugins will automatically produce and update your rich snippets code each time there is a new review. One of the better plugins to produce rich snippet codes for your web pages is GD Star Rating. There are many plugins that all have the same functionality and produce the same rich snippet code.

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