What is a rich snippet?

Rich snippets are a type of structured data markup that allows search engines to better understand what information is contained on each web page. Rich snippets were first displayed by Google back in 2009. Our research at BrightEdge has shown that rich snippets, such as video thumbnails, can increase the click-through rate by as much as 50 percent in certain SERP positions.

What rich snippets does Google support?

As of 2016, Google supports the following types of rich snippets:

  • information about a product, such as its price, reviews and availability
  • recipes that can are compatible with web searches and Recipe View
  • reviews of items or businesses, such as a store
  • events that people might attend at a particular time and place
  • information about a software application, such as price and reviews
  • a video thumbnail for online videos
  • news article headlines, images and publisher information

For example, for a news article, you might see a rich snippet that looks like this:

Rich snippets CNN

For a video rich snippet, you may see:

Rich snippets

Do rich snippets help SEO?

Rich snippets SEO

The regulations that dictate which rich snippets are displayed for which sites are regularly changing. For example, Google experimented with author rich snippets for a few years before eliminating them in 2014.

Video rich snippets were once much more widely used, but in 2014, many brands saw them disappear. While there is a lot of conjecture about why this happened, highly reputable video sites, like YouTube, will still have them appear.

Given the number of changes that have happened with rich snippets in the past, it is likely that there will be more changes in the future. For this reason, you should focus on preparing all your content for potential rich snippets.

To optimize your content for potential snippets, you should use schema.org markup. This has been designed to provide a common system for Google, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo! Use all of the markup data that applies to your site and optimize both your existing content and new content that you create.

The schema markup will allow you to fill in numerous pieces of data about your content. For example, if you are doing a schema markup for an event, you can fill in information such as:

  • the aggregate rating
  • the person or organization attending
  • the time the event will begin
  • the event duration
  • the end date and time
  • the place or postal address
  • the organizer
  • the performer

Getting rich snippets to appear with your search results can help increase click-through rates and boost visibility. Using schema markup can help you maximize your chances for displaying a rich snippet.


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