Rich Snippets 102
Now that we’ve learned what rich snippets are and what they can do for online visibility in my previous article, let’s take a deeper look at what information can be highlighted.
Picking Your Type
To start implementing rich snippets, you must determine what type of entity your site, or even a single page, is. These types are set by Schema.org and the options are endless. It’s important to remember that Google and other search engines only recognize types in the following categories:
- Businesses and organizations
With these types in mind, you can reference the Schemas found on http://schema.org to find your best fit.
For many brands and companies, the obvious category is businesses and organizations. But that entity type doesn’t give much information about the type of business or the products and services they sell. To find your best fit, you can take a look at http://schema.org/Organization.
First, you’ll see a table with many different properties that can be used to describe the organization. Keep scrolling down the page until you find “Additional Types.” This will allow you to dig further into identifying your particular type. For example, if your company is law firm, you’ll want to be sure to use the entity type of “Attorney”, not just an “Organization.”
The more specific you can be, the better. Because of the standardization of rich snippets, search engines can gain more understanding about what an attorney is versus the local flower shop (another available schema).
When looking to find the perfect entity type, keep in mind to exhaust the list of Additional Types.
Describing Your Company
Now that you’ve selected your ideal entity type, it’s time to look at the various ways you can describe it.
When looking at the page dedicated to your particular schema (the URL should look something like this: http://schema.org/Attorney), you’ll see a large table with columns labeled “Property,” “Expected Type” and “Description”. This is where you’ll find all the points of information you can use to describe your entity.
The majority of this table is self-explanatory and lays out the information cleanly for you. The one important item to note however is the Expected Type. This field is very important for being able to correctly fulfill the information in a way that search engines can understand. This may sometimes be a simple string of text, URL or another entity with its own schema.
Nested Rich Snippets
Stacking these entities is called nesting. The most commonly used example of a nested entity acting as a property is the Postal Address. When noting the address, you need to first identify the address property of your original entity, then establish the address as an entity of its own. This sounds very complex when spoken about in abstract, but is quite simple to implement (which we’ll go over in the next installment).
The most important concept to understand with nesting is following that particular schema’s properties and understanding how it relates to the larger schema at hand.
Unexpected Information Types
Lastly, items like duration, date and measurement require specific markup to be properly understood. For example, to show the open hours of a local business to be Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 5:00pm, the code must follow ISO8601 standards. If this is the case, Schema.org gives examples and resource links on learning how to properly notate these points of information.
Be Careful of Falling Down the Rabbit Hole
As you begin identifying the points of information you can notate using rich snippets, be sure to keep a level head of how much info you add. With rich snippets, it’s easy to “fall down the rabbit hole” and keep finding more and more information to add.
Keep in mind that currently Google and other search engines do not let us marketers and business owners select which information will show in a search engine result so limit yourself to the top points of information that are most likely to convert a customer.