Rich Snippets 102

Rich Snippets 102

Rich Snippets 102 | Blueprint

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:

  • Reviews
  • People
  • Products
  • Businesses and organizations
  • Recipes
  • Events
  • Music

With these types in mind, you can reference the Schemas found on http://schema.org to find your best fit.

Rich Snippets Additional Types | BlueprintFor 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.

By: Samantha Torres
  • Naima

    Great job explaining step by step procedures. It is very easy to get lost in schema.org if you don’t know your way around. With this guidelines, anyone can create successful rich snippets. Thank you for sharing Samantha!

  • Adam Baxter

    Great job breaking this down! Its interesting the categories Google exclusively recognizes. I imagine trying to fit in to those might be difficult, but clearly very important to understand, as well as be aware of the tools available.

  • Elizabeth Weaver

    The Rich Snippet Queen! Very nice article, Sam. It’s interesting that adding too much information here can actually backfire while, so often in SEO, we’re used to providing as much information as possible. Rich snippets obviously make for a very powerful tool. It’s something I’d like to learn much much more about. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Elizabeth Weaver

      Also, do you think rich snippets will be available for any other entity types soon? Maybe even in 2015?

      • Samantha Torres

        Great question! I personally would like to see if Google will roll out support for rich snippets devoted to audio and video objects. Currently, we have some tools for aiding search engines in understanding the content within those types of content – such as an image like alt text and sitemaps for videos – but that still leaves quite a bit of room for improvement. For example, actually being able to link a section of text as the transcript of a video, can you imagine how incredible that would be for marketers? The amount of information we would be able to make understandable to search engines to further our own visibility with our audience! I haven’t heard anything to this nature yet but that would be amazing!

  • Alfredo J. Rodriguez

    It’s interesting to see how much longer Rich Snippets will be implemented by savvy marketers before Google just takes over with their Data Highlighter Webmaster tool.

    Very informative article, thank you!

  • Chuniq Inpower

    I very much appreciate your expertise in this area to help me and others learn about Rich Snippets. These concepts are very important to master especially for ecommerce and as more people use smart phones or want quick access to new information.

  • Rebekah Faucette

    “Falling down the rabbit hole” indeed! The sheer volume of rich snippets available for some businesses is staggering and yet others are scarce. I think you’re completely correct in that it is crucial for businesses to recognize that just because they can create a rich snippet doesn’t mean they should. Great article and I look forward to learning more!