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Optimizing for Rich Snippets | TomTalks




So today, with the help of some really horrible whiteboard drawings, I wanted to talk about something that comes up a lot when I'm talking to clients, that a lot of people see but not many people understand that well.

And that's rich snippets.


I get the question a lot: "How do I get rich snippets?" And to be honest, it's not something you have a whole lot of control over, but we can talk about how that works.

To start with, what is a rich snippet?


Using the recent movie 'La La Land' as an example, you can see a star rating as well as two expanded options underneath the result.

Rich snippets can come in the form of star ratings, a link to the menu, and images underneath the search result.

And we want them because they are going to have a much higher click-through rate.

Not only are they bigger, more attractive, and catch your eye, on a basic level you are getting more real estate on the first page.

So the question always arises, "how do I make Google present my site in a rich snippet?" And you can't, you can't make Google do anything. Google decides when and why to serve up a snippet in result to any kind of query.

So, what you can do is you can encourage it.

Structured Data

The one way I want to talk about doing that is by using structured data. Structured data is simply putting extra tags into your HTML markup that define specific parts of your page.

First of all, there are a couple different ways to do that. The most common and accepted is is a standard that gets used now, and it's a site with pages full of vocabulary or tags.

And so, for example, 'product' has its own vocabulary. 'Restaurant' has its own vocabulary. Each of those is on a different page.

What I can do, if I have a product on my website, I can put in a tag that says: "<itemscope itemprop" it's not important for you to know what that means right now, equals, and then reference that web page, so

So you've now indicated to a search engine that that is the vocabulary that you will be using.

Then, there are properties. If, for example, I want to highlight the name, the image and the price, and the rating, I can put a property around each of those. That can go in a regular HTML tag, or you can create a 'span' just to accomplish this.

For example, if you have a 'div' that contains the address, I can, within that div tag, say, "itemprop=address' for example. Or I can put a span around a phone number.

<span itemprop="phone">

So basically what you're telling, in the code, is saying that this is what's what.

And now search engine's can see exactly what's on the page, and what parts of that they might want to serve up to a particular query.

Now, doing this does not, by any means, guarantee that you'll get a rich snippet. It's best practice, again, you can encourage it to happen that way. I should also say that there are different ways to do schema tagging, let alone other methods of markup data.

If you want to learn about this, you should go to, and read all about it.

It gives you examples. You can easily look up whatever it is you're trying to mark up.

There are a lot of other kinds of what you could call rich snippets. In particular, I get a lot of questions about local results, for example. You get the local box, or a specific business in that big box off to the right-hand side that gives you all kinds of information. That's largely different, and has to do with local SEO, which something that I think we will cover in another episode of TomTalks.

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