Rich Snippets: The Best SEO Tool You Aren’t Using
Much to the frustration of small business owners and digital marketers like me, it feels like a never-ending battle to keep your content visible to search engines.
Your mission is to keep the Skynet robots at Google happy. The best way to do that is to play by their rules, but the rules and algorithms which impact SEO are constantly changing so it is not always clear what you need to do to stay on top.
That’s why we are always reading articles by industry leaders, looking for the next tip or strategy, applying it before “everyone” is doing it.
One big SEO tip has been making its way into the headlines of the SEO experts over at Moz and Elegant Themes and is being touted as one of the single most important SEO tools out there: Rich Snippets.
Although you may not know much about this useful SEO tool, it is extremely likely that you have already run into them several times before and didn’t even know it. Seriously, they are that innocuous.
But what exactly are they and how to they work? Let me tell you a little bit more about rich snippets and give you some SEO tips on how best to incorporate them into your website, blog posts, and landing pages.
What are rich snippets
When you think about rich snippets, think FAQs or another piece of important information. Rich snippets are designated sections of copy that you can drop into blog posts or landing pages.
These snippets, like a FAQ, should be loaded with keywords and pose questions and answers that can be found on the page. You want these to contain the important keywords of the post or page because of the special attention these snippets get. But, we’ll get more into that later.
Don’t think that you can throw caution to the wind and over stuff keywords into rich snippets. Just like when you are writing a regular blog post or landing page, over stuffing keywords only to try and rank higher is a trick that won’t necessarily work.
Visually, it gets a little bit of help too. Once the snippets are placed on the page, that content is grabbed and pulled to Google. So, when you ultimately search the question you are trying to answer, it’ll look like this.
Why are rich snippets important?
When Google looks at a page, it looks for distinct elements on the page that it will assign more weight and value to. For instance, a keyword located in a header is more distinct and will be easier for search engines to grab on to. The idea is the same with rich snippets… at least on WordPress.
Here we have finally come to the rich snippet caveat and yet another reason in the long line of why WordPress websites are excellent for small business owners: true rich snippets are only capable of being created on WordPress websites because the platform supports rich snippet plugins.
How WordPress helps give rich snippets extra SEO value is a little technical, but essentially since the content is separated inside a plugin, it is easier for the content to be found and indexed by search engines. It gets its own extra value, like headers.
You could technically make work-around rich snippets by putting this information into an accordion inside a distinct box of copy on a non-WordPress site, but it won’t have quite the same effect. And with accordions, you may actually be hiding the content from Google instead of making it stand out.
More helpful, however, is the fact that since the content is posted in a form that is more likely to be searched word for word. Think about it, many searches people submit to Google are in the form of a question. “Why is my toilet running?” “How do I fix a drafty window?” “What time is tonight’s show?” “Who is hiring HVAC technicians?”
How Can You Use Them?
Because of how easy they are to create and drop into a blog post or landing page, I strongly urge you to consider how you can incorporate rich snippets into your content. There are several options out there for free rich snippet plugins for WordPress, though we have taken to using one called Structured Content.
The best place to start is by simply reviewing the content you already have on your site. You may be surprised by how many old blog posts you have that probably already lend themselves perfectly to adding FAQs. Look for any blog posts where you have answered specific questions, either directly or indirectly, and drop the questions and answers in at the bottom.
The bottom of the page is both the perfect and logical spot for your rich snippets. The rich snippets placed at the bottom of a page serve as a great recap for the reader once they have gotten through the entire page. This placement may easily be overlooked by the reader, but will still be found by search engines.
Your blog posts aren’t the only existing areas on your website where you can easily drop in rich snippets. Since these rich snippets essentially serve as FAQs, use them on your FAQs page. It’s likely that your FAQs are just laid out on the page right now, but moving this content to rich snippet blocks will help give them that little extra bit of visibility.
Last but not least, start thinking of content you can regularly create that can take advantage of rich snippets. Plan future blog posts that answer a question and can include an FAQ or two at the bottom. Not only is this a good plan for creating helpful blog posts but it also allows you to easily take advantage of rich snippets.
Don’t forget, rich snippets are more than just FAQs. If there is a specific group of information that you want Google to pay attention to and help people find easily, you’d be best served to drop it in a rich snippet. Event information, job listing, hours of operation, and anything else important to your site can fit perfectly inside of a rich snippet.
Staying on top of SEO algorithms and the tips and tricks that will help your website with organic search visibility can be pretty dizzying. But, for the time being, rich snippets are one of the easiest and most impactful updates you can do to your website and content to increase SEO value.
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What are Rich Snippets?
Rich snippets describes content placed inside a specific WordPress plugin to create a custom section of a landing page or blog post that asks and answers a question relevant to the page, much like an FAQ, or holds other relevant information like job listings, event information, and more. These sections are more easily indexed by search engines so important keywords used within a rich snippet can help boost the page’s SEO value.