It's been a rather unplanned Google-centric week of Nuggets. These Google developments are important, and many times they go unnoticed unless a blogger makes a big commotion out of them. There are a few more topics we will also cover next week that should be instantly valuable for this Holiday Season.
Today, we'll explain what a Rich Snippet is and how you can use it on your website.
Way back in May 2009, Google introduced Rich Snippets in its SERP as one of the initial steps towards universal search results that show content from a variety of places. The Snippet displays important information about a web page, a product or a business that is useful for anyone searching.
For all their ability to spider, save and process meta data, Google apparently decided that they were going to reach out and let the website owner decide what should be included in the Rich Snippet information.
This was a big step for Google, because they are allowing you, the website owner, to exactly specify what should and should not be on a SERP page. Of course they do not guarantee that your submitted information will show up, but you have to be in the game in the first place in order to win.
Here's how it works:
1. Google provided a set of simple HTML commands that are added to tags throughout your web page.
2. They created a few categories so you could submit your information to the appropriate database. At the time of this writing, they support Rich Snippets for reviews, people, products, businesses and organizations, events, recipes and most recently video.
3. You simply take the setting for the HTML tags for the appropriate category and have your webmaster weave it throughout your site on the appropriate pages.
This sounds easier than it actually is.
We're not talking about programming that any simple content management system would support, at least none that we know of. (Even our own Jewelry CMS doesn't support this right now, but it's on our development list.) This type of programming would require some highly practiced hands and Google understanding because the Google instructions clearly state that if the HTML coding is wrong it will ignore all the Rich Snippet coding on that page. They have a testing tool to help you figure it out.
What does this mean to you?
Let's assume that you have your own review system on your website, not Facebook comments or Likes, but rather your own review database for each product. You could Snippet your product descriptions, price and the reviews and feed them into Google. This is especially powerful if you also include a well known vendor description or style number.
When you apply the Business Rich Snippet information to your site, you will correctly establish yourself as a local business.
When you apply the Events Rich Snippets to your events page, your information will be provided as a current event. From what we can tell, current events have a higher weighted value since they are time sensitive. In other words, if you correctly use this type, you have a better chance of showing up in the SERP for your specific event days.
Putting this all together means:
1. Business Rich Snippets will geo-locate your store correctly and tie in your website to Google Places.
2. Product Rich Snippets will associate your product catalog to local searches based on geo-locating.
3. Event Rich Snippets will associate to your local area, again because of the geo-locating feature.
In conclusion, Google Rich Snippets are a value added way for your website to show up in the search engines. Ask your SEO expert if they can do it for you.