I) What are snippets
Snippets are a sentence or two that search engines show in the search results below the page title, these are called traditional snippets. As against traditional snippets, sites also use rich snippets. The main point of difference between traditional and rich snippets is that whereas the former uses text (usually pulled from your Meta description tag) as content, the latter can actually add visual or other interactive elements to your search listings.
II) Importance of adding rich snippets
The main function of rich snippets is to describe to visitors what they can expect to find on the page after they click through from the SERPs.
Search engines do not simply match words used in the search query to the keywords used on a webpage. In fact, they try to understand the intent of the search query by understanding the meaning and context of the terms used in the search query like a human.
This is called semantic search technology wherein search engines seek to extract entities (people, places and things) from its database to answer and display personalized SERPs results.
Here comes the role of rich snippets.
Google supports rich snippets for 7 categories. People, Products, Reviews & Ratings, Business & Organizations, (including name, address, contact, geolocation & logo), Recipes, Events, Music.
Adding rich snippets
a) Help search engines to better understand the context of your content (people, places and things)
b) Help to improve your search rankings.
c) Increase CTRs and conversion rates because of a better user experience.
III) Language of snippets
Rich snippets are created by adding special lines of codes called structured data markup to your website. To make sure that all sites are using a common vocabulary to describe the entities on their webpages, structured data languages such as schema.org, microformats, RDFa exist.
IV) Types of schema markup
Search engines support rich snippets markup (schema markup) for – People, Reviews, Products, Business & Organizations, Recipes, Events, Music, and Video-content. Consequently to the above, the following are the most commonly used schema markup.
V) How to add rich snippets
There are several options available to add rich snippets. Google provides you with Structured Data Markup Helper, which you can use to generate your rich snippets following these steps.
I) Decide which page you want to create a rich snippet for.
II) Navigate to the Google Structured Data Markup Helper tool.
III) Select the website tab, choose a content type that represents your webpage, enter the URL of the webpage and click start tagging button.
IV) Structured Data Markup Helper will load two columns, in the left column, you will see a page that looks just like your webpage, in the right column you see a list titled My Data Items.
V) Using the mouse highlight the items listed in the right column within your webpage in the left column, with the item highlighted use the dropdown menu that appears to identify the items.
VI) When you have identified all your data items, generate the rich snippet code by clicking CREATE HTML button.
VII) Within the HTML view, you see several code phrases, this is your rich snippet markup code. Using the HTML view as a reference copy and paste the lines of code into your own webpage HTML.
VIII) Use Google Structured Data Testing Tool to test that your rich snippets codes have been added correctly.
Rich snippets help search engines to thoroughly understand your content, the context of your content, the relevance of your content and this increased understanding helps to boost the rank of your content.