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Improve Your Blog's Search Listing: Rich Snippets

Posted 30th May, 2014 by Aliysa

As a blogger, you always want your content to be read by the maximum number of people, right? It’s therefore important that your content is not only of high quality, but is highly visible. Yes, I’m talking about SEO - the art of getting your site, pages and posts up the search rankings and as prominent and visible as possible - more ‘clickable.’ One way to stand out is through adding rich snippet information, such as authorship details, to your search engine listing.

What are rich snippets?

Snippets are the lines of text beneath the link of a search result, that summarise what a site or page is about. Rich snippets go further. Rich snippets provide extra information which has been added to your code, that Google (& Co.) can understand. Rich snippets can include all kinds of details for different content types, e.g. recipes - prep time, cook time, ingredients etc. Here’s an example:

Rich Snippet Recipe Markup

This rich snippet contains information for a Chilli con carne recipe, including a rating, cook time, nutrition info and an image (the recipe is really good by the way).

Not only are rich snippets beneficial for users - they provide more useful information for search listings - they’re also equally a great feature for site owners and marketers to exploit. A search listing with rich data is a much more prominent and eye-catching search listing. For instance, a review rating in a rich snippet contains gold stars which can really stand out amongst plain text listings. Increased visibility leads to more clickthroughs, which means your content gets read more.

A type of rich snippet that is particularly useful for bloggers is the Author snippet. You’ve probably seen this before on search pages. With author markup Google pulls information from a posts author’s Google+ page to create a rich snippet. This can include the author’s name, Google+ profile image, follower count and link to their profile.

Rich Snippet Authorship Google

How do I add rich snippet data?

You need to add additional tags (markup formats) to your HTML content There’s three different markup formats to add rich snippet data:

  • microdata
  • microformats
  • RDFa

Schema.org uses the microdata format and a vocabulary that’s shared and understood by the three search engines who collaborated to create it - Google, Bing and Yahoo (search giant Yandex has since joined the gang). It provides one, single way to mark up pages that is sure to be understood by the major search engines.

Schema.org is just one of a number of techniques for marking up information on pages, but it’s the recommended method to go for, as search engines have proclamied they will use schema.org markup data in more ways in the future.

The full documentation can be found on the schema.org site. Google’s FAQ on schema.org, plus their Structured Data Markup Tool are both really handy resources too.

How do I add rich snippets with WordPress?

There are (you guessed it) a number of plugins that make it easy to enhance your search listings.

From what I’ve seen, All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets is the most comprehensive rich snippet plugin. It lets you easily add rich snippet information using the Schema.org method. It adds a ‘Configure Rich Snippet’ box underneath the visual editor, which once filled out adds the specified rich data to your posts as well as a front-end summary box at the bottom of the post itself (the styling of this element can be customised). Eight possible category types are supported, including item reviews, events, people and recipes. The plugin is well supported and equipped with a ‘How to Use?’ tab and FAQs.

If you'd simply like to add Authorship markup to your content, you do not need to install a plugin to do this, you just need a Google+ profile, with a clear headshot of you. It's an easy process, outlined in this guide by ManageWP.

Alternatively, if you’d like to go it alone and get stuck into the code yourself, this guide by tuts+ (you should seriously check out the whole site for brilliant tutorials) goes step-by-step through the manual integration process of Google rich snippets into a WordPress theme.

Categories: SEO, Blogging

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