When you enter a search term or phrase into Google’s search bar, you’re probably used to seeing the standard result. You see the meta title, the URL and a meta description. Above the organic results you might see PPC ads in a similar format. And between these you might find rich snippets.
What are rich snippets?
Rich snippets are used to bring greater insight to the search experience. If a question can be answered quickly, then a rich snippet will appear. Different searches will generate different snippets. If you ask a question, rich snippets will attempt to answer it.
Here are a few examples of rich snippets in action.
Why are rich snippets good for website owners?
Rich snippets allow website owners to take up more precious space on the SERP without paying for advertising. Holding this coveted spot for high volume searches can help to boost your profile and generate more traffic.
How do I add them to my site?
In searches with rich snippets, you might notice that it isn’t always the top search result which is used to generate the snippet. So, you might rank in the #1 spot for a particular term, but one of your competitors might hold the #0 spot with a rich snippet and then appear again further down the search results.
To add rich snippets to your site, you will need to be using structured data. This is a type of code which gives search engines more information about what the content means. Increasingly, we are seeing Google is taking the proactive step of pulling information from websites to serve as rich snippets.
Websites which present information in a coherent and easy to access way are more likely to appear in the #0 spot. To understand more about how structured data is understood by the search engines, check out this insightful guide from Backlinko.
Will this impact my traffic?
There are some searches that can be answered without leaving the SERP. Where short answers are required, this may mean that users don’t even bother clicking through to your website. They might find the answers they need and then go on their way.
As a website owner, this sounds terrible. After all, you’ve spent time and money building a website that you actually want people to visit. What good are rich snippets if they’re just stealing your web traffic?
According to a Google study, 48.96% of all searches in the first quarter of 2019 were ‘zero-click searches’. This is down to Google’s shift towards instant answers and rich snippets. While you might see your organic website traffic eroded, there are still ways to track your performance.
By setting up Google Search Console correctly, you will have greater insight into your search performance. Not only will you see how many users click through to your website from Google, you will also see which searches your website shows up in. This hidden information can be very powerful.
Remember that clicks aren’t always the end game. If a user is looking for your phone number and can find it without leaving Google, this is a good thing for business. At every point in the customer journey, we should focus on how to make things as simple as possible for the end user.