As people are becoming more comfortable with using search engines, primarily Google, to find what they are looking for, they are getting to be quite sophisticated in their queries, thus expecting more complex search engine results. Because of this, Google is constantly developing new ways to provide searchers with the most specific results to their inquiries.
One such way Google has addressed the public demand for more detailed, tailored search results was by developing rich snippets. A snippet is the term Google uses to refer to the information that they return beneath each search result, and a RICH snippet is one that displays more useful, custom-fit information from the web page that matches more closely with the searcher’s inquiry than simple preview text. In the example below, if you were to search “reviews for Cheesecake Factory,” a rich snippet will provide you with more than just the traditional information of the website, but will actually present you with detailed content, more closely related to what you are searching for, such as the number of rating stars the restaurant has received on Yelp, and the price range you can expect.
This enhancement to specific search results gives companies the opportunity to optimize their reach by narrowing down their focus to engage more of their target audience through the use of certain search engine optimization (SEO) practices as a part of their inbound marketing strategy.
The way that companies are able to accomplish this result is by using semantic markup language. Semantic markup is the use of HTML markup to emphasize the meaning of the information on your webpage or blog post. It can increase the chances that the information from your website will be highlighted in search engine results via rich snippets. Basically, it is a way of adding HTML code to your website to allow search engines (especially Google) to better understand what your intentions for each of your web pages are. In theory, this makes it more likely that Google will find your website relevant for the same things you think it’s relevant for.
Using special markup might not immediately or directly improve your rankings in search engine results, but it will increase your click through rate (CTR), on average by about 15%, according to some studies, as your target audiences will be able to find you easier due to the more detailed information your search results are presenting.
Implementing semantic markup for rich snippets also augments your company’s overall popularity through more exposure, and delights your customer’s and site visitors more by providing them with instant information to their query. It could prove to be beneficial for companies to include semantic markup for rich snippets in their existing or new SEO practices.