Rich snippets have become an important tool for businesses. They serve as a preview for websites on search engines, providing a snapshot of sorts to entice the user into visiting the site and, in the case of businesses, potentially making a purchase. The rich snippet serves as a mini-summary of what the business provides, if they happen to have any special offers in progress, and perhaps their location and target audience too.
According to Craig Tennant, Online Marketing Manager at Manchester SEO agency Epic New Media, rich snippets are important tool that increase visibility on Google.
"Using rich snippets correctly can lead to an increase in the amount of space that your website occupies in Google's search results.
"Google will highlight your rich snippet in its results and it will appear larger on-page compared to your competitors. This will lead to more clicks and traffic to your site."
Rich snippets serve almost as a mini-Google (I was going to say a "Google+" but they already have that name taken!), because they are providing extra information, albeit condensed and summarised, on top of what the search engine page is already telling you about a website. Whilst any website can use them (such as a blog or a social networking site), it's most useful for businesses, because a rich snippet might just be the final twist required to convince a potential customer into visiting the site. After all, to a business, every web user is the same when they first enter the site; it's only once they are there that they can become customers, and perhaps regular customers in time.
Mind you, it's all well and good having rich snippets, but the only way they can prove to be a success is if you are using relevant, punchy and eye-catching content. It's not enough to say "COMPANY X MAKES ITEM Y IN LOCATION Z"; you have to really sell the unique selling point (USP) of the business. Tell people you're the best at what you do and why you're the best by highlighting a particular service or even a particular employee. Something, anything, which is going to increase the chance of your rich snippets positively impacting your organisation.
Now, if you want to ensure that your rich snippets are effective and successful, the first thing is to use Google. Google uses Structured Data Report, Data Highlighter and Structured Data Testing Tool as a way of discovering statistics which will ultimately help in promoting what it is you are selling. The snippets will be on Google, so take any extra input from the site that you can!
You also have to consider what it is you are selling. Regardless of the service, the location or the target audience, the goal remains the same: to generate more sales for your business. What is it about your product line, your delivery, your terms and conditions etc which make you the go-to within your sector? Could you emphasise payment methods? Might there be special offers which allow you to stand out from the competition? These and similar factors are the things you should be looking to highlight within the rich snippets.
The last thing to remember is that rich snippets form part of the process rather than a completion of the journey. Once a user is on the site, make sure they're wowed to the point that they become a customer. Think of Google as the place where one friend suggests to another to enter a shop, and think of the website as the moment when they decide to make a purchase. The bit in the middle, where the friend manages to persuade their pal to go in; that's the embodiment of what rich snippets do.