Rich Snippets: Everything You Need To Know In 2020 [With Case Study]

Rich Snippets Complete Guide

Want to learn how rich snippets can help you get more traffic from Google?

You’re in the right place!

In this guide, you’ll find out:

  • how rich snippets will help your website stand out in today’s crowded search results,
  • how to get them,
  • and how that extra search visibility will lead to extra clicks (and more potential customers)

And for the data geeks, we’ve also got a case study on one particularly effective rich snippet format that we discovered is MASSIVELY underused right now.

Spoiler alert: 4 out of 5 websites with this type of content may be able to get an INSTANT bump in their search traffic.

Here’s a full list of what’s inside:

Ready to dive in?

Before we get to the cool stuff, let’s start with a definition.

What Are Rich Snippets?

Rich snippets are enhanced search results which provide additional information to searchers on the contents of a page. Google and other search engines use structured data, contained within the HTML, or Javascript of a webpage, to form these snippets.

Part 1: What’s The Benefit Of Rich Snippets?

In short: visibility.

Because these days, a typical search result can look like this:

Which means that if your search result looks like this:

google search result

It’s going to be super hard to grab a searcher’s attention. You’re going to get lost in the crowd.

But add Product structured data and your search result could look like this:

google search result with product schema

Which is going to give you a fighting chance.

Or add FAQ structured data and it could look like this:

search result with FAQ schema

Which could give your result 3x more real estate on the page…

The good news:

It’s super simple to do.

The bad news:

Google won’t always display your rich snippets. But more on that later.

Part 2: How To Qualify For Rich Snippets

For your webpage to be eligible for rich snippets, you’ll need to add a specific type of structured markup to your HTML called “schema”.

So what’s schema?

Well, search engines are smart. But they’re not as smart as you.

Take a look at the following screenshot:

iphone 11 page

In a few seconds you’ll figure out that:

  • this is an iPhone 11 Pro,
  • it’s got 4.5(ish) stars,
  • it’s going to cost you £41.99 a month

A search engine on the other hand…

…well, it might make an educated guess.

But unless you spoon feed it the information, it’s not going to be 100% sure. And it’s definitely not going to be sure enough to display that additional information in a rich snippet.

Schema is the spoon with which you feed it this information.

You can implement schema in two ways. Let’s start with the simplest.

1. Adding Schema With Microdata

For a basic product we might have the following HTML:

<div>
<h1>iPhone 11 Pro</h1>
<img src="iphone11pro.jpg" />
<p>This is an iPhone 11 pro.</p>
<p>Price: £41.99</p>
<p>Availability: in stock</p>
</div>

And that’s actually reasonably well structured. But it’s still not going to be 100% crystal clear to a search engine.

So we can add schema microdata to remove any doubt.

Here’s how that would look for the example above.

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Product">
<h1 itemprop="name">iPhone 11 Pro</h1>
<img src="iphone11pro.jpg" itemprop="image" />
<p itemprop="description">This is an iPhone 11 pro.</p>
<div itemprop="offers" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Offer">
<p>Price: <span itemprop="priceCurrency" content="GBP">£</span>
<span itemprop="price">41.99</span></p>
<link itemprop="availability" href="http://schema.org/InStock" />
<p>Availability: in stock</p>
</div>
</div>

Breaking that down, we’ve got our parent entity, a product:

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Product">

We have its name, image and description:

<h1 itemprop="name">iPhone 11 Pro</h1>
<img src="iphone11pro.jpg" itemprop="image" />
<p itemprop="description">This is an iPhone 11 pro.</p>

We then have our offer, which is nested inside the parent product:

<div itemprop="offers" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Offer">

Which includes currency, price, and availability.

<p>Price: <span itemprop="priceCurrency" content="GBP">£</span>
<span itemprop=”price”>41.99</span></p>
<link itemprop="availability" href="http://schema.org/InStock" />
<p>Availability: in stock</p>

We then close off the offer.

</div>

And finally, close off the parent product entity.

</div>

We can then validate our code using the “Code Snippet” option in Google’s structured data testing tool.

code snippet

And we can see that Google has correctly interpreted the code:

schema

Which means we’ll be eligible for a product rich snippet in search results, with price and stock status shown.

If you’re not familiar with HTML/XML, we realize this might be a little tricky to follow.

So we’d recommend reading the following:

2. Adding Schema With JSON-LD

JSON-LD stands for JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data.

Which sounds intimidating…

But for our purposes, all you need to know is that it’s a way to include schema data in Javascript, rather than in microdata added to your HTML tags.

(If you want to know more about how it works check out this guide from Moz)

Instead of the HTML above, we could add the following script to our page:

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
"@context": "https://schema.org/",
"@type": "Product",
"name": "iPhone 11 Pro",
"image": "iphone11pro.jpg",
"description": "This is an iPhone 11 pro.",
"offers": {
"@type": "Offer",
"url": "",
"priceCurrency": "GBP",
"price": "41.99",
"availability": "https://schema.org/InStock"
}
}
</script>

And Google would interpret it in the same was as our microdata example:

schema

If you’re not comfortable with Javascript, then you can use this free tool to generate JSON-LD schema.

Should You Use Microdata or JSON-LD?

You can use either format to implement your schema. Both formats will make your pages eligible for rich snippets.

And for the non-technical microdata is probably the easiest to understand.

But if you have the option, then I’d recommend going for JSON-LD.

Why?

Because according to Google’s John Mueller, that’s what they prefer.

“We currently prefer JSON-LD markup. I think most of the new structured data that are kind of come out for JSON-LD first. So that’s what we prefer.”

Will Adding Schema Improve Your Rankings?

Google evaluates a TON of factors to decide where your page should rank.

But the mere presence of structured data (schema) is almost certainly not one of them. It would be too easy to manipulate.

In other words, if two pages already rank on page one for a keyword, and:

  • Page A has schema
  • Page B does not have schema

Page A has no immediate advantage over page B.

However…

We know that schema helps Google to understand what a page is about. And according to this tweet from John Mueller, that “might make it easier to show where it’s relevant”.

Which is a bit cryptic.

But here’s a way that statement could be interpreted.

  • Page B is a product page, but also includes a large 2,000 word description of the product
  • Google is unsure whether to show the page more frequently for transactional (“buy X”) or informational (“what is X”) queries
  • The addition of product schema gives Google clarity that transactional queries would be the best fit

So while adding schema won’t move you from position 5 to position 4…

…it MAY help Google show your page for more relevant queries.

Improved CTR May Lead To Improved Rankings

Does Google use click-through rate (CTR) to directly influence rankings?

Depends on which article, or study, you read.

In the blue corner (it does) we have:

And in the red corner (it doesn’t) we have:

This article by Dan Taylor does a good job of summing up the arguments.

My opinion?

I’m on the fence. You could say I was in the purple corner.

But one things for sure:

More clicks = more eyeballs on your content = more potential links. And links DEFINITELY influence rankings.

So even if CTR is not a direct ranking factor…

…an improved CTR is going to lead to many of the good things (like links) that will improve your rankings.

To summarize:

  1. Schema markup won’t directly influence rankings. There’s no immediate boost.
  2. But it may help Google understand which queries (or query types) to show your page for.
  3. Adding schema makes your page eligible for rich snippets.
  4. Rich snippets can boost your CTR, which may not influence rankings directly, but will help with other factors that can.

Or long story short:

Yes, adding schema can improve your rankings. Probably not directly, but definitely indirectly.

Part 3: Which Rich Snippet Format Is Right For You?

So schema is the “how”.

Your next task is to figure out which type of rich snippet is right for you.

Because there are LOTS of options!

The simplest way to break this down is by business type.

While this is not hard and fast, the following should give you a good indication of the type of rich snippet that will be most effective for your website.

Note: I should also point out that this list is far from exhaustive. But I’ve focused in on the most common rich snippet formats.

Ecommerce Sites

If you’re running an Ecommerce store, you’ll want product details (price, stock status) and ideally review stars on your snippet.

google search result with product schema

Which means that “Product schema” is what you need to implement.

Easy peasy.

(the good news is that most Ecommerce systems are setup with this in place out the box; more on that later)

Review Sites

Running a review site? You’ll want your ratings for each article, and generally the name of the reviewer, to show up on Google.

product review rich snippet

So you might think that “Review schema” is what you need to add.

And it can be…

But actually, if you’re reviewing a product, you can also use Product schema (with “Review” as a section).

Which is exactly what TechRadar have done.

techradar product schema

So which should you use?

Either. Your rich snippet will be the same.

But I’d be leaning towards Product schema.

Why? Because that’s what most of the big boys do.

On a Google search for “iPhone 11 pro review” 5 out of the 8 organic results on the first page had schema in place.

And all of them opted for Product schema.

Content Sites

General content site?

You have a few options!

But for maximum visibility in the search results, I would recommend FAQ schema and HowTo schema.

FAQ schema will give you rich snippets like this:

faq rich snippet

While HowTo schema will give you rich snippets like this:

HowTo rich snippet

Note: HowTo rich snippets currently only show on mobile. And as I’ll explain in part 6, might not even do that…

Update (28th May 2020)

Google have started showing HowTo snippets on desktop for some queries. Here’s how it looks:

Find out more here and here.

When Should You Use FAQ Schema?

FAQ schema is a bit of a jack of all trades and can be implemented on a variety of different types of content.

Just add an FAQ section to your article or page, make sure you have the correct schema in place, and you’re golden.

Most informational articles will lend themselves to including an FAQ section. In fact, we’ll give you an example right at the end of this guide.

But you could also try adding FAQs to a business service page.

When Should You Use HowTo Schema?

Any how-to articles which include steps present a perfect opportunity to add HowTo schema.

And they’re probably the most attention grabbing of all rich snippet formats.

If you have content that fits, I’d highly recommend you try them out.

But…

They might not work for you. Check out the case study in part 6 to find out why.

Running WordPress? Yoast Makes Adding HowTo and FAQ Schema A Piece Of Cake

If you’re running WordPress and using the default blocks editor, then it’s super easy to add the correct Schema for HowTos and FAQs.

This guide from Yoast shows how to do it.

Recipe Sites

Does your site feature recipes? There’s a rich snippet for that.

And it looks awesome…

recipe rich snippet

In the rich snippet above we can see that, in addition to a picture and rating, Google has included total time and number of calories.

But even better than that…

Adding recipe schema makes a page eligible for the “Recipes” block, which is displayed above the regular organic results:

recipe rich snippets 2

Here’s Google’s guide on how to do it.

Events

Got an event (or events) coming up? Add Event schema for rich snippets like this:

event rich snippet

We get dates and venues right in the snippet.

And as an added bonus, those links are clickable. Clicking the first one takes me straight to the booking page for the Stade Pierre Mauroy.

paul mccartney gig

So not only do we get increased visibility in search, we should up our conversion rate too.

Nice!

Video Rich Snippets

Video embedded on your page? Add VideoObject schema and Google may show a video preview beside your listing in the SERPs.

Golf Channel include VideoObject schema on most of their pages. Which makes for some eye catching search results…

video rich snippets

Find out how it’s done here.

Pro Tip: Reverse Engineer Your Competitor’s Rich Snippets

Not sure which rich snippet format is right for you?

Browse through some search results in your niche and take a look at what your competitors are doing.

And when you spot a rich snippet format you like…

…grab the URL and plug it into Google’s structured data testing tool.

If we do that for one of the Golf Channel videos above, we can see they have the VideoObject schema in place.

video object schema

So now all we need to do is add the same schema to our page and we have a shot at grabbing a similar rich snippet.

Picked Your Rich Snippet Format?

That’s a quick overview of the most common rich snippet formats currently supported by Google.

But there are loads more….

…like Q&A rich snippets, music, and flights.

Google won’t show a rich snippet for EVERY type of schema. But as they’re always tweaking their layouts, that’s not to say they won’t add (or remove) more formats in the future.

Here’s a handy list of all rich results currently supported by Google.

And this video from Search Engine Land discusses the difference between Schema.org and Google’s use of structured data.

Finally, for completeness, here’s a full list of schema types on schema.org.

Part 4: Testing Rich Snippets And Schema

Chosen the rich snippet format that’s right for you? Implemented the schema code on your website? It’s time to test.

There are two main tools you can use for testing:

  1. Google’s “Structured Data Testing” tool
  2. Google’s “Rich Results Test” tool

Here’s how (and when) to use them.

Use The Structured Data Testing Tool To Validate ALL Your Schema

The structured data testing tool is not specifically designed for rich snippets. It’s a tool for validating ALL schema on a webpage.

You should use it whenever you add any new schema (for rich snippets or otherwise) to make sure everything is validating correctly.

(or if you’re not sure which schema is already installed on your site, you can use the tool to check!)

Just go to the tool, enter a URL, and hit “Run Test”.

structured data testing tool - enter URL

The tool will show you which schema types were detected on the page, and notify you of any errors or warnings.

In the example below we can see that Google has detected both “Article” and “How To” schema.

detected schema

And we can click on a schema type to view the data.

schema HowTo warnings

You’ll need to fix any errors.

But generally, warnings are safe to ignore. They won’t stop your rich snippets from being displayed. Although, if you can fix them… then fix them!

Once we’re happy that everything is validating, we can use the rich results test tool.

Use The Rich Results Test Tool To Preview Your Rich Snippets

The structured data testing tool is super helpful.

But what it doesn’t do is let us preview how our snippet might look in search.

That’s where the rich results test tool comes in!

Again, we’ll start by plugging in a URL.

rich results test URL

But this time, the tool will focus on schema that’s eligible for rich results.

rich results test

We can see warnings and errors.

But what’s really cool is we can also click “Preview Results” to see how our snippet could look on a Google results page.

rich snippet preview

Pretty neat, right?

Bonus: Check Google Search Console For Errors In Existing Schema

Google will also report errors and warnings for existing structured data in Search Console.

You’ll find the reports under “Enhancements” on the left menu.

search console, enhancements

In this example we can see that Google has found several rich snippet formats, including FAQ, How-To, Products, and Reviews.

Clicking on one of the formats takes us to the relevant report:

search console HowTo report

And gives us a list of any errors and warnings for our markup.

Even better…

Google will send you an email any time it discovers new errors in your schema.

schema error email

So keep an eye on your inbox!

Part 5: Testing The Major Ecommerce Providers

Running an Ecommerce business?

(No? Click here if you want to skip the eCommerce part)

Yes? I’m sure you’d rather focus on helping your customers and growing your sales than tweaking HTML and javascript.

So I decided to test some of the major Ecommerce platforms to find out how well they supported product rich snippets.

First, the good news:

I set up demo stores on 4 of the largest Ecommerce platforms — shopify, bigcommerce, Wix, Woocommerce. I also tested an online demo of Magento.

ecommerce platform logos

All 5 platforms were eligible for Ecommerce rich snippets right out the box.

Nice!

But let’s be picky…

Because in an ideal world, we want our Ecommerce rich snippet to look like this:

ecommerce snippet

That’s a review rating, price, and stock status. All the shiny things that will draw a searcher’s attention.

WooCommerce, Big Commerce, and Magento give us the full set with a default installation.

Here’s the mobile snippet from my demo WooCommerce store:

woocommerce mobile rich snippet

For Shopify you’ll get pricing and stock status. But for the review snippet you’ll need to install a product reviews app (various free + paid available).

Ditto for Wix.

But like I said, that’s being picky. Installing an app is no big deal.

And it’s fair to say that all 5 Ecommerce platforms tested were well set up for rich snippets.

So we don’t need to worry, right?

Well, not quite.

Because I used the phrase “out the box” for a reason…

Always Test Your Snippets When You Install a New Theme

Shopify: we’re all set for rich snippets!
Fancy new theme: hold my beer!

The default themes on the major Ecommerce platforms are generally well coded and set up for rich snippets.

But once you’ve configured the basics and added a few products what are you gonna’ do?

You’re gonna’ ditch that ugly default theme and go hunting for a fancy new one!

And here’s the thing:

While most theme developers will pay attention to schema (and SEO optimization in general), some… well… they won’t.

So whenever you install a new theme on your site, run it through the rich results testing tool to make sure your product schema is still in place.

Because sometimes… it won’t be.

Or if it is… it might have errors.

Either way, you can kiss goodbye to your rich snippets.

Fortunately it’s fixable. Here’s how to do it in Shopify.

Fixing Missing Product Schema In Shopify

Product schema completely missing from your new theme?

This one is easy.

In Shopify’s default theme, the product schema is generated by this code in product.liquid:

product.liquid shopify

Just copy everything between <script type=”application/ld+json”> and </script> and paste it into your new theme’s product.liquid template.

Important: don’t overwrite anything else in that template. Paste the schema code underneath the existing code.

Fixing Product Schema Errors in Shopify

If your product schema is returning errors you’re going to have to get a little more forensic to figure out why.

The rich snippets preview tool will let you know what the errors are:

schema errors

But you’ll need to dig into your themes templates to find the offending code and fix it.

Generally it’s going to be:

  • in the product.liquid template if it’s a JSON implementation
  • in the product-template.liquid template (under sections) if it’s a microdata implementation

But I’ve come across some weird Shopify theme structures in the past, so that’s not a guarantee…

Be careful as this is easier to break than a straight copy and paste.

And ask your theme developer for help if you’re not 100% confident in altering code. It’s a bug after all, and something they should fix!

Part 6: Case Study (How-To Rich Snippets)

Google introduced how-to rich snippets in 2019.

And they’re probably the shiniest of all shiny SERP features. They look like this…

HowTo rich snippet

And this…

HowTo rich snippet - hair braiding

That’s some serious SERP real estate!

But when I analyzed 100 how-to keywords I made two interesting discoveries:

  1. They’re not widely used (opportunity)
  2. Google won’t always show them (bummer)

When it comes to point 2, I wanted to figure out why.

Let’s start with the opportunity.

How Common Are HowTo Rich Snippets?

I randomly selected 100 how-to keywords, with a mixture of search volumes and difficulties.

Examples include:

  • “how to address a letter” (49,000 monthly searches)
  • “how to post on instagram” (27,000 monthly searches)
  • “How to cut roses” (500 monthly searches)

Here’s what I discovered:

1. There were an average of 7.93 organic results for each query

I excluded YouTube videos, and other search blocks/features, but included the featured snippet (aka “position zero”).

Not relevant to HowTo schema, but the takeaway here is that in 2020, for semi competitive keywords, ranking on page one probably means being in positions 1-8.

2. Only 18.8% of results included HowTo schema on their page

Or put another way, 4 out of 5 pages hadn’t implemented HowTo schema.

prevalence of HowTo Schema - seobility

In raw numbers, that’s 644 pages out of 793 that could improve their search visibility by adding how-schema.

But it gets better (or worse depending on your perspective).

Because the numbers are skewed by wikihow, who were present in pretty much every how-to search, and always had HowTo schema in place.

So there’s a huge opportunity right there.

But…

3. Google ignored HowTo schema 20% of the time

I discovered that even when HowTo schema was perfectly implemented, Google failed to show the rich snippet 20% of the time.

It was time to do some digging.

Why Does Google Ignore Some How-To Rich Snippets?

I had several theories here. So I set out to try and falsify them.

1. Is It Based On Search Position?

Could it be the case that Google only shows how-to rich snippets for pages ranking above a certain position on page 1?

No.

Even when they were ranking at the bottom of page 1, wikihow still had their HowTo snippets displayed.

2. Are There A Maximum Number of How-To Rich Snippets On Each Page?

Possibly.

But, that’s definitely not what’s causing how-to rich snippets not to show.

The maximum number of how-to rich snippets I observed on a search result was 3. But that’s also the maximum number of pages I observed on an individual search which had how-to schema in place.

So the maximum could be 3. But based on my research, I can’t verify that is the case.

What I can say is that:

  • sometimes there were 2 results with HowTo schema in place,
  • but Google only showed the rich snippet for one of them
  • invariably that “one of them” was wikihow

And we can rule this out as a factor in Google deciding whether or not to show the snippet.

3. Is It Based On Domain Authority/Trust?

Opinion alert: probably.

This is where it gets really interesting.

Because from what I observed, Google will either show all how-to rich snippets from a domain…

…or they’ll show none.

It’s completely binary.

(but there’s a caveat to this in theory 4)

Here are some sites that got the Google rich snippet love:

Wikihow (DA93)

HowTo rich snippet

Instructables (DA93)

HowTo rich snippet - hair braiding

Ifixit (DA89)

ifixit rich snippet

Home Depot (DA91)

home depot rich snippet

All super high authority sites.

In fact, I didn’t find a single site below DA70 that had HowTo rich snippets displayed in search.

But of course correlation does not imply causation, so here are a couple of grains of salt to sprinkle in:

  1. 100 keywords is a very small sample
  2. It could be that this is simply because the bigger sites have bigger budgets for SEO and have implemented schema faster

I tested HowTo schema on a mid authority site of my own (DA36, 35K search visits p/m).

The first test was with images for a page at position 8 for its keyword:

rich snippet preview

While the second was without images for a page at position 1 for its keyword:

rich snippet preview

As you can see, both pages passed validation in Google’s Rich Results Test tool.

Neither snippet showed up in search.

So domain authority could be a factor.

But…

4. Is It Based On User Behavior?

Let’s go further down the rabbit hole with a particularly interesting example.

Earlier this year, the Google developers blog published a case study which showed how Stylecraze improved their CTR by implementing HowTo structured data.

stylecraze howto schema

Sounds great. Just one problem…

Here’s their current mobile snippet for “how to apply lipstick”:

stylecraze rich snippet 2

HowTo rich snippet be gone!

And in case you’re wondering if they removed their HowTo structured data…

stylecraze rich snippet test

Nope!

On the other hand, here’s wikihow’s snippet from the same search.

wikihow howto rich snippet

HowTo rich snippet very much alive and well.

I tested around a dozen of Stylecraze’s how-to keywords and not one of them showed the HowTo snippet.

To clarify, I was incognito, not logged in, and used a VPN to test different locations.

And Stylecraze is a high authority site — DA88, with millions of monthly search visitors.

Which is a bit of a blow to our theory about domain authority being the deciding factor.

So what’s going on here?

I reached out to Stylecraze’s SEO Manager Ravi Datti for his thoughts.

According to Ravi, HowTo snippets “will be displayed based on user responses, even i have observed it will show sometimes and sometimes it not.”

If Ravi’s theory is correct, then Google is using user behavior to determine which results get the HowTo snippet.

But that user behavior signal does not appear to be whether a searcher has previously visited a site, as Ravi continued, “It can’t happen just for regular visitors to stylecraze. We are regularly monitoring and we don’t see any such pattern happening, as we regularly keep visiting stylecraze if so the case we could be able to see too, but this is not happening.”

So what’s the takeaway?

At some point Stylecraze’s HowTo rich snippets were completely removed from search.

From what I can see all HowTo schema was:

  • correctly implemented code wise,
  • and only placed on pages where the markup was relevant (i.e. “How-to pages”).

We can discount defective code, or “snippet spam”.

It just simply seems to be that Google is going to trust some domains more than others when it comes to showing certain rich snippets.

A high domain authority may get you the trust in the first instance. But it would also appear that trust can later be removed.

So, the million dollar question is…

Should You Implement HowTo Schema?

The answer might surprise you given the findings above.

But if you have how-to guides on your site, then the answer is an emphatic…

YES.

You should test HowTo schema on one or two of your most popular pages.

Because if Google does display a HowTo rich snippet for your site, the benefits are HUGE.

According to Ravi, when Stylecaze first implemented review schema they saw a 111% uptick in CTR to their top page.

That’s some SERIOUS extra traffic.

And by rolling out on one or two top pages only, the worst you’ll lose is a few hours of time.

Part 7: Getting The Most Out of Rich Snippets

Tying in with the advice above, if you’re planning to test rich snippets (HowTo or otherwise) for a small number of pages to start, then you’ll want to get the most bang for your buck.

While it’s certainly possible to get a rich snippet for a page that’s not currently ranking on page one, the page isn’t going to have huge visibility.

As the saying goes:

“the best place to bury a body is page 2 of a Google search”

So for testing it’s best to stick to pages already ranking on the first page.

If you’re using our keyword ranking monitor (sign up for free here if not), it’s easy to find out which keywords are already ranking in the top positions.

Just run the report, order by search volume (S.V.) and filter it to “Top 10 rankings”.

Seobility > Rankings > Order by S.V. > Filter “Top 10 Rankings”

keyword rankings

I would probably steer clear of anything ranking in position 1 (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!).

But any keyword ranking between positions 2 and 8 will be a great one to test.

If you successfully get the rich snippet, monitor impact on CTR in Google Search Console. You can run the “Performance” report, then click on an individual keyword to check its stats.

Google Search Console > Performance > Click Keyword > Select CTR

search console CTR

Hopefully you’ll see an upward trend!

Part 8: Rich Snippet Spam

Google giveth, and Google taketh away.

HowTo snippets aside, many rich snippet formats are automatic. You add the code, you get the rich snippet.

Which means of course…

…they’re open to abuse.

And Google doesn’t like that one bit.

(us SEOs just can’t have nice things)

Last year they took action on what they called “self serving reviews”.

google rich snippet spam

An action that was primarily aimed at local businesses.

Before the update, a local business could simply add review schema to their HTML (or embed a third party widget) and they’d get 5 pretty little stars in their snippets:

rich snippet local business review stars

Google decided that this was too easy to manipulate (being honest it was). And just like that, they took them away.

The lesson?

Choose the schema format that is correct for your page, not the schema you think looks prettiest in a rich snippet.

Because otherwise, they’ll either shut you down.

Or they’ll shut everyone down.

Which is NOT cool.

Part 9: Rich Snippet FAQs

There’s a lot of information to take in here.

So let’s summarize.

And since this is a guide to rich snippets…

…let’s do that in the form of an FAQ section.

(and yes, we added FAQ schema to this guide)

What Are Rich Snippets?

Rich snippets are enhanced search results which provide additional information to searchers on the contents of a page. Google and other search engines use structured data, contained within the HTML of a webpage, to form these snippets.

What’s The Benefit Of Rich Snippets?

Rich snippets increase a pages visibility in search results and can lead to a higher click-through rate (CTR).

Do Rich Snippets Impact SEO?

Yes. The inclusion of schema markup does not directly impact on rankings, however, improved CTR may improve a page’s rankings over time. Rich snippets could therefore be classed as an indirect ranking factor. Additionally, search engine “optimization” is not just rankings, it also includes maximizing visibility in search and optimizing clicks.

How Does A Page Qualify For Rich Snippets?

To be eligible for rich snippets a webpage should include structured data in the form of schema. Schema markup can be added via microdata, or JSON-LD.

Which Rich Snippet Format Should You Choose?

The type of rich snippet which will be right for your page will depend on the product, or service offered. Popular schema formats include “Product” schema for Ecommerce sites, “Review” schema for review sites, and “HowTo” schema for content sites.

Do Ecommerce Systems Include Product Schema “Out The Box”?

Most major Ecommerce systems include product schema by default. However, third party themes and plugins may cause errors, or in some cases remove product schema entirely. Any changes to default configurations should therefore be tested with either Google’s structured data testing tool, or Rich Snippet Preview tool.

Will Google Always Show Rich Snippets?

Even when the correct schema is in place, Google will not always show rich snippets in search. Google may be using user signals or other indicators to determine when to show rich snippets.

Over To You!

That’s it for our guide to rich snippets.

If you have any questions then please leave a comment below.

And stick around, we’ve got more SEO content just like this coming soon!

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David McSweeney

David McSweeneyDavid is Head of Content at Seobility. Unsurprisingly he loves SEO and writing. He combines 20+ years of experience in SEO with the passion for teaching you guys how to optimize your websites the right way.

6 thoughts on “Rich Snippets: Everything You Need To Know In 2020 [With Case Study]

Avatar
Chetan Patil
8. July 2020 18:40

Hello David, Chetan here. I’m getting “Page not eligible for rich results known by this test” message on Rich Result Test site. May I know how can I fix this issue for these pages:

https://www.asbico.com/5/assisted-living

https://www.asbico.com/2/memory-care

https://www.asbico.com/1/residential-care-home

My email id is chetanpatildigipune@gmail.com

    David McSweeney
    David McSweeney
    8. July 2020 19:00

    Hi Chetan, doesn’t look like you have any structured data on those pages. Did you add schema markup?

Avatar
Jatin
19. June 2020 12:12

Great article, very detailed. Thought to notify you that on this article on of the images that has alt tag”rich snippet local business review stars” did not load for me. Not sure if its broken.

I’m not selling anything on my website.

Can I use rich snippets for informative blog or non-product based blog?

    David McSweeney
    David McSweeney
    22. June 2020 16:11

    Hi Jatin, thanks for the heads up, we’ll get that image fixed!

    And yes, we’d recommend implementing either FAQ or HowTo snippets depending on your content. Previously HowTo snippets were only shown on mobile, but Google has started to show them for some desktop queries, so there’s a great opportunity there 🙂

Avatar
Kashif Latif
11. June 2020 15:13

Dear David
Nice article and very helpful for me to gain extra knowlege

    David McSweeney
    David McSweeney
    22. June 2020 16:14

    Thanks Kashif, glad you found our guide helpful!

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