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Rich Snippets and Structured Data

7th June, 2013

Designed to give users an idea of which relevant content appears on a web page, rich snippets assist them with specific queries. Snippets can show specifics such as pricing, photographs, customer reviews and useful listings in relation to a business or event.

structured-data-testing-tool

Ensuring that Google understands the content on each page, rich snippets create a detailed resource, enabling users to recognise when and how your site is most useful to them. Naturally this will also result in more clicks to your web pages too! So what is the best way to incorporate rich snippets and structured data?

First of all, you need to choose a markup format. You might opt for Microdata, Microformats or RDFa. A basic knowledge of HTML will of course be required. You may wish to use Data Highlighter, a webmaster tool that advises Google regarding the pattern of structured data on your website. The next step is to mark up your content. Google already supports rich snippets for content types, including reviews, people, products, events and video content, in addition to many other catagories.

Using Google’s structured data testing tool, ensure that your marked up data can be clearly read and extracted.Eventually, rich snippets will appear in search results. HTML tags on pages let the browser know how to display the information contained in the tag.

By providing shared vocabularies, Schema.org enables webmasters to mark up their pages to enable them to be understood by all the major search engines. Employed usefully alongside microdata format, schema.org can enable you to add information to your HTML content.

If you are seeking to mark up your content using microdata, remember that search engines possess a limited understanding of what is contained on your pages. You may wish to add additional tags to the HTML of your web pages, describing specifics that enable a better understanding of the pages’ content.

When adding schema.org markup to your web pages, bear in mind that the more content you can mark up the better. Ensure that the content that is visible to people who visit the web page is clearly marked.

Some pages will have a collection of items to describe. Marking up each item separately and adding the url property to the link to the corresponding page for each item is the best approach to adopt. Google has a rich snippets testing tool available to enable you to correct any errors. Opting to use the meta tag to specify information that cannot be otherwise be marked up is a consideration of course, but one that should only be used sparingly.

Ensuring your users have the best possible access to content designed to expertly meet their needs and requirements will ensure they visit your site over and over again, in return recommending you to friends and family too.

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Kerry McPhail

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