Rich snippets, Schema.org and Google


What are rich snippets?

Rich snippets are extra information that Google shows in the Knowledge Graph and in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). They also allow Google to give more context to your page and understand the meta information behind the text (ex: if a phrase is actually a song title, or if a bullet point list is actually a recipe).
It is useful for users to implement because it extends your SER entry and allows users that are searching to see more information from your page.

Google introduced rich snippets for reviews back in 2009, but since then it has been extending these by adding more of the standardized items from Schema.org (a collaboration by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!) to its Knowledge Graph and SERPs.

Example of a music richsnippet (last entry on this image)

example of music richsnippet in SERPS

It is interesting to see that although it wasn't part of the top 3 results it has a much bigger impact than any other entry.

Another example of richsnippets (event richsnippet)

SERPs for events in London showing extra information under the headline and description

Currently Google supports the below items for rich snippets:

Todays update

Today Google announces yet another small rich snippet support upgrade by adding corporate phone numbers such as customer service, technical support, billing support and bill payment support. In addition they are releasing a set of guidelines for local business making their contact/location pages more accessible.

example of corporate phone numbers being shown in search results

This seems a small move with interesting implications, namely:

  1. Developing the value of mobile internet in daily life and efficient smartphone usage
  2. Advertise yet another reason to use Google+ as a business (customers will follow?).
    If we are honnest, ask yourself how many local business owners will understand how to add microformats to their pages? hmm.. not many..so they have to do it using Google+ or try using the Google's markup helper.
  3. Add more offline information to the knowledge graph

You can use Google's structured data tool or look in the webmaster tools section for structured data to check if you are correctly implementing microformating.

You might also want to read:

  1. Google announced rich snippets for reviews
  2. About rich snippets and structured data
  3. Google's FAQ on Schema.org