In the fiercely competitive online environment, you should be looking to use every tool at your disposal to your advantage. One “tool” that is shockingly under-utilized is Google’s rich snippets feature. You’re probably familiar with rich snippets: they’re the extra “snippets” of information that sit alongside some results in the SERPs. Why do they matter? Well, for a start, they make your page stand out from the competition, meaning they are a proven way to boost your CTR and increase your traffic from the search engines.
Despite the obvious benefits, only 0.3% of websites make use of rich snippets. Read that again: 0.3%. Of course, this figure is the average of all websites on the Internet, and is likely to be significantly higher in more technical niches, but it’s still an area that plenty of webmasters are failing to take advantage of. Today I’m going to show you how to install rich snippets on your website in the simplest manner possible: using a WordPress plugin.
Now, Google doesn’t just pull the rich snippets extracts directly from your content. Instead, it needs users to insert microdata to help it understand the nature of your content. It can then convert this microdata into the information displayed in the rich snippets. Inserting this microdata manually can get quite technical (see schema.org for more details); using a plugin just streamlines the whole process.
There are a number of free plugins available to help you install the rich snippets function on your website. With a number of rich snippet types–including authorship, events, review and recipe snippets–some plugins focus on one specific type of rich snippet, while there are also a few “all in one” style plugins. I’ve picked out a both types, to help you find the best plugin for your needs.
All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets
All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets plugin is one of the best all-in-one rich snippet plugins available, in my opinion. It automatically inserts the schema microdata into each post, which Google can translate into rich snippets. It supports a wide range of rich snippet types, including: authorship, events, people, personal review, product, recipe, software reviews & videos.
The number of snippets supported is to be expanded in future updates, with book reviews and local business snippets penciled in. The plugin’s simplicity is its strong point. Underneath your text editor you’ll find a metabox, with a small drop-down menu with all the different snippet types the plugin supports.
After you’ve selected the most suitable option, you’ll see a number of fields to fill in, depending on your first selection. For example, a recipe snippet will require an estimated cooking duration, while the authorship snippet will need the author’s name.
When you’re done, hit publish as usual and Google will be able to recognize the microdata and use this to populate the rich snippets next to your link in the SERPs. Clean, quick and easy!
Schema Creator by Raven
The Schema Creator plugin is very similar to the All in One plugin: essentially, it adds schema microdata to your posts. However, it uses a slightly different process, and support a different range of rich snippet types: book, event, movie, organization, person, product, recipe, review, etc.
The main difference is the addition of the book, movie and organization snippets, so if you run a local business website, or one dedicated to movies or books, this plugin would be more suitable for your needs. To add the microdata, the plugin adds an extra button above the visual editor, labelled Add Schema. This brings up a lightbox with a simple drop-down menu.
Selecting the snippets type you want will bring up some additional fields, which you can fill in. There are a lot more fields included when compared with the All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets plugin, allowing you to attach far more detailed excerpts to each post. Although not all fields will appear in the rich snippets at once–there’s far too many–it allows you to provide more detail to the search engines about your post, and this can only be a good thing.
When you’re done filling in your information, hit Insert and this will place a shortcode into the visual editor. Hit publish when you’re ready, and this will add the schema microdata to your post.
Rich Contact Widget
If you’re looking to drive more traffic to your business or personal website, the Rich Contact Widget plugin could be what you’re looking for. I consider this to be more of a specialist plugin, as it has far less versatility than our first two plugins. Rich Contact Widget only supports a very specific type of rich snippets: individual and local organizations. It also only offers a site-wide rich snippet, rather than one customized for each individual post.
The plugin allows you to create a contact widget, which can be placed in your sidebar. This lets you include information including your name, telephone number, address and type of business–there are tons to choose from, from animal shelter to nightclub, from casino to tattoo parlor. This creates a nice looking contact box–a useful feature in itself.
However, the real benefit of this plugin is that the contact details you input are also converted into microdata for the search engines. This means your business’ contact detail will be included alongside your search listing as a rich snippet. This is very useful if you have a primarily local customer base.
If you’re a blogger, Google has created a rich snippet specifically for you: the authorship snippet. The AuthorSure plugin makes it easy to claim your authorship snippet, whether you’re a one-man show or running a multi-author blog. AuthorSure makes it easy to create an author box at the bottom of each post, complete with bio, profile and social links. A drop down menu allows you to easily select the author of an individual piece.
The best part: all author information is also inserted as microdata, telling the search engines who the author of the article is, which it then displays as a rich snippet in the SERPs. All you need to do is input your Google+ details on your WordPress user profile page, and you’re good to go.
Yet Another Stars Rating (YASR)
Have you ever noticed the star rating snippets included in the SERPs? If not, see the screenshot above to see what I’m talking about. YASR is an awesome plugin that allows you to add this feature to your rich snippets. All star ratings can be displayed on your website, but they are also indexed as microdata, allowing the search engines to understand them.
You can use this plugin in two different ways: to provide your own rating, or to collate ratings from your user-base. If you review products or services regularly from your blog, this first option will be very useful. Not only does the YASR plugin allow you to insert a review box into your post, it also communicates your rating to the search engines, which can be displayed in the SERPs alongside your name and the product/service you’re reviewing.
The second option allows you to collect ratings from your users, which it then collates to give an average user rating. This too can be displayed in your post, and also in your rich snippets. This is particularly handy for local businesses, who can ask users to review their service, which it can then display in the SERPs. The benefit is obvious: is a user more likely to click on a restaurant rated 5 stars by its diners, or a restaurant with no rating at all? The former, of course. Beyond this, you can also use this plugin to let your users review a specific article, or to cast their opinion on a product or service you’ve reviewed.
With a number of useful rich snippets plugins out there, adding rich snippets to your search listing is a simple process. If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution to increase your traffic figures, taking advantage of rich snippets is a good place to start. If you have any thoughts on rich snippets, let us know in the comments section below!