First of all, it’s important not to confuse rich snippets with featured snippets. While there are a large number of variations of featured snippets this post exclusively covers the topic of rich snippets.
Rich snippets (or rich results) are a SERP-enhancing tool for websites that are created with a piece of code called schema mark-up. By SERP-enhancing, we mean that they improve the way your website appears on the Search Engine Results Page, or SERP.
Below, we’ll take a look at rich snippets for the search engine Google, and look at the ways in which reviews can improve your rich snippets.
What are featured snippets?
Featured snippets are short snippets of text that appear at the top of Google’s search results in order to quickly answer a searcher’s query. The content that appears inside of a featured snippet is automatically pulled from web pages in Google’s index. Common types of featured snippets include definitions, tables, steps and lists and do not always require schema mark-up.
What are rich snippets?
A rich snippet enhances an organic search result, and often slightly expands its real estate, according to information marked up on the site using structured schema data from Schema.org. These search results stand out with rating stars, product availability, and pricing information, as well as photos for reviews, videos or event information.
Schema mark-up that can make you eligible for rich snippets in SERP
Here we also have a variety of schema mark-ups that can qualify for rich snippet creation, and the list is ever-growing as new mark-ups are added. Below are the most common types that can result in a rich snippet in SERP, however, Google always has the final say on whether to show the rich snippet for your page. Having schema mark-up in place will not automatically guarantee that your rich snippets will appear in SERP.
Common forms of schema mark-up include:
This form of schema mark-up gives information about a specific product including price, stock levels and price.
Unique to recipes only, this data includes information around prep times, reviews and calories from the SERP.
Exclusive to events, this snippet displays information on event times, dates and locations.
As search engines can’t understand the content of a video, this form of schema mark-up shows Google what your video is about.
Why bother with rich snippets?
While the schema mark-up is not officially declared as a ranking signal there have been comments from Google and its employees that schema can improve the communication between website and the search engine crawlers - the pieces (or programs) of tech that scan and index your website. Let’s see what they say!
What Google says about structured data
At the November Pubcon 2017 in Vegas, it was reported that Gary Illyes of Google said:
"…add structure data to your pages because, during indexing, we will be able to better understand what your site is about."
Later on, Illyes stated:
"It will help us understand your pages better, and indirectly, it leads to better ranks in some sense, because we can rank easier."
What Illyes appears to be saying is that schema mark-up may indirectly help your site rank, as improved communication with the search engine may result in ranking for more relevant keywords - ones that are better matched with the user’s search intent.
On top of that, there has been plenty of research and evidence to demonstrate the improved CTRs (from the SERP to your website) that rich snippets help to drive. In 2011, searchengineland.com claimed that you could increase your CTR by 30%. Others claim that schema can increase CTR in ranges between 15% and 50%. This is quite significant!
What can you do to qualify for rich snippets?
Rich snippets are snippets of information that Google gets from the information on the page that is marked up according to the Google’s latest guidelines - usually, it’s a JSON LD or Microdata Syntax that is added to the code. This makes it much easier for the crawlers to understand the page and, where appropriate, enhance the organic ranking with a relevant rich result snippet.
In this article, we are discussing how to improve your product-related rich snippets and secure those gold star ratings in SERP by implementing reviews.
Google recommends marking up your product pages with a product schema mark-up. Product schema mark-up widely differs from one mark up to the other, as there are so many properties that you can mark up. Unfortunately, Google’s information on best practice also leaves a lot to be desired - as there are so many interpretations of what can and should be done in each case. This leads to a lot of mistakes and misuse of schema mark-up!
Let’s look at some variations of product schema rich snippets and examine the mark-up
Missing rich snippets - no mark-up or errors in product schema
When schema code has errors or there is no mark-up at all, the SERP result for that product page will appear without any rich results. As you can see below, the page snippet does not stand out or catch the browser’s attention.
Partial product schema mark-up
As mentioned above, product schema offers a lot of different properties that can be marked up. In the below example the product schema marks up aggregated rating and number of reviews, but offers, price, or availability were not marked up - hence, the rich snippet shows only the rating and reviews part.
In the second example below, only the price part is visible because the website does not collect reviews and can not mark-up that part of the code - which means they do not qualify for the gold star ratings.
Extended product schema mark-up
In the below example from one of Feefo’s clients, the product schema appears all rounded with enough information marked up on the page to qualify for a nicely rounded rich result snippet in the SERP. The client marked up price, availability, and offer, and used Feefo’s on-page reviews integration to fill in the missing part - aggregated rating and reviews count. On top of that, Feefo on-page integration also marked up the reviews from the page, and placed a review mark-up.
What do you need to do if you want to improve rich snippets and get star ratings in SERP?
Of course, you always can start with a partial mark-up and add the mark-up for price, availability and offers, but to get those highly desired gold star ratings in the SERP and associated rating and review counts, you need to be collecting reviews. The aggregated average of these reviews translates to gold star ratings in the SERP when marked-up correctly.
Feefo’s on-page integration widget will automatically insert product schema into your page. But to top things up, you can always extend product schema with additional mark-up if you choose to, and we do have a solution for you to merge the two schema sets together to help you to qualify for rounded rich snippets in SERP.
If you want to start standing out in the SERP, or to learn more about the technical side of the things, please reach out to us and our Implementation team will be happy to help you to start shining and gathering those all-important gold stars!