Rich Snippets give you Star Power
Bacon is wonderful, isn’t it? And Bacon Roses are even more wonderful, right? And if you were to search for bacon roses in google, and you saw a recipe with a 5 star rating, you would click on it, wouldn’t you? Try it!, see if you can resist!
Of course, there is a point to this exercise (even if you’re a vegetarian), it’s those stars! How did they get into the Google search results? The answer is what Google call Rich Snippets; also known as Metadata, MicroData MicroFormats, Inline Markup, RDFa. Yes, you can add data to your pages that Google can display in search results. If you have useful data, it’s well worth doing, as you’ve just seen the power of a few gold stars on a recipe.
By default Google recognises Rich Snippets that relate to a range of different items (including, as in the example, Recipes). If you can make use of data you’re already serving in your pages to describe the nature of the data to google, then it has the potential to make your results much more attractive to users. It’s well worth doing, but how?
I’m not going to tell you how, simply because there are hundreds of different ways, and the best way will depend on the data you’re describing. So, instead, I’ll list some starting points.
- Google’s help page for Inline mark-up, which links to some commonly used formats
- Schema.org, which details the use of MicroData for a wider range of item types, and is probably the best choice for most applications.
- Google’s Rich Snippet Testing Tool, where you can submit a URL and fine-tune code to see how much data Google can extract.
I would love to hear of people who are already using this stuff around the Uni, so please, let us know.