What are snippets and why should you care?
When you do a search on Google or any other search engine, you get back a set of results with each item containing a little description or preview of what its contents are. Snippets are the few lines of text that appear under every search result. And if you run a website – a business blog, personal blog, e-commerce site or any kind of site for that matter, you should care about what kind of stuff appears under your search result items.
Snippets are one of the most important determining factors for users to click through to your website from the search results. If users see snippets of your pages that are highly relevant to what they are searching for, it’s very likely for them to click yours instead of the others’. Also, the more descriptive your snippets are, the easier it will be for users to decide whether your content is what they are really looking for. Unlike the following example which for me, is just a terrible set of snippets for the search term “philippine recipes“:
The one directly above it is a good example of a page with properly marked up snippets – it even includes the ratings from 77 reviews that it has received. As you can see, this is a very important matter especially if you are using your site for internet marketing. Fortunately, Google gives us webmasters some degree of control as to how the snippets for our web pages appear on search results. And that’s what I’m going to show you here.
So how do you control what snippets appear under your webpages in search results?
If you are using WordPress on your site, this process is stupid simple. All you have to do is install a plugin and an additional option will be available when you edit or add new posts and pages. This is the option where you will set the rich snippets for your content.
There may be more of this type of plugins but I have tried only 3 of them so far and what I’ve found to work best for me is the All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets. What I find great about it is it supports most of the content types released by Schema.org – the site that provides a collection of stuff that we can use to markup our pages in ways that search engines can recognize. You can also edit the styling of the rich snippet box that appears at the bottom of your content, and most importantly for me, it doesn’t have to add a shortcode into your posts or pages in order to show the rich snippet data – unlike the other one that I’ve tried, Microdata for SEO by Optimum7.com.
This is important because when you decide to remove the plugin or replace it with another one, it doesn’t leave a broken, ugly code within your posts which can be a big turn off for your users/readers.
So, with those things said, here’s how you do it using “AIOSRS plugin” (as the developers call it):
In your WP admin area, go to Plugins >> Add New and search for “all in one schema.org snippets”:
On the next page:
Click “Activate Plugin” when installation has finished:
- Configure preferences
You can configure your preferences for how the plugin displays the rich snippets info box in the front end by going to its settings page:
When you add new or edit your existing posts or pages, a new option is added just below the main content input area (depending on your theme) that looks like this:
And depending on what type of post you are making, you just have to fill in the details you’d like to appear for your page in the search results. For a review type of post for example, here’s how it will look like:
To test whether you have properly applied your rich snippets, you can use Google’s structured data testing tool. Just enter the URL of your post or page and click “preview”:
Further, you can scroll down to the very bottom and check the section “Item >> Type” to see if Google properly picked up the type of content you indicated for your post. In my case below, it is a video post and I can see that Google recognizes it as I have set. I can also that it successfully read the other details I’ve indicated for my post – the custom description, thumbnail, duration and upload date.
And that’s it! If you decide to apply this on your own website, please share with us how it goes in the comments below. Also, let me know if you have questions and/or clarifications by dropping a line or two in the comments…
Let’s improve the web for everyone by using snippets! 😉