What are rich snippets - microdata, microformats, and RDF?
Rich Snippets are text under your main listing in the Google results Pages or SERPS for short. The Rich Snippet is compiled from the data read from Microdata/microformats/RDF markup you place on your web page. The song names below and the album and song lengths are all gleaned from Microdata embedded in the web page and then built into a snippet by Google.
Yes, there are currently 3 ways to mark up the HTML on your web page. When we talk about Microdata - we actually mean any one of the following specifications:-
The inclusion of Rich Snippet Code or Microdata etc. in your page tells google the Exact Data about Defined Categories, i.e. Google doesn't have to figure out when an event is or what the SKU code of a product is.
Among others, Google supports rich snippets in these Microdata content types or defined categores (aka schema):
Other schemas can be found at Schema.org
Here is an example of what Rich Snippets looks like in the Google SERPs. This is an example of a PRODUCT. The following Microdata were specified (and others) :- RATING (the stars) and the PRICE (124.99 dollars) - You could also "nest" OFFERS (special offers) The Product and seller were most likely specified as normal in the HEAD tag but could also be specified as The NAME of the product (Ergo Value Mesh Medium Black Task Chair). SELLER (Overstock.com)
Note that NO IMAGE was specified so none appears in the snippet!
NOTE: Because Microdata/Microformat are OPEN Formats - its not just Google that can use it. Entrepreneurs who build comparison sites will spider the web, find your Microdata and use it to include YOUR products in THEIR website. This is one of the web's ultimate backlinking tips! Its also more EYECATCHING than a "vanilla" listing don't you think?
Here is another example where the Microdata Type was RECIPE and programmer included the following Microdata : The NAME of the dish, a PHOTO and COOKTIME (how long it takes to make):-
Do Rich Snippets influence my rank in the SERPS?
No. However having ALL your product information on a Google listing when competitors do not; gives YOU the advantage. It also tells Google more about your Product, Service or Event and thus you become a more valuable asset. My personal opinion is that it will definitely help your click-through. Note that the RECIPE example only came number 6 in the SERPS, however 3 of the listings above it all used Snippets and all had pictures. Of the two that did not; one recipe came from the UK's top website (The Guardian) and the other from Nigella Lawson's website which was trending at the time.
What does the snippet Markup Code look like?
The code for a rich snippet has to be made from either a pre-define schema Here is a short MICRODATA example of a Review for a Pizza Restaurant:-
<div itemscope itemtype="http://data-vocabulary.org/Review">
<span itemprop="itemreviewed">L’Amourita Pizza</span>
Reviewed by <span itemprop="reviewer">Ulysses Grant</span> on
<time itemprop="dtreviewed" datetime="2009-01-06">Jan 6</time>.
<span itemprop="summary">Delicious, tasty pizza in Eastlake!</span>
<span itemprop="description">L'Amourita serves up traditional wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza,
brought to your table promptly and without fuss. An ideal neighborhood pizza joint.</span>
Rating: <span itemprop="rating">4.5</span>
How do you make Rich Snippet code ... easily!
Sadly building the code (or mark-up) is no easy task as the code must be exact and conform to rules laid down for Microformats / Microdata etc al.. Thankfully a template is available on the SEO Profiler website and you can just fill in the blanks with your company / product details. Note that you have to sign up; however its free.
Testing and Checking your Rich Snippet
Once you have built your code and included in your web page you should test it using the Google Rich Snippet Tester in Webmaster Tools
Rich Snippets Notes:-
Send in queries to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add any useful information to the page.
How do I see the full range of Schema Available for my markup:
Go to Schema.org
Whats an easy site that lets me just fill in the blanks and create mark-up:
Go to SEO Profiler Rich Snippet Creator