Stand Out From the Crowd with Rich Snippets
For decades, marketers and advertisers have used graphics to capture attention, entice readers to learn more, and convert browsers into customers. Unfortunately, until now there hasn’t been a way to leverage graphics in search engine results. But this is changing.
Statistics say the majority of people click on search engine results in the #1, #2 or #3 position. However, what happens when a headshot appears next to the results further down the page. Will you break this pattern?
Many businesses don’t know about Google authorship or rich snippets, and their ability to drive traffic to your business. Google authorship and rich snippets allow businesses to do in search engine results what marketers have done for years: use imagery to entice prospects. In fact, sites that implement Google authorship have reported dramatic improvements in click-through rates, ranging from 35 to 150 percent.
So what exactly is Google authorship and rich snippets, and how do they improve your traffic?
What Is Google Authorship?
Google authorship allows your photo to appear directly in search engine results under your page title. This creates a visual element that naturally attracts searchers to your website – and it starts with completing a Google+ profile.
Google+ is a social network, with about 359 million active users. In fact, it’s the second-largest social network site in the world, passing up Twitter in January of 2013. If you don’t have a Google + account already, you can set one up here. Once you complete your G+ profile you can then connect it to your website, which creates a snippet showing your authorship information and photo in search results.
Google is particular about authorship photos. They prefer “real human” photos, compared to avatars or funny pictures. At this point, Google doesn’t support online content with multiple authors and photos, however, might have this capability in the future.
So as a rule, upload a clear recognizable headshot in your profile, which will build credibility and entice searches to click-through to your content.
What Are Rich Snippets?
In addition to adding your photo to search results, it is also possible to code your website so that rich snippets including product information and even recipe photos appear in search results. Businesses can go one step further by adding a Google map, contact information and their hours to search results.
Rich snippets are the text that displays under the blue hyperlinks in search engine results. This information is a short summary of your page, telling readers what your content is about. They can be pulled from your content automatically, or written specifically for each page so the description appeals to the target demographic and includes important keywords. Using rich snippets is an excellent way to get noticed by searchers online, when they’re deciding which page to click on.
Building Online Creditability, and Ranking Better in Search Results
Google authorship and rich snippets add credibility to your online content, and build trust with prospective customers faster. Also, using these tools allow people in your Google+ circles to view which sites and blogs you contribute to, bringing a whole new stream of potential readers to your business.
There is also speculation that Google authorship may help you rank higher with search engines. Not only does this tool assist with identifying pages created by legitimate authors, it’s also favored by people searching for information online. This naturally makes Google authorship more relevant in search engine results.