There has been a lot of discussion in the SEO world lately around structured data and rich snippets in the SERPs. If you are not familiar with structured data, it is basically a way to explain the content of your website to the search engines in a trusted (structured) format. You can think back to the good-old-days when all you had to do was update your META tags… until this was abused so much that Google stopped using them.
What Is Structured Data & Why Should You Use It?
Although Google doesn’t currently use structured markup data for ranking purposes, there are several benefits from an SEO standpoint. By adding content in structured search verticals, this helps the search engine data feeds match the content on the page and return optimal results in the SERPs.
In addition, when the appearance of your listing is clear to the user, it stands out, and this in turn, should help improve response rate. According to Yoast, some sites see a 20% to 30% uplift in rankings, when using rich snippets because more people click on those results.
Now that you know what structured data is and why it’s important to utilize, let’s talk about ways B2B search marketers should use it.
Rich Snippet Examples
Rich snippets have really taken off with B2C (consumer-oriented) companies. We’ve all seen restaurant reviews, recipes and music events listed with rich snippets in the SERPs. Snippet information appears as extra lines of text in the listing. Rich snippets may include anything from a rating to song lyrics, to phone numbers and reviews.
Here are a few examples from B2C sites.
But, let’s not leave B2B marketers behind. Rich snippets can be very impactful for business marketers. Here are four steps to get you started.
Step 1. Market Research
Always start with market research to get the best results.
- Decide what is right for you
- Look at competitors — what are they doing?
- Take a look in your vertical to see what markup types are generating rich snippets
- Look to meet the following criteria:
- Lifts you above the pack
- Better description of what your page offers
- Biggest bang for the buck
Step 2. Determine The Most Impactful Rich Snippet For Your Firm
As shown above, rich snippets can make your products or services stand out in the SERPs. Below is a list of some of the most common Rich Snippet formats that might apply to B2B companies.
- Videos — include an image of the video, name, duration
- Person – phone numbers and photos
- Businesses and Organizations – location, review
- Products – ratings, price, pictures
- Authors – this is a great way to link to articles and showcase a thought leader in your company
- Events – date, time, location
Step 3. Markup Content, Implement & Test
Applying semantic markup is a complex task and should be done by qualified personnel.
- Schema.org (Schema.org) can help determine the best HTML tags to use for your content
- Once your developer marks up your content, they will implement and test the code. Google provides a Snippet Testing Tool
- If your rich snippets don’t appear, you can tell Google that you’ve added rich snippets to your site by completing this request form
Step 4. Measure Success
Always benchmark and measure to monitor your results.
- Set an initial benchmark and determine success metrics
- One recommended success metric is increase in response (click-through-rate)
- Be Patient. It can take 30 days or more before the rich snippets will start displaying in Google
- Utilize Google’s Structured Data Dashboard in Webmaster Tools which provides basic stats
Below are a few examples of how B2B marketers can use Rich Snippets.
- Tag your webinars as Events
- Use the Author tag on all whitepapers, downloadable assets and articles
- Tag product spec sheets with the Product tag
- Tag your pages with the Review tag so users can review information about a specific product or service
Rich snippets provide a great way to enhance your listings in Google so they stand out from the competition, which will ultimately bring more qualified users to your site. It’s well worth educating yourself on rich snippets and strategizing to ensure that you’re using them to full advantage. Get ahead of your competition and get started today!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.