Have you noticed that not all search engine results are the same? Have you noticed that there are search results with stars, others with images, some even with maps?
These results, different from the normal text-only results, are called rich snippets.
As you can see from the above examples, just a few of the possible ones, there are several types of rich search snippets. The most common are as follows:
- People and Organizations (Knowledge Graph)
- Music and video
What are rich snippets
To clarify concepts, these rich snippets that appear on search engine results pages are tags or microdata that help the search engine user to better understand the type of content to which each result refers.
In this way the different results in the SERP are differentiated from each other, usually gaining in visibility those with more rich content, simply because they stand out from the normal text-only results.
What is Schema.org’s structured microdata?
Search engines are able to display these enriched results thanks to what is known as Schema.org structured microdata, the microdata standard recognized by Google, Bing and Yahoo, among other search engines.
There is a lot of structured data possible, although not all of it is yet recognized by search engines.
Are rich snippets with structured microdata good for SEO?
Yes, rich snippets displayed in the SERP, thanks to structured data, are good for SEO, for several reasons:
- Rich snippets are clearly more visible in SERPs and receive more views and clicks.
- Rich snippets distinguish you from the competition, making you more visible.
- Rich snippets increase the CTR (click-through rate in the SERP).
- Google artificially highlights and ranks rich snippets higher, especially in mobile searches.
And best of all, for you and for me, is that they are very easy to implement in your content, thanks to WordPress mainly.
How to create rich snippets with WordPress
The easiest way to add Schema.org structured data to your various WordPress content types, to display rich snippets on search engine results pages, is through plugins.
Shall we take a look at some of the most interesting ones?
Yes, it turns out that the most popular plugin for creating online stores with WordPress automatically generates rich snippets for the products you create.
When you create a product WooCommerce it adds various structured microdata from Schema.org that search engines recognize.
It adds the fundamental structured data (mandatory) to recognize it as a product, and then display that microdata in a rich snippet of the search results:
- Product title
- Product description
- Product image
- Product URL
- Product SKU
- Product Rating
- Product Price
- Discounted price of the product
There are more possible structured data, but they are optional, such as the brand or the GTIN or ISBN, and you can always add them later with specialized plugins, as we have already seen here.
The Yoast SEO plugin, even in its free version, allows you to assign Schema.org types to your content, both globally on its settings page and later, on a per-content basis, from the SEO box it adds.
The range of Schema types is not very complete but it works correctly for posts and pages, not contributing anything to the products, although these are already covered by WooCommerce itself.
The best thing is that it does everything automatically, and the worst thing is that it does not allow you to configure the microdata included for each type, or add new ones.
Of course, Rank Math also includes basic settings for assigning Schema.org types to your content, and just like Yoast you can configure the Knowledge Graph and global settings.
The best thing about Rank Math settings for Schema structured data, is the automation, but you have the limitation in terms of the number of Schema types and the lack of customization of the structured microdata to include in each type.
All in One Schema Rich Snippets
With this plugin, we start talking seriously about Schema and configuration of the different structured microdata.
As soon as you install the plugin, available for free on WordPress.org, you can not only configure what structured data to configure for each type of Schema, but in the WordPress editor you can configure any type of content as the type of Schema you want, and add all the structured data necessary for search engines to validate it and display it as rich snippet in their results.
If you look at the screenshots above, I am configuring a post entry with the product Schema type, and once I manually add all the microdata required by the search engines, they will identify it as such, showing rich snippets in the search results.
If you are really serious about applying the advantages of rich snippets to improve the SEO of your content this is the type of plugin you should use, and take the time to set up the structured data of your content, the results will give you the reason for the extra effort.
How to create rich snippets manually
We’re not done, because there is one way left to add Schema.org structured data to your content, and that is to do it manually(no plugins).
It’s actually the best way to do it.
So far we’ve seen how to add Schema microdata with plugins, but even the best of plugins have limitations on the structured data we can add to our content, at least in their free versions.
But there is a fail-safe method that will allow us to add any Schema.org structured data to generate rich snippets, with the absolute guarantee that they will be validated by Google. Wondering how? … by using Google to create them.
Meet Google’s structured data markup wizard!
To start, enter the URL of the page to which you want to add structured data and choose the Schema type.
After clicking the “Start tagging” button you will see a copy of your content where you are invited to start tagging it, selecting parts of the page.
The process is very simple, just select(click and drag) the different elements and you will automatically see a pop-up to choose which structured data you want to assign to each element you have selected.
Select and choose the structured data to which each part of the page refers and they will be added to the section on the right, called “Data items“, as you can see in the following screenshot.
When you have finished selecting elements to add structured data, if you want to add any structured data that you cannot associate to any part of your content, you can add them manually, all of them, from the button at the bottom right, “Add missing tags“.
A pop-up window will appear in which you can manually add all the structured data, with the information you want.
When you are done, and you have added all the structured data you want to incorporate for your future rich snippet, save the changes and click the CREATE HTML button.
In the next, and last, screen you will see the native JSON code generated by Google, and do you know the best thing? Well, Google has generated it, and it will process it correctly, without fail, in its engine, and will show all the structured data that you have added in the rich snippet.
Add custom structured data
Now how do I get my post, page, product or whatever to have that structured data? Very simple: edit the content with your WordPress editor.
Just add the JSON code generated with Google’s structured data wizard to your content, either in the HTML tab of the classic editor or in an HTML block of the block editor, it doesn’t matter.
This code will not be visible to users but will be detected by search engines to generate a rich snippet from the structured data indicated in the JSON code.
Validates Schema structured data
The last step, not mandatory but recommended, is to check the validity of the structured data generated, and you can do it in any of these two pages:
Both free services work the same, just paste the URL and the service will show you the result of the structured data code, with the extra in Google’s one of being able to see a screenshot of how the rich snippet would look like.
Now you just have to wait for the next crawl of the search engine bots to update their indexes with your – now – structured data, and instead of showing the typical and normal text snippets, they will show enriched snippets in all their splendor and visibility, which will help you get more clicks on your content, more traffic, more SEO, conversions, sales, etc.
Conclusions and decisions
I hope I have explained in a simple way what rich snippets are, how they are generated, and above all how to add these interesting microdata to your content, to improve your SEO.
But you may still have some doubts, for example….
- Are rich snippets good for SEO? – Definitely YES, as they are more visible they tend to get more clicks, send you more traffic, improve your CTR, and improve your SEO.
- Do I have to add as much structured data as possible? – No, only the mandatory ones so that the validation tool, and the bots, do not show alerts, which would prevent rich snippets from being displayed. Even if there are warnings about optional structured data, they are just that, optional.
- Can Google penalize you if you add Schema structured data? – No, simply if there are missing mandatory structured data it will not show rich snippets, it will show normal, text ones.
- Is it better to add the structured data with plugins or manually? – What you should not do is to add them automatically using plugins like Yoast or Rank Math, because the types are very limited, not always the right ones, and they do not allow neither adding nor customizing structured data. At least use a plugin like All in One Schema Rich Snippets, which we have seen before, or much better, the manual method, prioritizing your most relevant content, so that it is not an inaccessible task, but simply a methodical one, to gradually improve the SEO of your best content, improving the rich snippets.
If you have any more questions, or simply want to share something you have learned, as always, you can contribute your voice, below, in the comments.