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What are rich snippets?
Rich snippets are being used more and more in websites and SEO, they provide a simple summary that come up in the search results, they are often displayed as a review or rating under the title of the search result. Rich snippets can be displayed in many forms depending on what you search for, for example event information may bring up the location in the rich snippet, if you search for an individual they may bring up contact details they can find etc.
The purpose of rich snippets is to make the users search easier by identifying appropriate information from the keyword search and displaying it. This sort of information can help a site do well and encourage people to click through to the website as they feel that page will be relevant to them and worth the click.
Rich snippets for Ecommerce
Over the last few weeks Google has introduced a new way of using rich snippets that will be of benefit to ecommerce websites, this displays the product details such as price and availability within the search results. This is currently being trialed in America but some users have seen tasters of it in the UK and we expect before Christmas it will be running from all data centres.
This use of rich snippets is tied into the Google shopping results, where most ecommerce websites and online shops will provide a feed to Google’s merchant centre which get displayed in the shopping results and sometimes within the universal search. If your ecommerce site has been optimised you may also be familiar with the cannonical tag and therefore Google will match the URLs in the product feed with those pages on your website that it crawls for its index.
This is good news for ecommerce websites and comes just in time for Christmas however you may not think this initially as it may decrease traffic.
By displaying rich snippets of prices and product information the user will have a better idea of what you are offering so people may not click through if they think you are too expensive or the product isn’t what they were looking for. However, the traffic that comes through will be more specific and be a better quality as they are more likely to convert. This should have a knock on effect to your bounce rate and conversion rates.
If you have an ecommerce site and are not using both rich snippets or Google merchant you may lose potential sales to online shops that are using them. These sites will come up in the SERPs and be more likely to be clicked on. If you have a competitive pricing structure you should definately be using rich snippets to promote this.