A rich text snippet is a segment of HTML code that is placed on web pages that ‘marks up’ the page and tells Google and other search engines explicit pieces of information about that page. A picture tells a thousand words. See the screen capture below of a typical Google search results page that includes a rich text snippet:

Why do we care about rich text snippets? The answer is easy to understand. The reason we care about rich text snippets is that they show up as visually appealing additions to the Google search result listing. Let’s take a look at a Google SERP and it quickly becomes clear that links that have a visually appealing picture or image are far more likely to be click on.

Rich text snippet sample

Your eye is drawn to the links that have the visual appeal. As you will see below, this visual appeal comes in several forms. For people authoring content, Google shows their profile picture from their Google+ page. For reviews of a product or service, Google shows the graphical number of stars that page received. For recipes it shows a beautiful picture of the food itself.

Rich text snippet types

The links on the SERP that have visual appeal are the ones that will get clicked. Some evidence has already suggested that the click thru rate (CTR) is higher for a link that is #4 on the SERP compared to the #1 ranking link if it has a rich text snippet. You can see from the chart below that prior to rich text snippets there was a major advantage in being ranked in the top 3 positions on Google:

Click thru rate on Google rankings

More studies will be published on the effect on CTR but this is a major change in how people interact with the search results page. You can learn more about how your ranking position is so important for click thru rates and acquiring SEO traffic

This infographic below summarizes the key points about rich text snippets and what the future may hold for them. Sorry for the size of the infographic, it’s worth it.

To get help implementing rich text snippets on your website click the link provided here or contact us and we’ll help you get started. We’d love to hear your experiences with rich text snippets so sound off on the Facebook comments section below. Happy snippeting!