Optimizing for Rich Snippets

Rich snippets are the highlighted sections on search engine results pages (SERP). Typically, it’s what Google believes to be the answer to the question searched. This block of text appears at the very top of the search result, or at “position zero”. Rich snippets are also where Google pulls the answer for a voice search query. Optimizing for rich snippets will help your firm appear first on the SERPs and increase traffic to your firm’s site. Plus, a potential client might find your firm to be more trustworthy and credible if Google has pulled information from your site to be displayed in a rich snippet.

How to Optimize for Rich Snippets

There is no exact recipe to optimize for rich snippets. Instead, there are different steps you can take to increase the likelihood that content from your firm’s site is pulled for a rich snippet.

Keywords: First, you need to identify the keyword(s) you’d like to try to optimize for. This should be keywords that you already rank on the first page of the SERPs for. Even if you rank 3rd on the SERP, your content can still be pulled for a rich snippet. Once you identify the keyword you’re optimizing for, make sure it appears through the content, including titles and headers.

Question & Answer: Most rich snippets are in question and answer format. A user searches a question and the rich snippet that appears is the answer. Because of this, have your content follow the same format. Though character counts tend to differ by source, keeping your answer under 160 characters can help ensure that your answer isn’t truncated.

Headers: Use different headers and header tags (like h2) to help support the question and answer format. Have the question as the header and the answer underneath. This will make it easier for Google to identify which content should be pulled for the rich snippet.

Competition: Take a look at what the rich snippets look like for keywords you’d like to rank for but currently don’t. For example, maybe you want to rank for “How does breast cancer qualify for Social Security disability?”. A competing firm might have the rich snippet. Does it include any information that you don’t have? Is their content formatted differently? Perhaps it immediately mentions compassionate allowances while you do not. Seeing what Google is already using for a rich snippet can help you get a better idea of what kind of information you should include.

Best Practices: You should always be using SEO best practices. Rich snippets are pulled from sites that Google finds to be credible sources. Avoiding black hat tactics, like keywords stuffing, duplicate content on your site, etc. will help your firm’s site climb higher in the SERPs and increase the likelihood of ranking for a rich snippet.

Technical Optimizations: If you are able to add some technical optimizations, add in header tags and a meta description. Using structured data will help make the page easier for Google to crawl. If you can’t add these, you can still potentially rank for the rich snippet with the optimizations listed above.

Rich snippets are always changing. Just because your firm does not rank for one today, does not mean you won’t tomorrow. Similarly, if your firm ranks for one today, you may not tomorrow. Continuing optimizations and SEO best practices will help you increase your chances for ranking for a rich snippet and then maintaining the rich snippet.