Search Results that Drive Business Part 2: Moving Beyond Authorship

In addition to Authorship there is a whole world of data that can be pulled from a website to create a rich snippet.  The major players in the search engine world (Google, Yahoo, Bing & Yandex) banded together and created a unifying body designed to streamline this effort.  Referred to as schema.org, the organization provides web developers with an enormous list of ways to tag data on a website.  These tags are called markups and there are literally hundreds of them.  The advantage of adding markups to a site is that it creates a dynamic rich snippet depending on what someone searches for.1  As was stated in the previous article, having a rich snippet will not move your search results up the page, but it will lead to higher click through rates (CTR).  There are a number of exciting markups that can be added to a site and we’re going to discuss several of them below.

Businesses that are interested in having people arrive at their offices should be using both the Local Business and Place markups.2  The Local Business markup allows a company to list their physical address, the hours they are open, and include a geotag with their exact coordinates listed.  The local business information can help to make your snippet all the more relevant for potential customers in your market.  The geotag allows Google to place a pin on a map, which makes finding the business all the easier.  The combination of local business information and physical location makes these two markups a must have for many businesses.

You’ve likely seen and clicked on breadcrumbs without knowing what they were.  Breadcrumbs are the strings of links that show up under a search result that break the site down into a progression of links.  They also refer to any string of descending links that make a site easier to navigate.  This specific type of markup shows users the link tree that connects to the page they are looking at.  When breadcrumbs show up under a search listing they add a series of additional links to the snippet.  This gives people more options to select from and it also makes the snippet more interesting and more likely to generate a click through.  The other great thing about breadcrumbs is they offer visitors options in regards to how they would like to visit a site.  This option gives visitors a sense of control over how they gain access to the information or services they are seeking.

The ability to view videos, easily online, has transformed the way we use the web.  People love videos and Youtube is one of the most popular sites out there as a result.  Google offers a schema markup just for videos.4  The result is a rich snippet that shows up with small a video window next to the search result.  While the video does not play directly from the search screen it will take people to the site where the video is hosted.  Not only is this video link a tantalizing element for the public, but it also takes up more screen real estate, effectively pushing other competing links out of the visible frame.  It is hard think of a way to make a snippet more rich than adding a video.

We have only scratched the surface of the various markups that are available to help propel a snippet from forgettable to engaging.  If properly executed, markups can transform snippets into the dynamic, custom tailored experience that they should be.  This technology is not new, but a quick search will reveal how many companies are failing to execute even the most basic of these strategies.  Having rich snippets are just as important as having a well managed social presence, both are the hallmarks of savvy customer first companies.

1.  http://schema.org/

2.  http://searchengineland.com/13-semantic-markup-tips-for-2013-a-local-seo-checklist-143708

3.  http://socialsolutionscollective.com/not-all-breadcrumbs-bring-ants-better-seo-picnic/

4.  http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2413309

Written By: Paul Scavitto (26 Posts)

Paul Scavitto holds a Masters Degree in Education and currently teaches English at a small private high school in Vermont. He has held positions in a number of industries including sales, state bureaucracy and corrections. His background includes training in business management and customer service best practices and he is an avid follower of trends in business technology. Currently, he is the lead writer for the Barcode Publicity Blog.


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