Although Snippets and Rich Snippets have proven effective thus far, on the 21st of September Google announced the arrival of ‘Structured Snippets’ a feature which has been trialled in the weeks prior to launch and is now live in search results. We discuss this latest update from Google and what it means to your online activity.

A ‘Snippet’ is the text which appears in black ink below the title within SERPs. Snippets are designed to provide users with an indication of what each web page will contain and why it is relevant to their search query. ‘Rich Snippets’ on the other hand, have been developed to provide more detailed information for users with very specific search queries, directing them to the most appropriate result within SERPs.

How Structured Snippets work...

Created by Google Research and the Web Search team, Structured Snippets were introduced to provide more information than ever before, helping the user to click through to the most relevant result in SERPs. This process begins by extracting data from tables contained on each web page, aiming to incorporate these facts into the snippet which a user will be presented with in SERPs. Google has confirmed they have technology in place to differentiate between tables containing factual information about a product and tables used on a web page solely for formatting purposes. Also, additional algorithms have been put in place to ‘determine the quality and relevance’ of the facts chosen to feature within the Structured Snippet.

Structured Snippets is Google’s attempt to provide more useful information to users, even from websites that have not been properly marked up and/or structured by webmasters - meaning another small step away from metadata toward automation.

Why include more information?

In days prior to launch, there have been a few questions posed by webmasters and users alike - ‘If factual information is contained within the Structured Snippet, why would users need to click through to the website?’. A fair question to ask, but Google has confirmed Structured Snippets will not include all facts, only up to four highly ranked facts. For example, this review for the Nikon D7100 Camera only displays three facts:

As such, search results with Structured Snippets provide the user with an indication of the type and quality of content on the web page, thus encouraging clicks to read more. Additionally, as Structured Snippets will be used to provide information about products and services, it is highly likely the user will click through to view additional information and imagery to aid their purchasing decisions.

As Structured Snippets are relatively new, the fact quality will differ from one search result to the next dependent on the information available. With time, Google hopes website and content managers will structure their web pages accordingly to allow the algorithms to extract top ranking facts with ease. Google are continually reviewing and enhancing the accuracy of the facts they display and hope this additional feature will prove beneficial to the user.

How can my website display Structured Snippets?

If you are a product/service provider it is likely you will want to include Structured Snippets to display even more information within SERPs. Google has recently advised the best way to feature Structured Snippets in your search result is to provide original, informative and optimised content on product/service landing pages and ensure it has been marked-up in a way Google understands.

As Structured Snippets has only just begun, we look forward to watching this progress. Find out the latest about structured snippets here.