What Is A Rich Snippet?
You will have seen eCommerce rich snippets if you have ever searched Google for a product and been faced with said product directly fed into the search results page. Other types of rich snippets can be a one-sentence answer to a question, a bullet-pointed list, or even a video. It can also be a brand-relevant answer box showing details of a company. Rich snippets are useful from an SEO point of view, because they can help to promote your website as an authority on the kinds of things people are asking. When it is done well, it can place your business at the heart of the matter.
For ecommerce sites in particular, getting featured on Google in this way can have a number of distinct benefits. Although there is some debate about whether or not it improves traffic, much of the data seems to suggest that it does. Even when it does not correlate to a direct click on your website, if you are the authority which is showing up time and time again in position 0 on the SERP, you can be sure that this is going to be good for business. Given that your products are housed on your website, and that is the store itself, it is particularly useful for an ecommerce business such as yours to be in this position. Plus, studies from numerous marketing sources have actually shown a direct correlation between having the rich snippet spot, and receiving more direct click-throughs. You will definitely benefit in the long-term, and almost certainly in the short-term as well.
The data is clear on this: if your website ranked first right below a featured snippet for a high-volume keyword (one which is searched, on average, around 5,000 times a month), you could estimate to receive 850 views. However, if you were the featured snippet box itself, it would be more like 1845 views – around 2.17 times the traffic of having the first result. Clearly, so-called ‘position 0’ is a good place to be. (Need help with keyword research?)
Before we get into the subject of how to actually get your ecommerce website to show up for featured snippets, we will first need to look into some essential dos and don’ts for the entire process. Knowing these at the outset should help you to enjoy much more success when it comes to making all of this come together. First of all, it is useful to know that you can’t create rich snippets, as such. That is to say, only Google can do that. What you can do is make it much more likely that Google will choose your site for the snippet in question. All of what follows centers around making it more likely, but it can’t be forced.
However, you can effectively capture snippets from other websites, by using a tool such as Moz Pro or SEMrush to see where your website is currently placed for certain queries, and then see which queries currently show featured snippets. You can even find out the format of those snippets. All of this is useful data, as we will see.
An Overview Of The Process
Firstly, let’s look at the basic process of creating eCommerce rich snippets. If we pare it down as much as possible, we could say that there are four basic parts to the procedure:
- Identify A Query
- Provide The Answer
- Find Further Information
- Make Google’s Job Easier
The first stage is all about carrying out your research; what are the queries that people who might use your ecommerce service are searching for? Then, you need to think about how to answer those specific queries in a way which is likely to improve your chances of being chosen for a featured snippet. As we shall see, what matters here is being concise and clear. However, you’ll also want to make sure that there is further information which can be discovered after clicking-through to your website, and that is the purpose of the third stage. Then you will want to do everything you can to make it as easy for Google as possible, just to really ensure that you land this thing.
At a glance, these four stages look relatively straightforward, but you might be surprised at just how much you need to learn before you can excel at each of them.
One: Identifying The Query
If you want your website to be the one that is featured in that coveted position, you will need to make sure that you are answering the right questions. So how can you find out what specific queries people are actually typing into that search box? First of all, if you have already been doing anything in the way of improving your SEO, you should already have a good idea of some of the basic keywords that people are using within that sector. You should bear in mind too that you want to look out mostly for keyword phrases which are longer than around six words, as these are generally questions to be answered. High-volume keyword strings which imply a question is being asked is exactly what you want to find. Find the most common – don’t be shy, now – and you can then work on trying to answer those sufficiently enough to be featured.
Two: Providing The Answer
Given that you are running an ecommerce site, you will probably want to find those queries which relate to your products, or at least to something relating to your products. As long as you remember to always draw it back to the product, you should be on the right track. You should consider this when you are coming up with the answers to those keyword strings. Your answers should be relevant to your product, but also detailed and insightful for the individual who is querying. It helps to lay out the response in a way which is clear for the eyes (bullet-point format is particularly popular for ecommerce featured snippets) and concise in the information which is given. This hugely improves the chances of getting yourself in position 0. Aim for around 40-50 words. This is generally a good amount to deliver information without overwhelming the reader.
Three: Furnishing With Further Information
Remember how we said that a featured snippet does not always necessitate a click-through (even if it improves your traffic long-term)? Well, there are ways of increasing the likelihood of click-throughs. One of the most effective is to provide a little more information than is necessary, albeit not as part of the ecommerce featured snippet itself. Generally, you will want this to be visually distinct in some way from the main body of the answer – a different paragraph, a different set of bullet points. This way, you are likely to encourage users to click-through, as they want to see what the ellipsis in that box on the SERP leads to. This is also a fantastic opportunity to lead on to your own products and services – not a difficult thing to achieve for an ecommerce business, where the website very much is the store itself.
Four: Making It Easier For Google
Anything you can do to help Google along, and make it more likely they will pick your website, is probably a good idea. Of course, this is what SEO is setting out to do most of the time anyway, but it is a good idea to remember to take all that on board here as well. If you are providing the correct, concise response to a number of high-volume queries, then that puts you in a good position with Google. However, if you are also ranking high with the search engine anyway as a result of your SEO, then you are in an even better position. Basically, this means that you should be careful not to stop carrying out all of your other essential SEO practices as you work on integrating featured snippets into your strategy. Both should work in tandem for the best possible results. Don’t forget to use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure you’re set up correctly.
The Little Things Make All The Difference
While what lies above is a good general outline of how to be featured as a snippet, there are a few tips which are worth considering in terms of how to lay out the responses which you give. For a start, think professional. Work on ensuring that the grammar, punctuation and spelling are perfect. You might not think it should make much of a difference, but you would be surprised. You want it to look as polished as possible, so this is incredibly important to bear in mind.
You should also think about how you actually structure the answer. It might help to think of it as a kind of reversed pyramid. First, you need to give a concise, one-sentence response to the query. Then you can supplement this with more information, gradually revealing more and more as you go along. This is the best way to deliver the information, and makes it much more likely to be picked up by Google and users alike.
Format is important, too. There is no single correct way to format your responses, as it depends partly on the type of query being asked, but you should look into what others are doing for similar snippets, and see if you can learn from them. Delivering content in the right format is almost as important as the quality of the content itself.
Take A Look At Your Current Content
Whether or not you are currently aware of it, the content that is already on your website might already be a veritable goldmine of responses to queries. It is well worth checking your website, especially those hidden pages you have long since forgotten about, for any raw material which you could shape into something more snippet-worthy. Once you start doing this, you might be thrilled at just how much you have to work with. This is useful, because it can save you a lot of time and hassle, and might even mean that you can get yourself some featured snippets overnight, rather than in a few days. Polish what material you do find until it satisfied the criteria above, and you can be sure that you will be more likely to have those featured snippets.
You might at this point be wondering how to actually find out whether the featured snippet belongs to your website or not. The process is incredibly simple. Head over to the Google Search Console, and look in Search Traffic -> Search Analytics to see if your posts or listings are ranking on Questions. You will have noticed that you can also use this tool to polish your query response pages even more, thus improving your chances again.
Remember To Steal The Show
As a company who does a lot of work as an SEO reseller, we know that it is important to bear in mind that one of the best ways to succeed with featured snippets is to find ones that already exist, and do them better. Search for the queries that are particularly high-volume for ecommerce queries, and then create your own responses which are markedly improved on your rivals’ versions. At all times, you want to be thinking about how you are going to steal the show. As long as you approach featured snippets in this way, you should find that your ecommerce website receives much more in the way of traffic. You will also start to have your own products and other vital business information appear on the SERP higher and higher. And that is exactly what we are dreaming of here.