When most companies think about rich snippets they think about authorship, which was one of the most popular snippets to use to improve content marketing. Of course authorship ended back in August of last year, and unfortunately this meant that companies started to lose focus when it came to the snippets that are still beneficial. Even in 2015 structured snippets can help improve your SEO if you know how to work with them correctly. According to and article by Audience Bloom’s Jayson DeMers, they are going to change the way people find information on the Web, so you’ll need to adjust your optimization strategies as a result.

Fortunately, understanding structured snippets can be as basic or as advanced and you like. There are lots of different types of snippets and ways to use snippets, so the sooner you can get the basics down the sooner you can test their affect on your SEO metrics.

Structured Snippets and How They’ve Changed Over the Last Year

The first thing to understand is what structured snippets actually mean. Oftentimes they are used synonymously with the term “rich snippets.” While this might be OK when talking loosely about snippets, the two phrases actually mean slightly different things. Structured snippets are actually just one type of rich snippet. Consider the definitions:

  • Rich Snippets. These snippets will give you information on a SERP before you actually have to click, and websites need to structure their data in a way that Google can read. Authorship was an example of a rich snippet. You can learn more about rich snippets in detail from Google here.
  • Structured Snippets. These snippets will give specific information about a certain query based on Web results (so not necessarily a tag that you can include like with rich snippets). In other words, structured snippets do not ask you to structure your data, but rather they automatically pull from your website data regardless of how it’s marked-up.

As discussed above, structured snippets have also changed quite a bit over the past year. Not only have the types of snippets changed, but how important they are and their meaning has also changed as they’ve continued to evolve.  Snippets are now becoming the norm on SERPs and Google is constantly adding new snippet options—recipes for food dishes, reviews of products, event dates and locations, video content, and more.

So how do you get started? We wrote an article on our sister site HigherVisibility here that talks about how to get started with rich snippets and make sure that they are implemented correctly. As a quick overview, there are three main steps to creating and optimizing rich snippets: A. Select a markup format, B. Apply your markup format, and C. Test.

What Structured Snippets Mean for SEO

Because people are able to get information right there on the SERP with snippets, they are going to be less likely to click. However, it’s important to remember that if they were looking for a quick answer, chances are they weren’t going to be a customer in the first place. By giving them the information they need right away, they may actually be more inclined to visit again in the future when they do want to dig deeper.

As far as SEO goes, the mere fact that Google is including more information on their SERPs gives us a hint into the future of search. Google likes to see websites helping their overall goals, and while snippets are not a ranking factor yet, they may very well be in the future. On that same note, the more information you can provide to users, the better. If your competition is using rich snippets and you’re not, they may be more apt to click on your competition. This article, for example, talks about how snippets can help your result jump off the page.

So what do you think about snippets? Do you think they are negative for marketers, or is Google moving in the right direction? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.