Why do people always seem intent on doing the hardest thing when often something easier is likely to get better results?
The classic example of this is customers. Yes we all need them, but so many people seem to be so intensely focused on acquiring new customers, that they forget about the revenue they could earn from their existing ones.
The other fixation people tend to have is being ranked number one in the search engines, particularly Google. I’ve just done a Google search for “how to rank number 1 in Google”. There’s over 50 MILLION results retrieved! I then changed it to “how to rank number 2 in Google” and …got the shock of my life.
About 1,550 MILLION results retrieved. What’s going on? I certainly didn’t expect this. On closer inspection it became obvious, my actual search query wasn’t being addressed. I didn’t go past the first page results, but none of the top ten entries dealt specifically with my query. What it means to rank 1, 2, and 3. How to rank on Google Part 2. Ranking number 2 but no visit. They were all there, but no how to rank number 2 in Google.
And why should someone want to rank second. After all surveys have shown that the top ranked site gets 42% of the clicks while the second ranked site only gets 12%. But of course what they don’t show, or at least I haven’t found, is the additional cost incurred in achieving a number one position and whether the benefits justify it.
So, on the basis that we can’t all be number one, and we haven’t all got extensive budgets, should we be looking at working smarter, rather than harder? Is it possible to achieve better results from a lower placed ranking?
I believe it is. And it’s done with the help of rich snippets. By carefully crafting your snippet you can sneak in under your competitors nose and steal the click. All perfectly legally, white hat and above board.
What’s a Snippet?
A snippet is the few lines of text that appear in the search engine ranking pages (SERPS). Typically it consists of your title, url and description. However, they can be managed to accentuate the subject of your page and draw the searcher in. They can demonstrate the relevance of the site to the users search, and in doing so have the potential to increase click through rates.
To illustrate this point, look at the results from a search for “walnut cake recipes”.
Where are your eyes drawn to? Chances are it’s the second entry with the mouth watering image of the walnut cake and the star rating. And if that’s the entry you’re looking at, that’s the entry you’re likely to click.
How to Add Rich Snippets
Rich snippets are added by including additional code in your web pages. If you’re using WordPress, there are several plugins you can choose from, depending on the features you wish to display. Google webmaster tools provide guidance if you’re coding yourself.
For a comprehensive overview of rich snippets, see the infographic below.
Rich snippets won’t improve your search engine ranking, but they may make your listing more eye catching and increase your click through rate. Got to be easier than striving for a number one ranking, surely.
Over To You: Do you use rich snippets? Have you seen an increase in your click through rates? Do you think they should be embraced and adopted, or will their easy to fake nature result in a limited shelf life?