Slides from SMX Israel 2013
On Sunday 6th January, Alex Moss talked at SMX Israel. Below are the slides complete with full transcript of his talk.
How to Leverage CTR with Rich Snippets
Up to now, everyone's been talking about exactly what to do, and how to actually implement it. Today, I want to talk about why you want to implement all these rich snippets more from a psychological point of view, rather than a practical point of view.
Why do we want to actually use them? We want to give Google as much data as possible. We're here to help them, and in return they'll help us. They want to use that data and they're going to use it more and more. As you can see from
schema.org, they have a lot of stuff that you can actually use, and rich snippets, and actually output in the search results pages. As a consequence, you get more real estate on the results page itself, and I've got a few examples of that.
Barak talked a bit about events that I've been noticing as well. I've chosen the Red Hot Chili Pepper tickets as an example. The highlighted result there shows you the most upcoming tour dates, and by clicking them, you actually - it's kind of like mini side links - and you don't have to be number one to have those side links. By clicking, for example the Chelsea at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, it will take you specifically to that venue, that date, and that concert, and therefore it's easier conversion, as they won't have to browse through all the locations and dates.
As well as that, there's quite few star-ratings, and there's kind of difference between them. For starters, products at the top, you can actually see that they've got a rating out of five, and they've got 51 votes. As well as that, you've got price range. The voting system can be either user-generated or it can be imported externally. Here I know that might be more trustworthy as a review, rather than the one above, because I'm seeing that 51 people have commented and they've actually expressed their opinion specifically.
Applications is a little bit different. It's the same rating system and it's the same voting system. You can have the same pricing system, but as well as that; you can have an OS that is an Anroid App that will say Anroid. I've chosen not to do that because this is my plug-in :)
The next one is a review, but by a specific person. I search for 'Alton Towers review', and you can see that Steve Wollaston has specifically written a whole entire article about the venue itself. Because of that, you can actually get a bit of authorship markup in there aswell.
The last one is one of the few that actually combine both the start rating system and an image, as well. You get even more real estate on there, and it's more attractive to someone to click. One thing to notice here is that although they were number one for that specific search term, I'm going to trust that search result. They've got over 7,000 people who've actually agreed that the rating should be near five stars. I'm going to say to myself, "Not only do I like the look of that banana cake, but 7,000 people have also cooked and eaten it and been very pleased by it."
I just want to talk about rel="author" for a sec. It's not a rich snippet, but I wanted to talk about it, because it's now being integrated into a search result page. You can use any kind of head shot, and it all comes from your Google+ profile. As a tip, at the beginning when we launched 3 Door Digital, my image was black and white, and it was a plain white background. I then changed it to color, and I've got a brighter background, and then after that I saw CTR double within days. Use something colorful, use a headshot, either be face-on or looking to the side, but at least be a little bit noticeable, so you as a person can be seen, and then if they search for something else, you'll be noticed again.
You can also put colored borders around it. It's not against Google+'s terms and conditions and it works very well with Facebook advertising, and can also be applied here. At the bottom, I'm using Kenny Hotz, who's a comedian based in Canada. He has a show called, Kenny vs Spenny, if anyone's heard of it. I've just been working with him recently, and we're going to be doing some testing on different variations.
On SEOmoz, Cyrus Shepard actually wrote quite a detailed blog post about variations and profile pictures. He used 4 different images of himself. He used about 8 variations of background colors, and tested all of them. Over here, Kenny's looking at the actual search results itself, which may or may not indicate it's a nonverbal conversion, if you were to point to a CTA on a page then you're more likely to actually click it.
The last one is video thumbnails. This is the biggest thumbnail that you can actually have within a SERP. It alerts you that there's actually more than just text on the page, there's something to watch and listen to, and it also tells how long the video is. The top ones, date of search actually reviewed the WordPress video SEO plugin by
Joost de Valk, that costs from $69, and it's very easy to install if you have a WordPress blog. The great thing about it is that if you click the thumbnail, it just doesn't open up and play video like it would if you were watching a video in the Facebook news feed, it actually goes into the page. You get the traffic, you get people reading it because you don't need to have the video at the top, above the fold. People actually read it, and therefore, it's more likely that they'll stay on the site for you to convert them.
The really good thing about it is that if you don't have a good development resource, you can actually submit a video sitemap. You can find more information on this within Google's Video Sitemap page.
Lastly, I'll give a few tips. I'd mark up as much as you can. As we've shown before, Schema has pretty much everything you can think of for stuff to mark up. Google is only going to use this more, and more... and more. You've seen this in the events themselves, that's just in its infancy. It's only going to evolve, and there's going to be a time where you get everything you want on the search you want. You may just search, for example for, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and it will not only integrate with your location, but the date. It will tell you when the next Red Hot Chili Peppers concert is in Jerusalem specifically. All of those things you should just do. It's free to develop, except for time and results, and you might as well.
Another thing is make sure you get the author snippets in, as well as your star ratings. My friend Peter Handley, he works for theMediaFlow in England. He showed me one example he did, where he just did a normal recipe, a recipe snippet. He didn't use a thumbnail or anything. He also has rel="author" integrated into his site, and I can see that. He's got star rating, his image, and he's also got a little link, 'More by Peter Handley', which will go to his Google+ profile.
Lastly, check HTML. In the Google rich snippets testing area you can also, as well as inserting a URL, there's an HTML tab so you don't need to deal with anyone else to test things out. You don't need to go to a developer; you can just develop yourself using the Schema.org instructions. Test it there without using any sites, or any test sites. Then from there, you can then forward that to the developer or then implement it very safely.