Yesterday, I urged you to snippet good.  Today, I want you to realize the potential of abuse; try to detect and neglect it.  Not too long ago, great posts on improved snippets and implementing them using Schema.org were posted.  Perhaps many Web masters took heed, realizing it was not very difficult to implement rich ones, using a variety of available formats.  Google encourages the use of rich snippets, as they aid browsers in securing desired information.

Shape it Up, Get Straight

However, the Web is not always a perfect place.  There is a dark side, a place where outlaw Web masters don shaded caps and attempt to manipulate browsers, a place where fake snippets are a reality.  Once Web masters realized snippets could be misused, an onslaught of unscrupulous implementation took hold.

But why, mad-black hatters, why the misuse?  Well, it’s likely the notions of keyword stuffing (to ostensibly rank higher for desired terms) and fake reviews (to lure the attraction of unsuspecting consumers) were in mind.  Can you immediately apply fake snippets, hoping to game the system?  It’s very likely.  However, we’ve seen Google “discipline” Web masters before -no reason snippets and other SEO 2012 topics are not on Google’s immediate agenda.

Go Forward, Move Ahead

My personal advice to Web masters:  Don’t use SEO and online marketing initiatives in a rogue fashion.  Our industry doesn’t offer shortcuts; it offers optimization, a way to enhance your online presentation of goods and services.  The sentiments of business ethics and reputation management do not ebb online; theoretically, an SE could be gamed, but what happens when consumers acknowledge your online exposure and snippets are just another variety of SPAM, not aligned with the quality of your products, services, and overall brand experience?  Burned consumers and competitors can contribute to universal-Web awareness with the help of a tweet or other social media post; is immediate increased rankings worth the doom of your brand?

It’s Not Too Late…

Hopefully, I’ve persuaded you from the dark side and helped you realize “fake” snippets are not worth your brand’s time, but proper implementation is great for facilitating a better user experience.  As touched upon yesterday, there are a multitude of sites that can enrich available SERP information through snippets.  Consider a few example situations where snippets enhance browsing.

-          Craig Bradford included this image in his SEOmoz-Schema.org post, urging news sites to include snippets to help readers recruit more immediate information regarding single posts.  I see more and more sites embracing copywriting, producing industry-specific news.  Snippets are another way to grab browser attention and educate them.

-          Are you hosting an upcoming event?  Implement snippets to spread awareness about charities, festivals, concerts, business expos, etc.

-          Some readers judge a post by its author; enhance the SERP stats of popular site authors using rich snippets.  Include awards, social media stats, professional degrees, etc.

-          Ecommerce site often host scores of pages, all unique and vying for consumer attention.  Help browsers find desired services and products by listing additional, germane information into snippets.

 Thanks for reading.