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.

Do you host a large site, one with a multitude of products and services?  Are you a review provider?  Is yours a business-to-business site, offering listings to a host of vendors?  If so, it’s likely there are many pages within your Web site.  That’s great news, inviting more opportunities for commerce.  However, you want to ensure each page is getting deserved attention.

Title Tags are for Bots and Humans…Don’t Forget the Humans

We all know about the importance of title tags.  Search engines use title tags to appropriately catalog data and Web browsers use SERP-supplied tags to make decisions as to what sites best address their needs.

While at present, applying rich snippets does not immediately improve your pages ranking on SERPs (Google champions them for better indexing but relates snippets do not improve a URLs position on SERP pages), snippets do help bots catalog a page’s information and snippets help browsers.  While the SEO process heavily relies on “communicating” with SE bots, it’s a mistake to neglect communicating with browsers as well.  Rich snippets allow Web masters to include additional information in title tags.

Here’s an example from Google Support:

 

Offer More Value to Browsers…and Advertisers

The City Search site has a lot of information to offer browsers.  The site offers more value to browsers through snippet information related to reviews, location, and so on.  For a third-party site, like City Search, offering more value to the user is fortuitous on two levels: one, browsers will champion the City Search results due to the provision of robust information; secondly, businesses, who advertise through City Search, will celebrate the provision of snippets; after all, the businesses are leveraging third-party sites for increased exposure.

You Can Snippet Too

Some small business owners and Web masters may be intimidated by snippet implementation.  Don’t fret; only a basic knowledge of HTML is warranted for microdata, microformats, or RDFa formats.  Also, don’t dismiss snippets if you’re not a huge site.  Snippets are useful regarding sites supplying information related to recipes, events, music, people, and more.

In addition, you can improve the visibility and optimization of your videos too as video production has quickly became commonplace in a number of verticals, helping vendors better communicate the effectiveness of products and services to consumers.

 

Thanks for reading.