So what exactly is a rich snippet? Simply put, it’s the “extras” Google is offering us when performing a search. Google defines them as a way to “give users convenient summary of information about their search results at a glance”. In other words, Google is making it easier for us to find what we are looking for.

The best way to explain rich snippets is to show examples. Google has rolled out rich snippets in various vertical searches and I’ve done my best provide screenshots.

Restaurants – The screenshot below shows snippets of price range, reviews, and overall rating.

Reviews – Reviews are more than just restaurants. This example shows a rich snippet for video game reviews.

People – People are using Google to search for other people. Rich snippets can now be found in people searches. This is still being rolled out but I did find a rich snippet for this SEO rock star profile.

Products – Product listing are using rich snippets in organic search results. The example below is not a screenshot from the shopping section that we often see in Google Universal Search. This SERP listing was within the organic results. Notice the price and stock quantity? Very cool.

Businesses & Organizations –Even churches can be reviewed. The screenshot below shows another facet of rich snippets, the breadcrumb navigation (directly under link title in green).

Recipes – Recipe search results are on an entirely new new level with photos, reviews, and links and more. Google is now offering additional search criteria for ingredients, cook time, and calories. Just take a look for yourself. Whoa!

Music – A quick search for the band “Phish” brings up search results that utilize music based rich snippets.

Events – Upcoming performance dates for music, theater, and more can now be displayed using rich snippets.

Rich snippets have even found their way into:

Video Search – That is correct. Rich snippets are now readily available in video searches. The screenshot below was found in organic search listings. Like recipes searches, video search allows you to narrow results based on various criteria.

How do rich snippets affect SEO efforts? They could hinder conversion rates. SEO’s want people to visit websites so they can track conversions. Rich snippets could affect conversion rates since Google has already provided users with what they are looking for, without the person having to manually click on a link.

Do you have thoughts on rich snippets? Feel free to speak your voice in the comments section.

References:

Webmaster Tools Help on Rich Snippets