the art of blogging

A snip of a snippet

Google rich snippets are the new way forward for good presentation and higher positioning on the infamous search engine.

What are rich snippets? No one knows, they are closely guarded secret known only to a few warlocks found only on the mountains of Lotharious where full details of these snippets are found carved in four millennial old treated beechwood plaques written in the ancient language of Griddorian Moot for which there is no translation.

I know what you are thinking, how can Google use these things then if only a few Warlocks actually know what they are. There is a greater suspicion within the technical communities that Google itself employs these warlocks within its organisation and only the senior management actually know who they are.

There is a vague and unfounded rumour that one warlock serves teas and coffees both within and without the Google empire and feeds back much of the tittle tattle and gossip that eventually forms much of their search engine content.

Of course it is just possible that Snippets are, in fact, HTML highlighted text ‘snippets’ of content within a website that Google uses as a descriptor under a specific search term.

Personally, I prefer the first explanation.

But the importance of using snippets cannot be under-stated. In any Google or any other search engine for that matter, the list that comes up after entering a search term should proudly display the search link, usually the page title being referenced, then the ‘snippet’ which is the descriptive text that will appear under the link.

This link is usually drawn from the content of the site or more specifically the ‘meta-description’ built into the referenced page. If you fail to provide a ‘meta-description’ then often the search engine will pull what it feels is the most pertinent content from your page, usually the first paragraph up to a defined number of characters.

It therefore makes sense to detail and create your own descriptor or ‘snippet’ to better seduce searchers into visiting your page.

A typical search result would look something like this:

Timber Yorkshire Decking | Railway Sleepers | Yorkshire
Welcome To TimberClick Yorkshire. Timber Merchants delivering to Yorkshire, Leeds, Sheffield, Wakefield and the York area. Decking stockists, Railway¬†…

With the top being the title link and the bottom the snippet. An incorrectly formed snippet can result in the search pulling the first html search reference content it finds such as alt-tag information or header text.

So getting this right can be a crucial factor in achieving better search engine positioning.

Unless, of course, you know where to find the warlock.