What are Rich Snippets?
Rich snippets are pieces of microdata on your page which help tell Google what each part of your page is about.
Google can use that extra data to append information to your listing in Google, and this extra information helps people think about which listings they want to click on. If at this early stage of rich snippets your Google entry has more extra information than others, it will likely be more compelling and help with CTR to your site.
Will Rich Snippets Help SEO?
While Rich Snippets aren’t guaranteed to boost your SEO efforts, they will definitely help your listing stand out. So, say you have rich snippets at position 5, but none of the results above you do, it could draw the eye and make up for your lower ranking.
Rich snippets also help the major search engines better understand what your site is about – which can be no bad thing.
How Do You Use Rich Snippets?
Rich snippets can add value to a wide number of different types of data on your site.
E.g. Your product pages can use rich snippets to highlight ratings, images and prices.
Or your restaurant page can add star ratings, review information and prices.
You can also get rich snippets for books and movies, music, people, events, businesses, and many more types of information. Check out the code at Schema.org.
Three things you need to do;
1. Check out Schema.org to see the microdata formats which Bing, Google and Yahoo are all agreeing to recognise (although not guaranteeing to recognise), and markup your pages accordingly
2. Double check your page’s microdata is ok with Google
3. Tell Google you are using rich snippets here (Not sure if this is ultimately so important).
Are People Scamming Rich Snippets Yet?
Of course! Dave Naylor wrote a post two months ago about slightly dodgy use of the star (review) rich snipppets he had noticed popping up around the place which shows that at this stage it is still easy to manipulate the system.
But if you’re trying to scam rich snippets to get Google to recognise hidden content, it won’t work. Rich snippets can only help content which is already available to human readers.