Structured Data and Social Rich Snippets for Large Websites

What are the opportunities from the use of social rich snippets?

By using structured data (for our social media channels) in the source code we manage to:

  • Improve our CTR – think of the rich snippets on our social stream as social rich snippets that would appear in the same way that they would appear in the SERPs but only this time they appear on our social stream.
    • Based on the fact that rich snippets on the SERPs generate more CTR and thus more traffic, we should not neglect this dynamics that is offered by social media.
    • Therefore, all we need is to create Open Graph tags for our social media channels and add them in our source code. And we should not forget that by generating increased CTR level we can get more traffic.
  • It can be perceived as a signal of credibility and branding.
  • In terms of SEO -like it has been mentioned by Google in the past-, the use of rich snippets from structured data, doesn’t have any impact on rankings yet… so this means no one knows if in the future will matter but let’s be proactive.

Who should care from the use of social rich snippets?

The online marketing team, the social media managers and the SEO professionals should be the first to discuss the importance of the structured data for the social web, for their campaigns.

The SEO professionals in collaboration with the social media marketers and the copywriters should agree on a catchy title, description and eye-catching image (with the designer’s help) so, that they increase the chances of improving the CTR levels.

First of all the SEO professionals are responsible of creating the structured data for social rich snippets and just send the code to the developers so that they deploy it accordingly.
Afterwards, the social media marketers are responsible on making the content they upload as engaging as possible by showing the right thumbnail and title/description that has been produced previously in cooperation with the designer, copywriter and SEO professional.
If social media marketers wish to go a step ahead, it is highly advisable to work on the use of UTM parameters (most likely the SEO professional’s will be required). By adding UTM parameters for the rich snippets of our social stream:

  • With UTM parameters we will be able to see which pages of our site are more effective (and thus which content is preferred by users).

o In other words by using UTM parameters, we are going to see which pages attract more visitors -coming from social media-.

  • We are going to implement the UTM parameters in the social media links that point the website.

o Each social media channel, should has its own UTM parameters.

  • Thus, for each social network (Twitter, Facebook for now and later for G+) each link that points to the website will have the UTM parameter.
  •  If you would like to give a try on how to create your own UTM parameters, you can use the URL Builder (or you can stay tuned until I write an article about UTM parameters!).

 

Best Practice Case Studies for Social Rich Snippets

Before I start writing about this topic, I did a quick research on big brands or superbrands -if you want to call them like that, to check their social media channels and see what kind of rich snippets they are using for their products. It was proven to be a slightly more challenging task that I had imagined but everything went well and I found the brands that would help me to show you how structured data work for creation of social rich snippets.

Some of the brands that I have used until I reach the final list are Zara , Asos, Stella McCartney, Next and Tommy Hilfiger.

Of course there are hundreds of other brands, retailers, e-commerce sites that may be using rich snippets for their social media channels, but I just used the ones that came in the top of my head.

Tech Crunch – Twitter Cards

I know that Tech Crunch is not an e-commerce site but reading this article and checking out its social media (their Twitter account) made me think about the use of Open Graphs from e-commerce sites.

Websites from the travel/hotel/hospitality/tourism industry or from the retail, fashion industry and generally from any other vertical for which the power of image is important, should take into consideration the use of social rich snippets in social media as it can have a significant impact on their CTR, which can lead to increased traffic coming from social media.

Besides, I am a regular reader of Tech Crunch (not as regular as I would like) but reading this article made me think, if on Tech Crunch they are working on the Open Graph tags or Twitter Cards and thus:

  1. I checked the source code of the respective title.
  2. I, then, went to the Twitter page of the respective article.

 

Tech Crunch Twitter Cards and Social Rich Snippets

 

 

These social rich snippets can give us improved CTR. For the ‘’doubting Thomas’’, the best way to see if open graphs deserve their time and resources is A/B testing. Try few posts by implementing open graph tags and few others without (on Facebook, Twitter etc) and wait and see the results. Based on these results you may decide what to do…

Now let’s work on another best practice example:

Reebok – Facebook (Open Graph Tags for Facebook)

Picking randomly another superbrand, Reebok seems like a good option and a good practice for the use of Open Graph Tags (for Facebook).Do they have the respective properties in the tags that would allow them to make a page into an object (on Facebook)? The answer is yes… let’s see how, by going to the fun part:

So, I have randomly picked this post that (probably) covers all the properties that I may see if I go to the source code of the Sales page of Reebok.

 

Reebok Open Graph Tag for Facebook

 

 

Let’s see…

view-source:http://www.reebok.co.uk/?prefn1=sale&prefv1=Sale

(that’s the source code of the the sale pages of Reebok site )

 

 

Reebok - Source code for open graph tags for Facebook

 

Good work Reebok! But someone will ask, why didn’t I see the image property?

I went to my own Facebook page and checked it to see why is this happening:

 

Reebok Open Graph for thumbnail

 

We notice that one of the thumbnails that I saw was this one –the yellow show but also I saw the other one before, the black-. So, in other words there’s a discrepancy in the images. Probably  it’s because of two reasons:

  1. The key reason is the fact that the image property (og:image) was omitted probably by mistake.
  2. We have this wide variety of options (in terms of thumbnails) because we haven’t chosen the location of the image we want to display when the post appears in this way. In other words we will need to choose a default image to appear for this purpose, according to the product we have.

Etsy – Pinterest – Use of Rich Pins

It was not very easy to find an e-commerce site for Pinterest but then I thought of Etsy.com that has made a huge success on Pinterest.

Thus we have 2 options working on social rich snippets (or rich pins according to Pinterest):

  1. Use the oEmbed, which is something that Pinterest is suggesting.
  2. Or semantic mark-up –   Since I am a huge fan of structured data, then we will work on this option and plus it resembles to the open graph tags for Facebook – actually it’s nearly the same; what we are going to do,  is to include some extra properties.

 

That’s the case study page that we have got from Pinterest:

http://uk.pinterest.com/pin/75013150013544368/ or in terms of screenshot that’s the one:

 

Etsy.com - Pinterest - Pin

So, that’s the source code of the page within the site of Etsy.com:

 

Etsy.com source code highlighting the rich pin code

 

So, in the source of the page we are going to examine the:

  • Title
  • URL
  • Image
  • Description
  • Price
  • Currency Code

 

Etsy.com - Comments on rich piin's properties

If you want to find large e-commerce sites, retailers that use structured data within their source code for their social media all you need to do is to work with Nerdy Data which basically is a search engine for source code. For the time being you can use the free version, but if you think that it’s increasingly important for you, don’t hesitate to choose the paid services of  Nerdy Data.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it and if you want to mention similar case studies, feel free to do so.

Imp0rtant Note: As it is my first post, the style of writing probably is going to change depending on the acceptance that my articles will have. Most of the articles will cover case studies, tutorials and guides with the use of multiple screenshots. These are articles will be mostly related to Bing/Google Webmaster Tools, of course, SEO and Google Analytics. 

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