Structured code snippets: the handy fruit of SEO

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I covered Rich Snippets last week, explaining how they can improve organic search listings for ecommerce product pages. Structure snippets are similar in concept, but they don’t get as much attention in the context of organic search.

I’ll cover site snippets in this article.

Code snippets

Site snippets provide additional information in organic listings. Google extracts information from tabular data on the page i.e. data tagged in HTML tags.

Site Snippets provide additional factual information in organic listings. Google extracts information from tabular data on the page.

Google first announced structured organic snippets in 2014. However, they differ from site snippets in ad extensions, which are handled through the ad setup process.

Rich extracts and structure extracts are easily confused. Both stand out in organic search listings. But rich snippets come from structured data like Schema.org, while structured snippets come from an HTML table.

Structured snippets are less predictable than rich snippets because Google can ignore an HTML table and therefore the snippet. Google almost generates a rich snippet if the markup on the page is correct.

The good news is that Google often combines structured and rich snippets when it encounters the two on a webpage.

Screenshot of a Moosejaw Google search listing showing a structured and rich snippet.

Google often combines structured and rich snippets of code when it encounters the two on a web page. This example shows the site snippet over the rich snippet.

Examples

HTML tables typically organize numeric data, which Google considers factual. Yet, in reality, structured snippets extend beyond numbers. They can display a product’s specifications, benefits, and even prices.

All of these details make a snippet “buyable,” in that it conveys the expectations for the page and otherwise matches the purchase intent, ensuring that anyone who clicks on the listing is interested in the product.

Screenshot of an organic listing showing the details of a product via a site snippet

The “Purchasable” snippets provide additional product details.

And here’s the table on the page (below) that generated the above snippet. This is a great example of the uncertainty surrounding which part of the table Google will choose to extract.

Screenshot of an HTML table of an ecommerce product page.

This HTML table on the page lists various details of the product, which Google then selectively extracts for a structured snippet.

The screenshot below is a structured snippet that summarizes a list. HTML tables on the page that display options and features are effective search optimization techniques for product and product category pages.

Screenshot of two organic search listings showing site snippets.

These two organic search listings for Healthline contain structured snippets taken from a table on the Healthline website.

And here is the table on the page that Google used to extract the information.

And, yes, Bing also supports snippets structured the same way – pulling data from tables and adding it to organic search listings.

Screenshot of a Bing organic search listing showing a structured snippet with product details for the tents.

Bing supports structured snippets similar to Google. This example shows the product details of a backpacking tent vendor.

No investment

Structured snippets, like rich snippets, are the handy fruit of search engine optimization. Code snippets do not require any monetary investment. Just add HTML tables and hope Google extracts the information.

Experiment with various HTML table formats, such as feature comparisons and summaries. Implement tables through manual code (using an HTML widget, for example) or through plugins or custom applications from your content management or e-commerce platform. Many platforms support tabular data for product and category pages.


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