Rich snippets are generally concise and direct answers that are prominently displayed when a search is performed. The term that is used for these entries is ‘rich answers’. These rich snippets might take many forms.
The Rising Popularity of Rich Answers
Each and every year there is a consistent and measureable growth in the frequency of rich answers. In the year 2015 there has been a growth of 8.6%. This shows that every year, Google provides more answers for a higher percentage of user queries and there is no sign that will show that the momentum has slowed down. Latest data shows that Google displays rich answers for almost one third of all user queries.
You also need to keep in mind that a feature named ‘Related Questions’, recommending the follow-up queries, is also rising drastically. This is the reason that Google is bent on providing more direct answers search results in order to enhance the user experience and thereby bypass the need for the users to click-through.
Two Potential Strategic Responses
Rich answers rise to the top position for a particular query and this is the reason there are two strategic responses.
Avoid Targeting Keyword Queries that Produces Rich Answers
There are advantages of this, like; you can avoid writing about those topics that can be answered concisely or those that will surely generate rich answers. Take this as a new type of competitive research that actively searches for the best opportunities to rank. On the other hand the disadvantage is that rich answers broaden the reach, gradually cannibalizing the new targets.
This strategy is perfectly in line with the core question by making use of rich snippets all throughout the site. You can increase your chances of being featured in rich answers as well. It takes proper microformatting and few strategic changes to the content format which includes answering the related questions of the user at the beginning. You also get a brand name and a link to the individual pages that had been featured, that too more prominently than the leading competitors.
Are Rich Snippets Necessary?
Necessity here means, whether it should be included for progressive and meaningful increase in visibility and rank over time. This naturally means that if it is not included then there would be no progress in the SEO campaign. Thus, it might actually decline with time.
This means that rich answers are not a necessity for SEO as you will not be penalized without them. However, if you do not use them or at least adjust the strategy in order to compensate for the existence then you are definitely missing out on some important visibility possibilities. As a result you would be throttling your own results, just that you won’t be killing them completely.
Although rich snippets aren’t a necessity, yet their importance is just growing with time. Just because it is possible to survive without them does not necessarily mean that you need to make the effort. The sooner you start using rich snippets, the better it is for you.