Google’s Matt Cutts posted a video where he addresses the question of whether or not the use of rich snippets (also called microformats) has any influence on a site’s rank positions. Rich snippets and microformats use a special Schema.org code that is embedded in web page code. Rich snippets are read by Google, Yahoo and Bing spiders.
The results from using rich snippets sometimes show up in Google search results listings as stars indicating the star rating for reviews for a company. The stars help to draw attention to a listing. They can also be used to draw attention to specific types of content, including recipes, events, music and other types of web content. It can also be used to identify the precise geographic location of a company. Google offers a pretty good overview of rich snippets. Although this code is commonly called a microformat, Google prefers to use the term “rich snippets.” Schema.org, the company who sets the standards, refers to it as microdata or structured data.
The question is, “I know that rich snippets can increase CTR (click through rate) for my mention on a SERP (search engine results page), But is the use of schema.org code beneficial for my actual positions on the SERPs as well?”
Matt’s response is,
This confirms what I have been saying all along. The proper use of microformat code can influence the way that Google search engine listings appear. That draws attention to your listings, which in turn will drive more traffic, but it does not have any influence on a web site’s rank positions.
Rich snippets can be used for business sites where is it appropriate to do so. The most common use for businesses is when a web site allows customers to post product reviews that include a star-rating system. The underlying rich snippets code defines that clearly for search engine spiders so they understand what it means. Otherwise, it is just simple text on a page and pretty much meaningless to a spider.
Rich snippets can also be used when a web site posts reviews or testimonials about a company. As long as there is a rating system that can be translated into rich snippet code, Google’s spider may decide to use that information to enhance the company’s search results listings.