Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Today, we announced Rich Snippets for Google web search, a new presentation of snippets that highlight structured data embedded in web pages. Rich Snippets provide summary information, including important page-specific attributes, to help users quickly identify result relevance. Experiments on Google have shown that users find the additional data valuable – if they see useful and relevant information from a web page, they are more likely to click through to it. Our web search team is currently experimenting with a limited set of attributes for reviews and user profiles that webmasters can provide through in-line markup in their web pages by using open standards such as microformats or RDFa.
Since Google Site Search leverages our web search platform, Google Site Search customers can benefit from this new functionality as well. In fact, Google Site Search customers can define their own custom attributes that we'll index and return with your site search results. In addition to microformats and RDFa, you can also provide custom metadata within your webpages via special markup called page maps. A page map identifies specific attributes that are recognized and preserved by Google at index time, and returned along with search results for presentation to the user.
So if you're using Google Site Search on your website, you can now control further how your content appears in search results. You can showcase key information, such as image thumbnails, summaries, ratings in your result snippets if you provide the appropriate markup on your pages.
Rich Snippets attribute information for Google Site Search is only returned in XML (via <PageMap> tags), so you can use your own customized presentation controls. Indexing of the rich snippets information can have unspecified latency, as some pages are indexed and refreshed more frequently than others, and page map attributes may not be indexed from all web pages.
As an illustration of Rich Snippets, the web page featured in the following example provides custom information about an image thumbnail that is displayed in the rich snippet of the result along with date, author and category information.
If you are getting results back via XML, then the custom attributes are returned in the results within the PageMap tag, as shown below. You can parse the DataObjects within the PageMap tag and provide customized presentation of the relevant attributes.
If you are new to Google Site Search and would like to provide Google quality search results on your website, visit www.google.com/sitesearch
Posted by Nitin Mangtani, Lead Product Manager, Google Enterprise Search