Nearly a year ago, Google announced that they had begun extracting metadata from microformat and RDFa markup on pages to display “rich snippets” in search results. They recently expanded this support to include HTML5 microdata. They now use this markup to enhance results for people profiles, reviews, videos, events, and recipes. Rich snippets provide additional information to searchers beyond the typical title and description (such as star ratings, address information, and social network connection details).
Google has now expanded this support internationally. (While the documentation is available in 16 languages other than English, it’s unclear if international support extends beyond these 16. We will update this post when we get clarification from Google.)
When adding structured markup to your pages for use in rich snippet display, remember that you can use the preview tool to test the result and can request that Google take a look at your pages for consideration (rather than wait for it to be found during regular crawling). In the latest post, Google notes that including structured markup doesn’t guarantee rich snippet display:
“As you’ve probably heard by now (several times), we’re taking a gradual approach to surface rich snippets. This means that marking up your site doesn’t guarantee that we’ll show rich snippets for your pages. We’re doing this to ensure a good experience for our users; but rest assured we’re working hard to expand coverage and include more web pages.”
Proponents of structured markup look at increased support as a signal that Google may eventually use metadata such as that found in microformats, microdata, and RDFa in indexing and ranking as well. That hasn’t happened yet, but as more sites have reason to use structured data (such as to get enhanced listings in search results), Google may find its use widespread enough to be valuable in these other areas.