Rich snippets: testing tool improvements, breadcrumbs, and events

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Since the initial roll-out of rich snippets in 2009, webmasters have shown a great deal of interest in adding markup to their web pages to improve their listings in search results. When webmasters add markup using microdata, microformats, or RDFa, Google is able to understand the content on web pages and show search result snippets that better convey the information on the page. Thanks to steady adoption by webmasters, we now see more than twice as many searches with rich snippets in the results in the US, and a four-fold increase globally, compared to one year ago. Here are three recent product updates.

Testing tool improvements

Despite the healthy adoption rate by webmasters so far, implementing the rich snippets markup correctly can still be a major challenge. To help address this, we've added new error messages to the rich snippets testing tool to help you better identify and fix any problems with the markup.

view of the rich snippets testing tool

If you've added markup in the past but haven't seen rich snippets appear for your site, we encourage you to take a few minutes to try testing the markup again on the updated testing tool.

Rich snippets markup for breadcrumbs

Last year, Google announced a modification to search results to begin showing site hierarchies (typically referred to as "breadcrumbs") rather than standard URLs in cases where it helped users to better understand a website:

result showing breadcrumb navigation for the page

We are now adding support for a Breadcrumbs markup format that allows webmasters to explicitly identify the breadcrumb hierarchy on their pages.

If the breadcrumbs UI is already showing for your site, we'll continue to show it even if you don't do the markup, so don't worry about any existing UI disappearing. Note that this new format is experimental. Based on feedback and on other available standards, this format may be modified or replaced in the future. As with other rich snippet types, while markup helps us to better understand the content on your site, it does not guarantee that the breadcrumbs UI will be shown for your web pages in search results.


In January, we added support for rich snippets for events. If a web page containing events listings showed up in search results, up to three links to specific events could be shown in the search result snippet.

This works well for general queries like concerts in seattle, but we also wanted to improve the search experience when searching for a specific event. We will now show rich snippets when pages containing a single event show up in search results. Single event rich snippets now contain the date and location of the event:

result showing the date and time of the event, powered by structured data

For instructions on adding events markup, refer to the events page in the rich snippets documentation.