Should Google Stop Showing Enhanced Snippets?

Sep 29, 2010 - 8:22 am 5 by

I am wondering if Google should stop trying to show enhanced snippets without the aid of enhancing those snippets via microformats and RDFa markups. I often see complaints, since Google began showing dates in snippets and other data in snippets that Google was wrong. It is often the case, when you look at post counts, dates, comments and other data points labeled in the search results where Google is wrong.

Of course, if you are marking up your HTML then by all means but not automatically when it is all so often wrong.

Bill Slawski wrote a complaint about this. It made it on Sphinn and Google Webmaster Help, where Googler JohnMu replied.

His complaint:

I noticed this weekend that Google was displaying a date of "Mar 8, 2005" at the front of the snippet for my home page, on a search for my business name "SEO by the Sea" (without the quotation marks). The date appears to have been randomly selected from a blog post excerpt that was appearing on the home page. That date wasn't the date that the excerpted blog post was filed, but rather was the "filing" date of an Apple patent on Apple's approach to Instant Search that I blogged about.

He is not the only one in this boat. I see complaints about this all the time.

John from Google replied saying:

I passed this issue on to the team when I initially read your blog post. I agree that it could be a bit misleading and I think it would be wrong to suggest that you change the content that you write about (such as not including dates) in order to prevent our algorithms from picking the wrong dates to show next to the snippet.

Overall, I feel we do a reasonable job at finding and using the right dates, but sometimes it's not that simple for our algorithms (and sometimes much easier for humans :-)). We're constantly working on improving our algorithms, and from what I've heard, there are also improvements planned for better finding the best dates within the content.

I guess they would know if they do a reasonable job - but I see many many complaints on this topic. I see it almost every day.

Forum discussion at Sphinn and Google Webmaster Help.


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