Google's Prayer Times Rich Snippet Markup

Jun 7, 2011 • 8:20 am | comments (4) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

God vs GoogleYesterday, after a month or so of research, I wrote up a story at Search Engine Land named Google's Prayer Time Rich Snippets: The Good & Bad.

In short, Google released a new rich snippet markup for prayer times.

I was incredibly curious because (1) I am Jewish and know how complex prayer times can be and (2) I run Synagogue software named ShulCloud that can benefit from this rich snippet. So I dug into this rich snippet, asking two questions:

(1) How does Google know when to show Jewish versus Islamic versus other religions in the rich snippet?

(2) How do I get my sites to show the prayer times rich snippets?

Jewish Prayer Times in Google

Answer to number one was kind of a duh answer where if the page ranks for a query, Google will simply display the prayer times. I explain the potential issue with that where sometimes the rich snippets for Jewish prayer times will show when someone is searching explicitly for Islamic times. Also, the issue of different sects holding different calculation methods.

The second, how do I get my sites to show the prayer times in the rich snippets was a bit more confusing. In short, you need to be whitelisted and to be whitelisted you need to email Google at [email protected].

Islamic Prayer Times in Google

Here is the break down of the rich snippets tag:

location The location of the prayer, represented by nested Address data (locality, region, postal-code, and country-name). Optional, and could be eliminated if location information is the same for every event.
geo Specifies the geographical coordinates of the location. Includes two elements: latitude and longitude. Optional.
calcMethod The method used to calculate the prayer time. Optional.
changeurl A link to a page where the user can change the prayer time calculation method used. Optional.
prayer A specific prayer, for example Chatzos or Fajr. Has the required child properties name and datetime, which specifies the prayer time in ISO date format.

You can learn more how to implement this yourself over here.

The screen shots above can be triggered by searching for [pomona prayer times] and [london prayer times].

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

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