Dates, Data & some Search Results
Event dates such as the one above seem to be another example of Google’s drive to providing a richer, more informative Search Engine Result Page (SERP). It certainly is interesting that this kind of information seems to have only just started to show up. Especially as earlier this week Google announced a great new tool for webmasters, the Data Highligher.
Now available through Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) the Data Highlighter makes it easier to help Google identify structured data on your site. For now the tool is only available for English language sites and for events related information like concerts, festivals, sporting events and festivals.
The Data Highlighter as it is rolled out will become a popular alternative to Schema.org. It will make some forms of structured data easier to implement while requiring fewer resources and it is included with one of Google’s own widely used tools.
Structured Data’s Slow Burn
Structured date in search isn’t new. Microformats have been around for a while and used by search engines to provide a richer search experience, Schema.org is simply the latest. When Schema.org was released it was overshadowed by Google+, which was announced at the same time.
Unsurprisingly as Google has increased the amount of information it is displaying directly in the search results, structured data has been attracting more and more attention. Google’s release of the Knowledge Graph, the inclusion of structured data preview tools and Bing’s own snapshot feature has certainly indicated an accelerating shift in how search engines serve their customers.
Decision Engines and Portals
Search is currently far more than just a list of links as Bing, Google and newer products such as Siri and Google Now are getting better able to answer a user’s question directly and without sending them to a different site or application. With the amount of information now available on the SERPs and the tools such as calculator’s and converters usable from the search bar, it is almost as if Google is becoming a portal.
For many stakeholders in search this is a good thing. Users get the information that they want easier and faster by avoiding poorly designed sites and obtuse navigation. Providing a better experience for searchers allows Google to maintain it’s position in the market, and by doing this means the search engine can provide their advertisers a large potential audience.