I have been hearing reports from a variety of sources that over the past few days more rich snippets have started to show up in Google Places.

Using rich snippets on your site to get your content into Place Pages has been a hit-or-miss affair – mostly miss.  At SMXWest, Google’s Carter Maslan told me that they had been working on improving the algorithm to better index and display rich snippets that they find on websites.  Over the past few months Places observers have noticed a lot of wackiness in the display of data, rankings, etc. which implied that Google may have been testing a number of algo tweaks.  Although we are in early days, it appears that this latest tweak may have been a significant one.

For example, I have been tracking the presence of DemandForce reviews in Places and since last week I have seen a noticeable increase in their content showing up in the “Reviews from around the web” section of Place Pages.  It appears that DemandForce has some kind of feed relationship with Google because data from them has been showing up in the “Details” section for a while (I have some clients that have formal feed relationships with Google and this is where their content typically displays).  Here’s a before/after shot of a Place Page with increased review snippets:

Before Rich Snippets

After Rich Snippets

At first I thought this was an anomaly because as you can see in the “After” image GOOG is displaying snippets from both DemandForce.com and DemandForced3.com. It appears that DemandForce is 302 redirecting DemandForce.com URLs to DemandForced3.com URLs, so my guess was that they were feeding the DF.com URLs to GOOG but GOOG was also finding the DF3 URLs and keeping both thanks to the 302s. (Tip to those with feed relationships with GOOG – do this and you may be able to get similar “double-dip” results – until GOOG fixes this of course).

I have also been seeing a big increase in rich snippets from other review sites like CustomerLobby.

Anyone else seeing this?

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10 Response Comments

  • Linda Buquet  May 20, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Yes DemandForce has a direct feed relationship with Google which is part of the reason their reviews hit so well. I’m a DF partner and work closely with them on lots of clients.

    One of the DF pages above is the “friendly” reputation page URL they provide to Drs. and the other is the raw URL. Good catch on the 302. Interesting that G is listing both.

  • Andrew Shotland  May 20, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Looks like GOOG has also amped up its “testimonial” algo and mistakenly picked up Mike’s excerpt of the review about Von Ray Johnson, the personal trainer from V-Shape Fitness Portland, OR. I am thinking the link to the Place Page and/or the biz’s website and mentioning the phone number (503 421 5577) could have set this off. Let’s see what happens with this comment over the next week or two.

  • Mike Blumenthal  May 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    Showing the blog post as a review for V Shape is due to the inclusion positive sentiment and the phone number in close proximity to the business name. It is part of Google’s not always successful effort to mine the broader web for reviews. Its ironic that a story about the capability engendered its own review… with a count of 33 reviews no less.

  • dee oneal  May 21, 2011 at 6:00 am

    Great to know that! I guess they are just actually doing some improvements although yeah it didn’t work fine before but now it’s here and kicking so we should be thankful though. I want to familiarize myself more about it.

  • Steve  May 22, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Guess we better start paying more attention to Rich Snippets. Thanks for the update.

  • Mark van Duin  May 23, 2011 at 1:40 am

    Here in the Netherlands we see the same pattern but so far only in Google Places itself. I haven’t seen it in the organic search results. Wonder when that really is happening as it could really be beneficial for the CTR.

  • Conversie Partners  May 25, 2011 at 1:09 am

    I also didn’t notice them in the regular results in the Netherlands. Maybe it’s still in Beta in the US? Anybody? Hoping it will be released soon!

  • Nick  May 25, 2011 at 8:30 am

    I haven’t seen the double display happening in the search results. I have noticed that a local dentist I was working with had a huge jump in the rankings after the addition of demand force to his website. His CTR has improved also.