List & Table Items Displayed in Google Search Result Listings

Monday, 29 August 2011

Even if the Google search results pages appear to be quite plain, Google is constantly trying to improve the user experience by adding new features.

From the introduction of rich snippets to the new site links for branded terms, the Google search result listings are changing all the time.
Most of these changes aim at helping the user to find the best result for his/her query and therefore improve the overall user search experience

Recently, we have noticed a new feature in the Google search engine listings. The items from a list or table are displayed in the snippet in the form of a bullet list rather than simple text. The new listing format often include the number of items in the list.

For example, if you type "LCD Tvs" in Google Australia, you will noticed that the BigW listing includes a bullet-pointed list of products:

Item List Snippets
According to Raj Krishnan, product manager at Google:

"Snippets—the few lines of text that appear under every search result—are designed to give you a sense for what’s on the page and why it’s relevant to your query,"

"This week we started rolling out snippet improvements for pages that contain lists; results for these pages will now reflect the structure of the page, rather than just showing two lines of text. If a search result consists mostly of a structured list, like a table or series of bullets, we’ll show a list of three relevant rows or items underneath the result in a bulleted format,".

"The snippet will also show an approximate count of the total number of rows or items on the page,
" he added.

In the case of our example, adding the list snippet will help the user to differenciate an ecommerce retailer from a site providing information.
From an SEO point of view, it would make sense for retailers to list their featured products/ products on special, at the top of their page lists to ensure maximum exposure in the search results!