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Traditional, text-only, search result snippets aim to summarize the content of a page in our search results. Rich snippets (shown above) allow webmasters to help us provide even better summaries using structured data markup that they can add to their pages. Today we're introducing a set of guidelines to help you implement high quality structured data markup for rich snippets.

Once you've correctly added structured data markup to you site, rich snippets are generated algorithmically based on that markup. If the markup on a page offers an accurate description of the page's content, is up-to-date, and is visible and easily discoverable on your page and by users, our algorithms are more likely to decide to show a rich snippet in Google’s search results.

Alternatively, if the rich snippets markup on a page is spammy, misleading, or otherwise abusive, our algorithms are much more likely to ignore the markup and render a text-only snippet. Keep in mind that, while rich snippets are generated algorithmically, we do reserve the right to take manual action (e.g., disable rich snippets for a specific site) in cases where we see actions that hurt the experience for our users.

To illustrate these guidelines with some examples:
  • If your page is about a band, make sure you mark up concerts being performed by that band, not by related bands or bands in the same town.
  • If you sell products through your site, make sure reviews on each page are about that page's product and not the store itself.
  • If your site provides song lyrics, make sure reviews are about the quality of the lyrics, not the quality of the song itself.
In addition to the general rich snippets quality guidelines we're publishing today, you'll find usage guidelines for specific types of rich snippets in our Help Center. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please tell us in the Webmaster Help Forum.