Rich text markup was first released by Google back in May of 2009, but despite having been around for such a long time, few webmasters take advantage of rich snippets. Part of the reason is that it takes additional time to implement the new code, and the novelty of the product make it hard to see whether or not markup will have long-term relevance. However, earlier this year, Google made it clear that rich snippets were here to stay when they teamed up with Microsoft to establish schema.org.
Schema.org is a markup standardization project that’s been collecting and organizing the various ways of presenting “microdata” – the highly relevant pieces of information that can be pulled to the search results page itself when the search engines feel it’s applicable. Additionally, Google has released several new markup options over the course of the last year alone. The two most recent additions are sports entries and music entries.
For sports, the project is currently limited to ESPN and select partners, and only works for baseball-related searches. However, for basebaball searches targeting specific matches, players, or teams, you’ll get results that look like this:
It’s a great way to see what’s going on with your favorite players are teams at a glance, but more importantly, sites that sport the microdata get a bigger presence on the search results page and the option to link to highly targeted landing pages. Google and ESPN are working on standardizing this markup for common use, but you can see rich ESPN results right now.
The music markup is similar, but instead of giving score data, it gives track information, including the song title, length, and artist. Google is currently working with major partners including MySpace, Rhapsody, and ReverbNation to test the markup, but this option has already been standardized for common use.