It was announced yesterday in a post on the Google Research Blog that Google has rolled out a new feature that can show tabular data from your page under the description in the search engine results.
That means that if you have a table of product specs, for example, on your page, relevant information from that table may show up in the results. And unusually for Google, this appears to have rolled out everywhere at once.
We used the example from the blog post, but searched on google.co.za instead of google.com, and got the same result, as shown below, in the first organic result for the search query “nikon d710.”
Tables Are Back – Kind Of
Structured snippets are a result of Google’s work at understanding data presented in tables. The very inability that formed part of the reason for the move away from table based design has now become a way of showing even more information from your page, directly in the results.
This collaboration between the WebTables team, and the Web Search team, will apparently identify data tables and display up to four facts from them as part of the results snippet in both mobile and desktop search.
Below you can see the table on the page that this data has been pulled from. What’s really interesting is that the table contains data for two different types of camera, but Google has correctly identified the facts applicable to the camera in the query, and displayed only those in the structured snippet.
The Impact Of Structured Snippets
On the one hand, the more information Google can serve quickly, the better the user experience is likely to be. There may be the same sort of concerns here that the Knowledge Graph or Answer Box caused, namely reduced traffic, but on the other hand, if you can deliver that information via the search engine results pages, the chances that users will assume you have other relevant information is quite high.
Hopefully we’ll soon see some studies about click through rates on structured snippets.