Back in May 2009 Google announced rich snippets to the webmaster world. Put simply, this makes it possible to show structured data from your pages on Google’s search results, like star ratings, reviews and price ranges of products. The intent here is to give users summary information within their search engine results pages to help them to choose between the options that they see before them.

Now six months down the line they have reconfirmed their commitment to making their “successful experiment” a reality by improving their support structure for webmasters looking to add rich snippets mark-up to their web pages.

The improvements that they have made include the delivery of a testing tool that can be used to preview how microformats or RDFa marked-up pages might look on Google search engine results pages. Considering Google make no promises with regards to showing rich snippets, webmasters have historically been left in the dark at times with regards to what their hard work could potentially materialise as in Google search results. However, the addition of the testing tool will give them a better visual understanding of the potential outcomes of adding mark-up to their pages.

As well as the testing tool, Google has also released an extensive help section with tips and tricks, as well as frequently asked questions to make adding mark-up a little less of a riddle.

If that isn’t enough, Google have also promised to continue to develop this feature bit by bit over time, so I’m sure it won’t be long before they add even more support. I guess the real test will come when we start to see the rich snippets showing up more and more in Google’s search engine ranking pages.

For more information visit Google’s webmaster blog.

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