---- Pros and Cons of Rich Snippets and Microformats
Mike521 - 7:18 pm on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)
With Rich Snippets, SERPs are over. A user can search for "widgets in Dallas between $25 and $50 with more than 20 ratings and a rating at 4 or higher". The Google result will be at the top of the page, with a short list. The rest of the page, and page 2, 3, etc. won't matter.
You will almost never see a search like that. What you might see is a search for "widgets in dallas" that is then refined to include price range, ratings, etc.
refining the search helps the user find what they want, nothing wrong with that
For instance if I'm running a hotel rating sites and have a bunch of SF Hotels I might not want Google to index the lower rated SF hotels since nobody (with money) is ever going to click on an SF hotel with a rating lower than 3. So all the poorly rated hotels now can forget people finding them on the internet because site owners will make sure than when someone searches for a hotel only the highest rated hotels rank for that city to make sure they have a good shot at getting a click.
Maybe you will do that, and the lower rated hotel won't get as much play. As the site owner, that's what you want. As a searcher, that's what you want. The person who loses is the guy with the bad reviews. Sucks for him, but there's probably a good reason he had such bad reviews and maybe he should focus on improving his business - if he doesn't he'll lose anyway
Like most webmasters, if I see a competing site being allowed to use this format (it's opt in, if approved right now) and they suddenly make a big jump in rankings then Google becomes less valuable to me in general.
I don't get the impression this will impact the order of the results, but that it will allow google to show snippets it thinks are more useful. If a competitor does use it to jump above you in the SERPS, or if they don't jump above you but they show a better snippet, the result is the same: time for you to get to work updating your site, or time for you to give up. It's the same as any other technique used to improve search ranking or snippets. If you don't keep up, you disappear.
Many will argue rich snippets are good for the searcher but not when it ultimately results in less content to search as more sites are squished out of business by such predatory aggregation.
I don't see the web shrinking as a result of this.