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I just noticed something which I think is pretty cool (link to reproduce):

Inside the search results, Google includes the number of answers and the date a certain question was asked (even more intriguing: these values are properly localized).

Is this Google special-casing for Stack Overflow, or does Stack Overflow somehow provide these values from within the page itself?

Screenshot

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Who is antwoorden? –  animuson Jun 16 '12 at 22:23
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It's dutch for answers ;-) –  ChristopheD Jun 16 '12 at 22:24
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Aha, I thought it was a username. So confused. o.o –  animuson Jun 16 '12 at 22:24
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It's not a perfect algorithm. The Highest Voted 'floyd-warshall' Questions link says "15 answers," but it links to a page with a list of links to 15 questions. –  Robert Harvey Jun 16 '12 at 22:44
    
This could be (vaguely) related: support.google.com/webmasters/bin/… Although the rich snippets testing tool (google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets) yields nothing... –  ChristopheD Jun 16 '12 at 22:58
    
Related: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/17406/… Near duplicate, but I think we can get a more canonical answer here (and the thread reference is over a year old now) –  ChristopheD Jun 16 '12 at 23:12
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Related: Google doesn't know how to count. (cc. @Robert) –  Arjan Jun 17 '12 at 9:55

3 Answers 3

up vote 16 down vote accepted

We're not special cased.

Google does a pretty good job of guessing at this sort of thing (don't ask me how exactly).

We do use the http://schema.org/Article itemtype and set the name and description properties. View source on any question page to see it in action. That's basically the extent of our Google signaling (though technically we're signalling to anyone who speaks schema.org).

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Any considerations to upgrade to schema.org/QAPage? Schema.org even acknowledges the Stack Overflow API as the inspiration! –  Martijn Pieters Jun 11 at 0:16
    
Also see the answer and comment discussion on Google "answering" my search with link to SE, but not showing the top answer(s) –  Martijn Pieters Jun 11 at 11:57

No.

Due to the type of site, Google shows how many answers there are at the end of a link, since it recognizes SO as a Q&A site. It also does this with, for example, Yahoo Answers:

enter image description here

Google tries very hard to identify and sort data, and present that in a useful way. This is yet another example of that, it just happens to work well because Google is optimizing for Q&A/Forums, and Stack Exchange has formatted itself well for Google to find.

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Maybe, but probably not.

I wrote a custom forum package, used only on two sites of mine. When it comes up in search results, Google shows the reply count and even last post timestamp. Hell, they even display the forum/category breadcrumbs most of the time! The sites are miniscule in comparison to SO, and there's no reason they'd single them out for such magic.

It's very likely that Google is doing something awesome with CSS classes that may have semantic meaning.

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How would it know about "answers?" –  Robert Harvey Jun 16 '12 at 22:45
    
Very good point. The wording in search results for my sites uses "posts". –  Charles Jun 16 '12 at 22:46

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