28

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?

Google SERP showing the date and the number of answers for a question on Stack Overflow

24

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 https://schema.org/QAPage itemtype and set all relevant 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).

15

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.

  • 4
    Don't we all just hate Yahoo Answers. – Qix Dec 28 '14 at 5:07
10

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.

  • 2
    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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