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I recently noticed a result View on Google, I haven't seen before (as seen in the first result in the picture below, query is here). The result shows the count of items (headings, which it identifies as items) - there is no use of Microformats on the page, neither is there any reference to this in the Google documentation.

The only thing "special" on this page is the fact it uses HTML5 (the article element for example). Could that be it?

Does anybody know about this behavior and how it comes in to being, or at least some other queries that result in the same result view (on other pages) so one could compare the two?

Google Search results: first result contains the line '20+ items'

If you have any Ideas, let me know :)

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For all intents and purposes, the <article /> tag acts like (and, apparently, is treated by Google as) a microformat.

Microformats.org proposes similar HTML5 conventions' relevance to existing microformats.

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I actually saw a listing earlier that had done the same thing with a very basic page containing just a simple table; it looked like it had been generated by an old version of MS FrontPage and wasn't even valid HTML. Google appeared to count the rows and return the number of items.

Maybe you need to present a structured list of related items where the relationship has something to do with the search query--that's only a guess though....

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yes i saw it with a simple ul li construct .. weird – Hannes Sep 27 '11 at 17:42

Google can identify if pages contain a structured list, like a table or a series of bullets.

They can then use that data to display the 3 most relevant items from the list in the SERP snippet in a bulleted list.

For google to identify a list, I think you need a structured list for the html that contains your content – think a <ul>, <ol>, <table>, <li> or list of <div> elements.

More info here New snippets for list pages

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