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On Google, if you search for "chana dal recipe," in the middle of the search results page you'll see one search result with an image of the meal, taken from the underlying web page. It's the only one.

My Questions:

  1. Did Google someone magically isolate the one image on the web page which summarized the recipe?

    or

  2. Did the Webmaster/Page author somehow designate and promote that particular image so that Google would inline it in the search results?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Firstly - making sure we are talking about the same article: www.indobase.com/recipes/.../chana-dal.php

Looking at the 4 results above it, only one actually uses an image in the article, and on examination of the img tag the image is poorly named and has no alt text.

Going back to the article which has the image in Google search results - here is the img tag

<img src="http://www.indobase.com/recipes/recipe_image/chana-dal.jpg" class="photo" alt="Chana Dal Recipe" style="border:1px solid #800000;margin-right:100px; float:right;margin-top:30px;">

The image name itself and the alt tag relate very closely or directly to the article itself.

I think this is why Google included the image. I don't think the article or website creator had anything to do with it other than using a well named, correctly tagged image.

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Google makes algorithmic determinations on when and how to display results in the SERP (including snippet information) based on a myriad of factors including the search terms, etc. Even if you have them coded correctly, snippet inclusion in the SERP is beyond your direct control.

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Well, the recipe is mostly visual thing. Food are really a visual treat. Google has been collecting such kind of information and display them at first.

Think of searching "kim kardashian", the 3 result appear however, after that the news section follow, this is because people are mostly following her news more often then her images.

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It's called microformats or, as Google calls them, rich snippets. There's one specifically for recipes. Google has even just introduced recipe view which expands upon this.

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1  
I don't think in this case the microformats apply. I just looked at the source code of the page the image comes from and there are no microformat tags (the HTML tags are pretty old-style and invalid xHTML too). In this case, I think Google is just using the alt attribute, as MrG said above (although the rich snippets idea for recipes looks pretty cool and hopefully more people will use them). –  authentictech Feb 27 '11 at 17:44

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