Skip to main content

Some Blogger Templates Have Broken Rich Snippets

After 2 years I have a new template. The old template was but ugly, contained pointless functions like dynamically changing look & feel to ensure that no matter what option was chosen, everything was always broken. Other, necessary functions like contact information it hid deep within the code, never to be seen by mere humans. I've watched my readership dwindle from thousands a day to a few dozen, as presumably they escaped to more sanely-coded pastures.

I had come to accept all of this until today, when I found myself extending some custom rich snippets. Over the years, you see, I've been fighting something of a crazed Google war with a dermatologist from California. A dermatologist who by happenstance is named Joshua Wieder. For some time a detente had been reached, the good doctor opting for the more formal Joshua while I controlled the top results for the more casual Josh. Then, a year passed in which I was focused on actual work. My domain name lapsed and was claimed by profiteers. The dermatologist invaded my top 10 results.

Rich snippets are part of my counter attack; an ingenious plan to reclaim internet territory lost without having to resort to remuneration. That's when I noticed that Blogger's template had broken rich snippet functionality.

I had only been angling to add the "Person" Microdata ItemType to my Contact Information page. I added the necessary language to my existing markup (those interested in some basic instruction should check out this simple how-to). However, when I went to Google's Webmaster Tools to check if it could reach my changes, I was surprised to see a number of glaring, week-old errors:

Clicking on an error and selecting the "Test Live Data" option, I quickly came across the issue. Rich Snippets require calling an outside formatting file; similar to how one might reference an Atom file in a sitemap. In the case of Blogger's dynamic templates, the "h-entry" format is used to provide Rich Snippets of new Blog Posts. The breakdown has occurred because they are using a dead link to the format page.

Rather than find the reference using Blogger's obtuse file management system, I have changed from a dynamic to static template, which has resolved the issue for now. Google can read the structured data I've formatted for them, and users now get to read a slightly-less hideous fixit guide.