Answer this first: What makes your recipe stand out among millions of recipes on the web today? For that, you have to identify the trends that have arrived by the time you create one such recipe some years back! You have to make sure the flavors are added in such a way that your customers or the audience would savor.
But is it the only thing that you, as a business owner, would be interested in? NO! The creators today have to think about the way they are structuring their content to make sure the content takes a significant spot for the readers. Yes, we are talking about both- ranking and size of your content in the search results.
This post will give an idea, what microformats actually and how they can help in local search engine optimization. Also, you will learn how you can use them to enrich your content that will make it more understandable for search engines.
What is Microformat?
Microformats is the web-based approach that represents commonly published things like events, reviews, etc., in open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards. It is the simplest way that helps search spiders to access more information from the website.
Microformats use the class attributes in HTML tags, and this way, it adds extra information to the entities. Microformats are purely for search engines and browsers as you can’t see it is not visible to the person reading the webpage.
Creating microformat codes is not much difficult for a developer. But don’t worry; if you are not a tech savvy person, you can try online microformat tools that can help you generate the code. All you need to do is copy and paste it into your website.
There is an example for you to follow! Let us take the instance of peanut butter. Peanut butter can mean a recipe for some but also an ingreidnet for others, right? If you want to make peanut butter chocolate cookies, it would be a recipe for you. But, have you ever thiugh the recipe to make peanut butter itself? Indeed, it will have a number of ingredients.
In the first case, you would be wise to classify peanut butter chocolate cookies with recipe markup, right! Whereas in the latter case, it is of the type ingredient. In that manner, the search engines can understand what “peanut butter” means, as discussed in both cases.
All such search engines now use microformats, and their simplest format is easily read and understood by humans as well! Yes, that is certainly cool!
Benefits of Microformats?
Basically, when we design a website, we aim to design it for our human visitors and forget to feed the information to the algorithms of the search engines that try to interpret the raw data within site. For instance, it is easy for a human to understand and distinguish a city and street name. But unless and until we provide the details to the algorithms, they are unable to find that. While there is a lot of benefit of using microformats, but the improvement of the local search optimization tops the list.
More Benefits include:
It helps the spiders to discover information about business or organization for the website
It helps to improve the local search marketing efforts of a website
Visibility of business reviews and local events in relation to your users’ searches
Contributes to the creation of the semantic web
A list of top websites that are using Microformat
Facebook.com- uses hcard for the profiles
Twitter.com- uses both hcard and XFN
Digg- uses hcard for the profiles
Google Map – This supports hcard
How do microformats boost SEO?
Do you know that there is no direct link between improved linking and Microformat? But, undoubtedly, by improving click-through-rate for your business pages, You are ensuring that Google and the different other search engines receive a signal that a page is relevant.
Local SEO and microformats
hCard, hReview, and hCalendar are special sets of HTML class attributes defined in microformats that help in local search marketing.
Whenever you want to show the contact details of an individual or an organization, you can use hCard, whereas review can be used as the format for reviews and hcalendar for events.
Properly using microformats are the best things you can opt for an enhanced search display. Indeed, sites without microformats would son be left in the dust in the SERP display. Now, both Google and Bing have been known to introduce new tools in the Webmaster repertoire that effectively helps monitor and troubleshoot issues for the microformats.
It is not functional to deal with the entire individual schema.org microformats, and it is suggested that every webmaster once should review the entire list of microformats. It would help them to see which of them are applicable for their site.
Here is the link if you want to get into more of the technicalities of Schema- https://moz.com/learn/seo/schema-structured-data.
What is required while working with microformats?
It is necessary to stress the importance of microformats of using the testing tools rather than relying on the expectations of how actually they should work, right! Even if you follow all the rules of the entire list, it can be challenging for you!
Here are the steps in which you can get the complete idea of working with microformats. Explore now to learn and apply simultaneously.
Steps to master microformats!
Analyze your site content and tag data accordingly
It can be done effectively with microformats supplied by Schema.org. Do you know, you can have many schemes in just one page. It can be like the product, webpage, reviews, products, videos, and also breadcrumbs.
What you have to do is just to follow the schema guidelines effectively and one of the things that most people don’t follow is to link every part of the breadcrumb, including the last part! Yes, it is the self-reference to the page.
Copy the page code
The next step is to copy the page code effectively to the Google Rich Snippets Tool! It is mainly done to know what exactly you are looking for. In this step, Google will represent the way your rich snippets would look in the search results. It is to be noted that Google is sensitive to having certain tags in select schemas. Indeed, Google would not show the image’s snippet when you have the image tag in the Person schema. Although that is valid within the Schema, it won’t allow you to do so!
Interestingly, Google will not show every one of the Microformat. And, effectively, it has a hierarchy of which microformats to display. So, it is to be made sure that the output you receive is what you expect out of it.
You have to review the extracted rich snippet data! Indeed, Google will show this aspect in the tool. You just have to check whether or not all the data are in the right fields. To check if there are any data errors. Here is an example of Extracted Microformat output in Rich Snippet Tool!
Explore Google Webmaster Tool
You have to make sure that you have noted all your structured data. This can be effectively done with the help of Google Webmaster Tool! Here is what you need to track your real progress once your content is live for the readers and the potential customers. You can check here whether or not Google sees all your microformats. Indeed, this is just another great troubleshooting tool that Google added for all of us!
Here is what is meant by sampling Google Structured Data Output:
Go live to monitor the structured data report!
Here you can see your actual search results in Google and Bing. Yes, that’s awesome! Here is what it takes to understand rich snippet displays in Bing and Google. Follow the Google Microformat example. And also, Bing microformat example!
As you went life, you can use the Bing microformat validator.
It is a great tool that accepts all the URLs and not the codes! If you are seeing any Bing error notices, the first thing to do is to make Bingbot happy, and next is to fix the errors. Indeed you should never forget to retest with the Google Rich Snippets Testing tool since it helps you find the settling and happy medium between these two!
One such example of Bing microformat validator output is Mark-up Validator. You just have to provide a URL, and effectively, your tool will represent only structured markup that is found on the page!
Before you settle in for a deal, here are the benefits of using microformats. It will help you understand the importance of choosing microformats correctly. The most direct way to improve local search marketing is using microformats!
It helps spiders and users discover and explore and parse information about you and your organization and business.
It improves local search marketing efforts of local businesses which are interested in business directory listings in all local search engines like Bing Local, Google Local, Yahoo Local, Urban Spoon, and others.
Improves the visibility of business reviews- This should be in relation to user searches for you and your business.
It improves the visibility of local events. Indeed, it can be in relation to user searches for your organization, business, or yourself!
It also helps you contribute to the creation of the semantic web. As there are more people who are using microformats, the more is the chances that they will get used to help machines create relevant structure.
Websites and services using microformats!
There are many social networks, websites, and other services that are making use of the microformats available! Here are just a few examples of them. Explore now!
Digg utilizes hcard format for profiles.
Next is Eventful. It supports hcalendar for its events and hcards for all its venues
Facebook effectively supports hcard for its profiles.
Twitter is also supporting hcard for XFN.
Indeed, you will be surprised to know that Google Maps supports hcard.
The bottom line
Are you convinced or confused for the usage of microformats to enhance the work of SEO! Indeed, opting to know about the basic information and building and mastering microformats can be beneficial for your business in the long term. Follow the above tips and also enlist the benefits that you get to use microformats in the correct aspect now!