Certainly, many of you must have heard about the microformats or microdata related to search engines, but do you know the importance of microformats and microdata in SEO?
This article provides a summary of what microformats and microdata is, how they work and what advantages can it offer to users.
Microdata or Microformats – What is it all about?
Let’s start getting the idea behind these strange concepts, aimed at structuring the information in a standardized way, i.e., that we all can agree on how to describe certain things. For example, if we talk about a product, we must first believe that all products have features (and we all must agree on these features…), so we can decide that a product has a name, a price, a specifications and where to buy them.
Once we managed to agree; now it’s about creating syntax, i.e. pieces of code, which again we all share and agree with them.
This process is what gives rise to microdata (HTML5 syntax), microformats and RDFa (for XHTML), different names, different syntax, but with the same goal: to give a meaning through the “markup” in the HTML standardization about to describe properties and syntax. It is clear that the “markup” in the code is only visible to machines, i.e. for a user represents no change.
What is the relation of these with search engines?
Do not be naive; the promise of the machines to understand natural language is the great promise that is never fulfilled. When you read the word “Levi Strauss” does not know if we are talking about a brand or a famous anthropologist… or if they do, they have serious problems of interpretation. But as we have seen through microformats / microdata with meaning through code words that were previously impossible to understand.
So if we markup a word in the content with the proper “attribute” showing it a person or brand it will much easier for search engines to understand it and utilize the information to create more robust information to provide relevant search results. This way, there will be no longer rise in misunderstanding and search engines will know what we are trying to show without any misinterpretation. Now imagine this for any type of information you can think of: Reviews, People, Products, Businesses and organizations, Places, Recipes, Events and Videos.
The Present SEO, But Also the Future
We’re not only talking about the future, but also the present. Google shows results enriched (the famous ” rich snippets “) based on microformats / microdata, i.e., some results show extended information (photo, stars of review, number of people who have opinion…), ideas which were introduced by Yahoo! SearchMonkey, a few years ago.
Thus we have the possibility to create custom search engines based on what we look for, such as Google Products and Recipes (Google Product Search & Google Recipe Search) are a clear example of this, in these search engines it have advanced features such as search by Ingredients or Cook Time or by number of Calories. Such possibilities are those that provide semantic markup of information.
So in the future we should look and obtain information relevant to the object we want, because if a person seeking information about web hosting products, our products should show in the results.
And this is the real Web 3.0 and Semantic Web, a website where the code means dowry relevant content thus more easily understood by machines, showing improved results and information snugly. And obviously offer many more possibilities, we can indicate, for example, if the search engines when looking for “New York” I mean the name of a song or a city, so on until the limit is exhausted imagination.
What is clear and confirms HTML5 is that the future of semantic search is that your code will be more and richer making your web pages more easily parseable and understandable by machines and increase your chances in search engine results.