An Introduction to Microformats

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Have you heard about microformats? If you’re looking to improve how your sites look on search engine result pages (SERPs), you might be surprised by their impact. In fact, believe it or not, microformats are the one thing that even Google, Bing, and Yahoo all agree on; the search engine giants are all proponents of the value that microformats, or microdata, provide. When properly utilised, microformats can make it easier for clients to find the right web pages (i.e. yours).

Here is a brief introduction:

Microformats Defined

Also known as microdatasemantic markupsrich snippets, and schemas, microformats are code; additional tags that elaborate HTML headings in the code (i.e. h1, h2, etc) to provide accurate details for search engines to correctly interpret. The use of microformats is important because some elements in the code, such as headings, can be misunderstood.

In essence, microformats allow search engines to better understand content featured on your website, displaying it to users in a more valuable way.

How Microformats Work

To illustrate how microformats work, here is a coding example from schema.org, a website that collects various types of schemas:

 <div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Movie”>
<h1>Avatar</h1>
<span>Director: James Cameron (born August 16, 1954)</span>
<span>Science fiction</span>
<a href=”../movies/avatar-theatrical-trailer.html”>Trailer</a>
</div>

The emboldened text signifies the microformat. Prior to its inclusion, it would be impossible for search engine web crawlers to determine the meaning of the word “avatar” in <h1> of this code. In particular, the itemscope denotes that the highlighted item is in fact a movie. Without this distinction, it’s very possible that search engines would alternatively classify this page as a profile picture. In addition, this microdata displays the director (James Cameron), his birthday (August 16, 1954), and the genre of the film (science fiction) on the SERP.

Microformats provide clarification for web crawlers that cannot make such distinctions on their own. And through this distinction, the crawler knows which meaning to apply, thus adding value to the SERPs. This information is beneficial because search engines can use it to provide more relatable content to users.

Microformat Advantages

The most important benefit that microformats provide is context. As mentioned above, search engine spiders scroll websites to index their content. Microformats provide greater indexing accuracy that allow websites to be ranked properly on SERPs.

In addition to clarity, microformats provide SERPs with more detail for their listings. For example, if you were to Google “butter chicken recipe”, the top result included on the SERP lists, under its link, includes the following stats: a “1 hr” cook time and that the dish equals “880 cal” (calories). These are both examples of microdata that provide valuable information for the user, without them having to click on the link.

Butter Chicken SERP

For affiliates promoting iGaming websites, microdata can be used to highlight game reviews that are featured on your site. In this way, categories such as “rank” and “reviews” can be displayed to illustrate brief snippets of information to the reader. Of course, this is just one instance of how microformats can be tailored to the iGaming industry.

Anybody with a website can profit from using microformats. If you’re looking to increase traffic through search results, then this is a tactic that should absolutely be employed. This kind of coding creates a webpage markup, and search engines prefer anything that gives them a better understanding of site content. Most importantly of all, it will allow your visitors to find you easier.

To learn more about schema.org, and microformats, click here. Or, search a full list of microformats.

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