Microdata, Big Possibilities

by John Leary


We've been curious about microdata for a while here and it seems like it's picked up great momentum. Microdata is a format for tagging certain types of content (such as events, people or products) so browsers/mobile devices/search engines understand what that content is.

Once search engines understand what type of content on a page, it is possible to see unique callouts displayed within the search results for:

Microdata samples

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So why is this valuable to your site?

These featured placements in search results stand out from the rest, resulting in increased traffic from search engines and possibly even improving a site's SEO reputation.

Last June, Google, Bing! and Yahoo agreed on a standardized set of code called schemas, to structure these common types of content (for more details, check out schema.org). With these search engine giants behind this technology, it's most definitely a site optimization technique we're taking full advantage of.

In addition to SEO benefits, microdata can create a more intuitive user experience for websites by integrating web content into future external applications. For example: click a person's name on a site, your browser will ask if you want to add this person to your contact list. Click a site's telephone number on your iPhone and be asked if you want to call that company. Some of this functionality already exists with a huge potential for expansion in the upcoming months/years.

In the future, we may even be able to replace current formats like .ics (digital calendar) and .vcard (digital business card) formats, and possibly some implementations of .rss feeds.

We've already started folding this format into some of our recently launched sites and we're immediately seeing how our featured search results listings are standing out from the competition and increasing overall site traffic.

Best of all, it takes as little as a few hours to add microdata into an existing site. Content management systems stand to gain the most benefit by implementing these schemas into page templates. When you add the current list of microdata benefits to the possibilities for the future, it's really a no-brainer to ask your team to implement this new format now.

Interested in more SEO and site optimization? Take a look at some of these related articles:
- Improve Your Site With HTML5
- Top 10 Website Development Mistakes
- The Truth About Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

John LearyJohn Leary is a Senior Art Director at Long Island advertising agency Austin & Williams, who possesses both a remarkable gift for graphic design as well as a deep understanding of today’s emerging technological advances. To read more about John, visit his bio section on the A&W web site.

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