We’re all searching for new ways to get to the top of search results. Microformats are simple conventions used on websites that help define and describe certain types of information. Google calls them rich snippets. Microformats work by applying certain CSS classes to HTML tags, which provides context for the information delivered to search engines.
Since microformats use familiar technologies, the learning curve is low and essentially no changes need to be made to your design or layout to get started. Microformats have a handful of specifications defined that are already being used by search engines to index content — anything from people and organizations to events and recipes.
Here are some examples…
Let’s say you’re looking for restaurants and you search for “bar-b-que austin tx”. A normal search result in Google will look like this:
But if we applied microformats to the information like Yelp does, then a user would be presented with a search result similar to this:
The technique used here is to let search engines know this is a review of a place. By using certain tags provided by a specification, we enable the search engine to know the place review, all of its information, plus its rating. The same thing can be done with recipes:
Who is using it?
Google just launched a “Recipe View,” a recipe search engine. Facebook is using the hCalendar and hCard microformats on all of their events. By using microformats on your information, you give yourself a better chance of getting your information into search results.