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Search Engines Announce Structured Data, Schemas, Rich Snippets, and Micro formats

Mar 22, 2011   |   Industry News, SEO
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Rich Snippets and Micro formats

Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex announced a new markup protocol that will allow sites to add information and context to their site that will help search engines match content to intent?

The details and definitions of the schema types and attributes can be found at https://schema.org/. The search engines will start using this data to find more and more precise information and media to satisfy the search queries.

Search Engines support microformats in local and SEO search. Deploying micro formats can help in SEO and Local search results and rankings.

What are Micro formats and Rich Snippets?
Microformats are a way of adding information which makes it easy for search engines to process the information.  Google uses this information in very relevant manner.  An example of this is when Google shows rich snippets in search results. Rich snippets are the data showing the number of stars, the price range, the name of the reviewer etc in the screen shot below.

seo rich snippets

This type of microformat data is straightforward for search engines to understand and process. Google suggests encoding the microformat information in the hCard format, a programming code to help display the data in a relevant manner.

Why should sites add schemas and structured data?

Over time the search engines will reward sites that make it easier for them to understand and find the right information on the web site with higher rank, more visibility, and more traffic. This is the beginning of a new technical standard that might take a number of years to start having a visible impact. Companies that stay ahead of the technical changes usually benefit.

How do sites implement structured data?

Like HTML, structured data schemas are added to entities and elements on the page and are visible to search crawlers but not to human visitors.

Microformats and SEO
With microformats, websites can display structured content such as events, recipes, reviews and business listings in a very clear manner to the end users. This is true for both organic search results and Google local search results.

This helps the users decide if the page is relevant to their search and encourages clicks to the site, thereby increasing quality traffic from both organic search and local search results.

Conclusion
Adding a microformat to your website is definitely of benefit as it helps search engines display important information about the business in a very structured manner. hCard format can be used to display information about the business listing (help with local search rankings), reviews, prices points, events and now recipes as well.

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Contributed by: Manisha Kumar, e-Strategist, Milestone Inc

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