Microformats are sets of open data formats used on web pages to describe a specific type of information. These sets of data are known as entities and they have their own properties. For example, a person has properties like name, age, gender, or email address. Likewise, a product has properties like price, color, weight, etc.
The most common way of embedding microformats standards into HTML, XHTML, RSS, or XML is by using a hCard, which are small, simple, open and distributed patterns of HTML used for representing properties and values in semantic HTML or XHTML.
Several microformats have been developed to enable semantic markup of particular types of information:
- hAtom – for marking up Atom feeds from within standard HTML
- hCalendar – for events
- hCard – for contact information; includes:
- hNews – for news content
- hProduct – for products
- hRecipe – for recipes and foodstuffs.
- hResume – for resumes or CVs
- hReview – for reviews
- rel-directory – for distributed directory creation and inclusion
- rel-enclosure – for multimedia attachments to web pages
- rel-license – specification of copyright license
- rel-nofollow, an attempt to discourage third-party content spam (e.g. spam in blogs)
- rel-tag – for decentralized tagging (Folksonomy)
- xFolk – for tagged links
- XHTML Friends Network (XFN) – for social relationships
- XOXO – for lists and outlines
It is easy to understand why Search Engines will find content in websites structured using microformats to be most indexable, and why those websites will enjoy a distinct advantage when it comes to search results, specially those that advertise sets of products categorized based on their properties (price, weight, type, brand, etc).
Search Engines are already pulling data from microformats found in companies websites, online maps, calendars, tables, spreadsheets, etc. Facebook and Twitter are among the growing number of social media sites supporting various microformats, a trend that can only increase even further over time.
Please do not hesitate to Contact Us for more information on how to semantically restructure your website using microformats.