What are Microformats?
Simple data formats designed for humans first and machines second. Pre-defined classes developers can add to their xhtml tags adding semantic data that can be used by multiple applications.
Why you should be using Microformats.
The web is currently in it’s third generation and Web 3.0 is all about semantics. Microformats are just one of the pieces helping make information on the web more meaningful. When google announced last year they would parse stable microformats such as the hCard, hReview, and hProduct, listing them in search results the flood gates opened. Some research states that implementing the hCard microformat increases your local search ranking with google, especially in cities with higher populations. Implying they will a have a positive effect on your SEO campaigns.
90% of legitimate websites have contact information listed some where on their site. It only takes a few minutes to add the necessary hCard classes to your current contact information allowing other applications to interact with data. Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari all offer plugins with intuitive user interfaces allowing users to import the marked up data to other desktop and/or online applications.
If you have an account on any popular social network then you already have an hCard. All of the major social networks support and implement the hCard microformat.
As microformats become more common place more applications will be developed taking advantage of them. Alex Faaborg a User Experience Designer at Firefox explains in this article how microformats will eventually transform your browser into an “information broker” between the web and your desktop/online applicatons.
Helpful Tips for implementing microformats on your websites.
Don’t forget to declare the microformat you are using in your head tag. It won’t work without it.
<head profile="http://microformats.org/wiki/hresume-profile/ http://purl.org/uF/2008/03/">
Use the Operator plugin for Firefox to ensure your microformat is active. The green button will be highlighted.
Don’t always follow the examples. Occasionaly the examples use nested list for important information. In the case of nested classes that are important you should implement a <span> tag within a heading or paragraph tag.
Post your finished code on the microformats wiki to draw traffic to your site and increase your credibility. The hCard list is pretty long but the less used microformat listings are fairly short.
Web 3.0 is still in it’s infancy and the wide spread support for microformats has only occurred with in the last year. They are easy to implement and help make the end users experience more enjoyable. Now you don’t have any excuses not to be using them.