There are a number of topics being mentioned in the industry, however one of the topics recently which has gained a lot of traction relates to RDF (Resource Description Framework) and Rich Snippets.
What markup such as this allows for search marketeers is the ability to provide further information to the search engines. In particular Google have been particular active in better ‘understanding the web’ during their announcements of Google Squared and Rich Snippets during their Searchology event back in 2009.
During the official post they stated the following:
We can’t provide these snippets on our own, so we hope that web publishers will help us by adopting microformats or RDFa standards to mark up their HTML and bring this structured data to the surface. This will help people better understand the information you have on your page so they can spend more time there and less on Google. We will be rolling this feature out gradually to ensure that the quality of Google’s search results stays high. If you are a webmaster and are interested in participating, visit the rich snippets help page to learn more
The announcement therefore of the further expansion of that earlier announcement, would suggest Google are serious in their adoption of RDF and Microformats – and that search engine marketeers would be stupid to simply ignore these within their SEO strategies.
The announcement of ‘Answer Highlighting’ by Google – which builds on the ‘Google Squared’ framework mentioned above – means that Google will now attempt to return more relevant snippets as part of their organic results. Take for example ‘empire state height’, prior to the announcements announced on the 22nd January would have been returned as follows
These will now display far more descriptive information as part of the snippet
Further to that, Googles adoption of extended rich snippets within the SERPs continues with events added to recent rollouts affecting reviews and people. These improvements could be of particularly interest to organisations such as event management companies given the example provided by Google:
Given the lack of understanding as a whole within much of the SEO community, I would suggest take up of microformats as a whole is likely to take some time to get traction, however there is no doubting the potential value not only to the search engine but to the advertiser as well – and its good to see Google adopting frameworks which further encourage on-page refinement over off-page engagement.
Whilst Google is only using this in limited sectors at present, there is nothing to stop this from being rolled out across further sectors as and where applicable. If you haven’t got rich snippets, microformats or RDF on your radar, I would suggest its about time you did….
To find out more about:
RDF – http://www.w3.org/RDF/
Google Squared and Rich Snippets – http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/more-search-options-and-other-updates.html
Answer Highlighting and further Rich Snippets – http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/understanding-web-to-make-search-more.html