BusinessSocial Media

Getting started with using Microdata

So now we know what we can do with this new technology, where do we start? As always with new technologies, there’s an ongoing debate about the best to use —RDFa, microdata, hCards, microformats, the list goes on… Well I won’t waste your time with a technical debate. Google, Yahoo and Bing joined together in 2011 to hit the data nail on the head and created a standardized approach with—a reference site for the Microdata markup technology, which allows you to cover all of your meta-data needs.

Google openly stated Microdata, and it’s sister-site, is their preferred technology, and made it clear not to mix ‘meta data’ technologies—fear of confusing their spider. We’re here for high rankings and traffic, not a lengthy diatribe on each individual technology, so let’s go with what Google recommends for the purposes of this book.

How to use

Google supports the below custom listings in the search results. If you have any of the below, your site can benefit from use of’s recommended additional markup for your site People

  • Products
  • Businesses and Organizations
  • Recipes – Events
  • Music
  • Video

Content We’ll use an example of a business listing to see how it might normally be coded, compared to following’s recommendation.

Standard code for business details

Beachwalk Beachwear & Giftware

A superb collection of fine gifts and clothing to accent your stay in Mexico Beach.

3102 Highway 98

Mexico Beach, FL

Phone: 850-648-4200

Microdata formatted code for business details

Beach walk Beachwear & Giftware

A superb collection of fine gifts and clothing to accent your stay in Mexico Beach.

3102 Highway 98 Mexico Beach, FL

Phone: 850-648-4200

You can see how the above code gives the search engine a friendly nudge to recognize the information as a business listing, such as the address and the phone number. While the above example will be just enough if you have a simple business listing, if you have any of the earlier-mentioned types of information on your site, you’ll have to log on to to follow their documentation to ensure your data is correctly formatted

Facebook Open Graph

While we know is the best approach for adding meta data to your site, there is one additional ‘meta data’ technology you should also use… Facebook’s Open Graph language allows you to determine how your site listing appears when shared on Facebook. If you do not include Facebook’s Open Graph code on your site, when a user shares your content on Facebook it will show a plain listing on the news feed, with the responsibility on the user to describe the article and make it worth reading.

If you include Facebook Open Graph code, it comes up looking sexy, just like your search listings if you have been using your meta title and meta description tags correctly. By putting your best foot forward, and making your listing show up correctly on Facebook, you will encourage more customers to click to your site, and increase the amount of likes and shares of your page.

Last word

This will increase the social signals of the page. Here’s an example of properly formatted meta code using Facebook Open Graph. As you can see, there are only minor tweaks required to make your page show up nicely on Facebook’s news feed… So go ahead and use it on your site! If you’re worried about confusing search engines by using several ‘structured data’ technologies at the same time, such as Open Graph and, don’t worry, you won’t have any problems.

Facebook Open Graph is mainly used by Facebook’s web crawler, not by search engines, so you can use Open Graph and in tandem without any problems. If you want to read up further on Facebook’s Open Graph, or if you have complex types of listings on your site, checkout Facebook’s Open Graph guide below.

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