Microdata, semantic search and SEO

Today the use of microdata in your website is as important as in the past meta tags were important for search engines! All that is part of Google’s ambition to offer its users more detailed and exact search results. This is also popular as semantic search.

What does semantic search mean?

Semantic search can be shortly described as an attempt of major search engines to offer better and more detailed search results by using structured data.
Let’s say that you look for some recipe. You write in Google the name of the recipe and there are different related results in standard view.
Imagine how great will it be, if you are able for example to sort results by time for cooking, ingredients, calories, etc. This is what semantic search does and you can see example of this on the following image:
Semantic search

What does microdata mean?

One of the ways, which Google uses in attempt to achieve sematic search, is the use of structured data by adding microdata in the code of a web page.
Microdata is a part of HTML5, which gives additional information for search engines by using different markup in the content of pages. Microdata can easily be seen, when it is used for voting. When you search in Google, you can see rating stars near some of the results – these are rich snippets, which are made using microdata.
Microdata also has a W3C standard. The use of microdata is considered as a replacement for the older microformats and is recommended officially from Google. Also it replaces some other technologies like Video Sitemaps.
The use of microdata to create for example rich snippets may increase the traffic to your web site and CTR (Click-through rate). Because of misuse of rich snippets mainly by some website owners who want their pages to look more attractive in search engines (although their pages and content topic are not suitable for rich snippets), Google now also can receive reports for such misuse of rich snippets.
Here is one very short illustrating example of microdata’s code:

Html code wihout microdata

My name is Bob Wall but people call me Wall. Here is my home page:

<a href="http://www.example.com">www.example.com</a></div>

Html with microdata

<div itemscope itemtype="http://data-vocabulary.org/Person">

My name is <span itemprop="name">Bob Wall</span>

but people call me <span itemprop="nickname">Wall</span>.


What is microdata used for?

Microdata is used for creating:

  • Rich Snippets (reviews, peoples, products, business and organizations, recopies, events, music)
  • Semantic search
  • Social Graph and sharing:

– Personalized advertisements
– Friend’s recommendations
• For extracting structured data
• Browser plugins

Examples of structured data similar to microdata on different brand websites:

ebay -microdata

Ebay – Aggregate Rating and product description using microdata (prices)

IMDB microdata

IMDB – actors, starring in the movies using microdata


Microdata for recepies

Rotten tomatoes – information for movies

my space microdata

In My space – information for music

ticket master microdata

In Ticket Master information for events.

If you want to learn more about how to insert microdata in the code of your website, you can visit the next article: “How to include microdata and what does schema.org mean”.

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