Joel Klettke is a Search Engine Optimization specialist at Vovia. Joel's also an experienced writer and local marketing expert.

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Why You Shouldn’t Ignore

ignoreUnless you’re a web developer, programmer, designer or SEO, chances are you didn’t hear about the launch of a few months ago. The trouble is, it was a pretty big deal.

To recap, the three major search engines, Google, Yahoo and Bing, came together and cooperated to come up with, a new standard for marking up web content. If that’s all Greek to you, let me try and simplify.

Brains Vs. Robots: The Need for Clarity

We as humans have the novelty of being able to understand the intent someone had when writing a particular piece of information. For example, when we read “James Cameron” we immediately know that “James Cameron” refers to a person. When we read a book review about “Twilight”, we are able to process and understand that we’re reading about a particular book.

Search engines, on the other hand, don’t always have this ability. For example, it can be tough for an engine to understand whether “Avatar” is referring to a type of profile picture or the blockbuster movie. “Twilight” might be a book, or a beautiful time of the evening. Understanding what a particular set of phrases is referring to can be a big help in returning more relevant results. Or, as puts it:

“On-page markup enables search engines to understand the information on web pages and provide richer search results in order to make it easier for users to find relevant information on the web. Markup can also enable new tools and applications that make use of the structure.”

Why The New Markup?

Prior to there were plenty of ways to code your content and help different search engines understand what particular snippets referred to – the trouble was the lack of a single standard. IS now that standard.

Using you now have one universally accepted way to label your content and let engines know exactly what you’re talking about. Are you writing a movie review? A blog post? A recipe? Are you writing about a person? A local business? A place? Are those numbers a date, or a piece of contact information?

Why Does Matter For SEO?

Consider the underlying goal of – to make relevant information more easier to identify and more easy to find. A quick look at the FAQ section of reveals a crucial insight:

“Q: Why should I add markup? What will I get out of it? How will the data be used?

[…] These projects help you to surface your content more clearly or more prominently in search results. […] over time you can expect that more data will be used in more ways. In addition, since the markup is publicly accessible from your web pages, other organizations may find interesting new ways to make use of it as well.”

The fact that three major players are behind this shows how important engines think markups are; not just for search now but for the future of how results are displayed.

Not only that, microformats are already used in all sorts of interesting ways: for example, take a good look at the top results when you search for a recipe. How many of those are using microdata in their code?

Thinking Ahead

It’s not difficult to imagine that engines will use continue to use markups in new and innovative ways to give searchers what they want. If your site doesn’t have the code, you’re not reaping the benefits – period. As these new innovations and search features develop you’ll find yourself struggling to catch up instead of looking at your competition in the rear view.

Make sure you’re up to speed on the latest with No matter what your involvement with online marketing, burying your head in the sand and hoping this all goes away is only going to set you further behind your competition. On the other hand, you have an opportunity – right now – to get a leg up on those dragging their heels.. so get moving!

For a helpful tool that can seriously cut down on the confusion and hassle of implementing, check out