Update: This post may be out of date already.  Google just announced support for Microformats.  Doh!

You know I really should have written this post on HCards & SEO, but Michael Wolf Gray (oops) needs less sleep than I do. It’s a very fine overview of why using the HCard format on your website is probably a “rainy-day project” at best.

For the uninitiated, or understandably uninterested, the HCard is a way to add “structured data” to your site, meaning you define things like addresses and phone numbers in the code. In theory this makes it easy for robots to understand what your pages are all about without and could become quite useful as location aware browsers and the like try to figure out what’s going on.

I have not yet seen the use of HCard make a noticeable difference for SEO, except that it does make it a bit easier for SkyNet to become aware and destroy all of civilization in a ball of fire.

Here’s Michael’s actionable points summary:

* Put only one address on a page if possible
* For multiple locations give each location thier own address
* Try to match domain registration address information with on site information
* Make hCard formatting a rainy day project in the near future

But you should really read the whole post.

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4 Response Comments

  • JamesUK  May 11, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I have been running hCards on two of three directory portals that I run and I cannot see any added benefit.

    They have been on now for around 3/4 months and there is no difference really, all things considered, than with the site that doesnt have the hcard data on there.

    I had a hunch that it would work in some noticeable way, I have to admit, but nope 🙂

  • Andrew Shotland  May 11, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    It makes sense to me that the HCard should not provide you any special benefit as I am guessing that <1% of all web pages use it. Significant adoption of HCard amongst SMB sites which would probably benefit from it the most if it worked would take a long time. Most SMBs have enough issues just updating their title tags.

  • Stever  May 11, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    I’ve been adding Hcard formatting on client sites for no other reason than “just because”. Perhaps in time it could become an element G-Maps looks at. Maybe.

    As for the <1% argument, that alone is not a strong enough argument against something Google may or may not use as a ranking factor 🙂

  • Stacy  October 5, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Ok talking about ranking factor, it could be very dangerous from some point of view, I have just googled the Hcard keyword and so far Im thinking it has a lot of problems still, now I’ll read your update about Google supporting microformats