Do Microformats Matter?

Ian Lurie

Yes. Microformats let you tag individual pieces of information on a web page so that you know what they’re about. So, for example, instead of just putting:

Ian Lurie

Conversation Marketing

on my page, I could add a little markup to it:

<span class=”vcard”>

<span class=”fn”>Ian Lurie</span>

<span class=”org”>Conversation Marketing</span>



Ignoring the weird stuff, I basically tagged my name as a person’s name (with ‘fn’) and my organization as Conversation Marketing (with ‘org’).

If you’re using a newer browser, roll your cursor over this and see what happens:

Ian Lurie

That lets compatible web browsers and other programs do neat things like, say, automatically pull this data into a vcard.

So yes, Microformats are very, very relevant. Any time you can make your page more semantically structured, and tag information more effectively, you should.

Also, I suspect that Microformats are beginning to play a roll in search engine rankings. Even if they aren’t on major players like Google, I’d be shocked if we didn’t see microformat-driven search tools soon.

I’ll be exploring this more later. Let’s see what happens with the Microformatted info I just added to this post…

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. If you are just getting into microformats, check out the operator plug in for firefox. (
    If there’s a microformat on a page, it will pick it up and you can easily add contact info to your address book, add events to your calendar, look up locations in google maps… it’s awesome.
    Microformats are exciting because indeed semantics are the way the web are going. It’s all about making all this jumbled junk we type on here more organized and useful to both machines and people.

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