If you’re playing around with SEO based Microformats recommendations for your clients, you might have considered how exactly to test and present those recomendations.
What things can you do before sending off an SEO consultation document with Microformats change requests to make you feel confident that your recommendations will work, should Google begin parsing your Microformats in to the search results pages?
The very simple answer is to set up a test page all of your own, and demonstrate the validated test to your target audience. Here’s how:
Start with a template
Examples like the ones below can be found pretty easily – there are a ton of useful templates for hReview, hProduct, hCalendar and so on to be found on Microformats.org:
<img class="photo" src="http://www.example.com/bobsmith.jpg" alt="Photo of Bob">
<p><strong class="fn">Bob Smith</strong></p>
<p><span class="title">Senior editor</span> at <span class="org">ACME Reviews</span></p>
<span class="street-address">200 Main St</span><br>
<span class="locality">Desertville</span>, <span class="region">AZ</span>
Upload your template to a test / ftp site
Once you’ve found a template that covers the elements you’ll need for your webpage, you’ll need to save a local copy of the template and start adding the data. It’s good to use actual client data in your example so the web development team don’t have to spend too much time unpicking the details of the request. Identify your class attributes (elements), and using copy and paste, start adding reviewer names, ratings, product names or whatever else floats your fancy.
Here’s one I made earlier – a simple webpage containing the bear (that’s no typo) minimum data and content you need to demonstrate your point.
Demonstrate the example using the rich snippets testing tool
While we’ve been working with the tool we’ve noticed some weirdness with the testing process. Firstly, if you’re refining a template and refreshing the testing tool, there seems to be some kind of caching where the tool doesn’t always fetch the latest version of the file. Granted this could be caching on either our hosting or Google’s servers (I’m not sure), but what is totally weird, is that on refresh, entire elements of the Microformatted data can disappear and reappear in Google’s rich snippet testing tool!
If you use the tool a lot you’ll know what I mean – beware. Anyway, your finished product should look a little like this:
Identfiy the same data on the current webpage
For the more hardcore, you could save a version of a clients webpage, change a bunch of class attributes and see if you can make an almost live example for them. If you haven’t got the time to do that (it takes a while sorting out the CSS etc), then create a simple Snagit of your target page with some of the Microformat elements highlighted:
Providing the template, and a guide to where the data currently sits on the page should easily be enough for you to master Microformats and get your clients up to speed too. Have fun with Microformats! One last thing – but definietly not least, I’d like to thank Daniel for his help writing this post.