Simple testing strategy for microformats implementation

by on 11th August 2010

This is an older post, with our latest thoughts on Schema and Rich Snippets here. With that said, the test method outlined here will work with your Schema markup too. Enjoy!

If you’re playing around with SEO based recommendations for your clients, you might have considered how exactly to test and present those recommendations.

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 Schema 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

<div class="vcard">
   <img class="photo" src="" 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>
   <p class="adr">
    <span class="street-address">200 Main St</span><br>
    <span class="locality">Desertville</span>, <span class="region">AZ</span>
    <span class="postcode">12345</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:

Example microformatted Google Ranking using the rich snippets testing tool

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:

An example of highlighted components of hProduct on an ebuyer page

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 definitely not least, I’d like to thank Daniel for his help writing this post.


  1. Thanks for this knowledge.

  2. Well after reading your many posts on Microformats and now having a bigger SEO say at my employer using this i have tweaked our site a little – lets hope it works.

  3. Very nice :)
    well, if we use this it should be deliver a good description rite? instead of “the exceprt will not show up”.

  4. Great tips – it’s really fairly simple to create a test page and test it out with Google’s tool. But even though it validates properly in the tool, so far none of my sites have started showing the review stars in search results pages. Have you had some success with this with sites you manage?

  5. I do a lot of reviews and I’ve been trying to do this on my blog. Maybe I am not able to implement it properly yet. But thanks to your blog, I am able to learn more and do some more tweaking in my blog. Hopefully, I get it done properly soon. =)

Comments are closed.

We're hiring – check out our careers page Careers

Get insights straight to your inbox

Stay one step ahead of the competition with our monthly Inner Circle email full of resources, industry developments and opinions from around the web.