Yahoo started the push to structure the web when it launched SearchMonkey. With SearchMonkey, a web developer could add semantic markup to a page and then build an enhanced listing for Yahoo search results. Not long after, they made things even easier by using this data to enhance listings even without a SearchMonkey application. Google jumped on the structured data bandwagon as well, picking up things like reviews information to provide additional information in search results. Microsoft Bing’s new document for webmasters also encourages the use of structured data, although it’s not clear what they do with the data. Yahoo continued its structured data campaign last week, with the announcement of Common Tag, a vocabulary that extends RDFa.
Now Yahoo has announced support for several additional opportunties for automated enhanced listings. You can use DataRSS XML to send a feed directly to Yahoo or use RDFa or microformat markup on your pages for content such as products, events, and news. In addition, Yahoo can now use a Google Base feed to create enhanced listings. Simply submit your Google Base feed through Site Explorer. As I mentioned in my analysis of Common Tag, these moves seem to be motivated at least in part by Yahoo’s quest to increase the reach of BOSS. Yahoo’s blog post notes that when you submit your Google Base feed, Yahoo converts it to DataRSS and makes it available in BOSS so it can be used for third-party search engine development.
While none of the search engines are using structured data for crawling, indexing, or ranking, it’s still likely worthwhile to include this markup for data like events, news, and reviews to take advantage of the opportunity to have a search result that stands out in Yahoo and Google (and potentially in Bing as well).