Structured Contact Data for WordPress: Why You Should Use Microformats

Contact data on a website are essential : they allow visitors to get in touch with you, your company, to seek assistance, feedback, or even a simple discussion. But they need to get to your website first. How about displaying these contact data directly on the search results page ?
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Contact data on a website are essential : they allow visitors to get in touch with you, your company, to seek assistance, feedback, or even a simple discussion. But they need to get to your website first. How about displaying these contact data directly on the search results page ?

What are rich snippets and how are they useful ?

It’s very likely you have seen rich snippets without knowing their name. They are the few lines of text, and sometimes a picture or stars rating, which appears below a search result’s title, around the page description. They can help the user understand better what’s on your page and how it ties in with his search query.
For example, they are often displayed for recipes or events websites that have included structured data in their markup. Structured data comes in different kind, the main ones being :

  • Microformats which uses the class attribute to markup the data
  • Microdata which uses itemtype and itemprop attributes

Detailed information for microdata markup can be found on the schema.org website, same for microformats.
Now, why is it important ? Well, some studies showed that rich snippets can increase the CTR (Click Through Rate) of a page in the search results, because results with a rich snippet stand out more against classic results, and provide more information. A really interesting way to best your competitors !

How to add structured contact data in WordPress

I introduced rich snippets with recipes or events, but they can also show contact information related to a website, like an address, a phone number, or even a link to google map.
To add this to WordPress, you can use the Rich Contact Widget plugin. It’s simple to use and takes care of all the required markup for rich contact snippets !
After downloading and activating it, go to the Appearance > Widgets submenu : you will be able to add the widget in one of the widget areas of your theme, and fill in all your contact information.

Additionally, you can display an image map of your location, and provide a download link for a vCard containing your contact data (so that visitors can add them in their contact book on their computer or phone).
These are just options for your website visitors, and aren’t used for structured data, so they can be deactivated in the widget configuration.
Here is an example of the widget’s display (With the Twenty Eleven theme) :

Testing for structured data on your website

After this, search engines will be able to read structured data on your website. You can test it on this page by Google : enter the url you want to preview, and all the structured data extracted will be displayed.

After a while, when search engines bots’ll have recrawled your website, rich snippet with your contact information can be displayed when your website appears on a search results page !

Get Rich Contact Widget plugin

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Jean Galea
Jean Galea
Jean Galea is an investor, entrepreneur, and blogger. He is the founder of WP Mayor, the plugins WP RSS Aggregator and Spotlight, as well as the Mastermind.fm podcast. His personal blog can be found at jeangalea.com.

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