[uf-discuss] Microformats and keyword spamming

Elli Albek elli at sustainlane.com
Tue Jun 2 00:01:16 PDT 2009

Problems again.

Building a simple yelp style business review page requires us to repeat a
lot of information on the page. This has a few results:

1. Non semantic HTML. The pages include a lot of repeating terms in the
wrong places. There is no way to avoid it if we want to use hreview.

2. The pages become less accessible, since the HTML starts deviating from
its semantic form. For example, include pattern requires:
  a. object tags (this should ALWAYS be avoided at all cost!!!)
  b. empty A tags
  C. A tags with redundant information that is constantly repeating on the
page. This is what we currently do as the lesser of all evils.

3. Needing to repeat so much text on the page affects search engine results:

Repeating terms that are almost irrelevant to the page, like
<span class="type">business</span>
on each and every hreview.

4. Repeating important keywords on the page TOO MANY TIMES, such as the
business name on every review:
<span class="item">
<a class="include" href="#review_item">Maharishi Ayurveda Health Spa</a>

This added the page main keywords so many times that I suspect it borders
keyword spamming in the eyes of the search engine.


Those are the options now:

1. The risk of a good content site becoming a keyword spammer, outweighs any
benefit of using microformats that I can currently see. Making the pages non
semantic in order to support microformats, possibly already hurt our
rankings. Solution: remove microformats from reviews pages entirely.

2. Use Google's cut down version of microformats. This may not follow the
spec, but if we follow google most of our problems are solved. What I like
about many google APIs is their practical approach. In that case I think
their view of microformats is more practical then the spec. It certainly
solves a lot of our problems.

3. Alternative formats: RDF? 

4. Direct feed to search engines in proprietary formats. We will still
support hcard for the business directory, but will remove support for
hreview since this is the major source of problems.

This all started when we wanted to added review aggregate, and the pages are
starting to deteriorate.

Advice is welcome and appreciated.

I would really appreciate:

** An example that shows how to build a REAL reviews page. **

1. That page includes the business information once and only once on the
page, where the business name is in H1 (in hcard).
2. That page includes review aggregate, which does not require any
repetition or hidden text.
3. A few reviews of the said business, WHICH DO NOT REQUIRE ANY REPETITION
of any item information, the type of business, etc.
4. Business name shows once and only once on the page in the hcard and
nowhere else.
5. Listing type (business/product) shows once and only once on the page.
Natural place in the hcard, but according to the spec it is not possible.


More information about the microformats-discuss mailing list