With the introduction of the Semantic Web we (SEOs) have the opportunity to mark-up our content in such a way that robots/crawlers have a better understanding about the meaning of our content. And, we (SEOs) are keen on presenting our website's content in such a way it matches the search query of the Google (or Bing or Yahoo) user in the best possible way. On the search engine side engineers are keen on providing search results that provide the best match and information related to the search query that is being used. Thus, the introduction of the rich snippet. And this might very well be the development in the transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0?

When it comes to internet users: There is an enormous amount of people that use search engines because they have a question and they are looking for the right answer to that question. As a response we now have a wide variety of question and answer (Q&A) websites for a wide variety of topics. To me the logic next step would be to use a semantic markup that tells a robot/crawler what is a/the question and what are answers to that question. Even cooler is the fact that the community of a specific Q&A website is able to rate (e.g. by up- or downvote or starred rating) a certain answers and can mark a question as 'the correct answer'.

The search engines could interpret the markup and create a SERP containing rich snippets pointing out the Q&A. Now, doesn't that provide the opportunity to present the search engine user with a search result that:

  1. Matches the question;
  2. Provides a title and description of the question;
  3. Provides the top 'x number' of answers / best rated answers;
  4. Provides the correct answer.

The snippet could look (for example!) like this:

Question and Answer Rich Snippet

It goes without saying that the formatting of the snippet can have many varieties, but that's not really up to me ;)

I have done some research and I cannot find any markup or Microformat that support Q&A semantics within a website. Is this something that is around and that I am simply missing? Or is it coming up?

To me it seems perfect to have the correct answer to your question directly visible and accessible through from SERP's rich snippets.

  • I had to remove the question "And what are your idea's on the formatting requirements?" as it is very subjective and beyond the scope of this website.
    – John Conde
    Commented Apr 5, 2011 at 13:13

2 Answers 2


The vocabulary Schema.org can be used:

  • Question type:

    A specific question - e.g. from a user seeking answers online, or collected in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document.

  • Answer type:

    An answer offered to a question; perhaps correct, perhaps opinionated or wrong.

  • You can specify the accepted answer with the acceptedAnswer property.

By the way, all sites of the Stack Exchange network currently use these two Schema.org types.


There currently is no microformatting for Q&A data. But I wouldn't be surprised to see it in the future as I can't imagine that the current few available formats are all there's going to be. I'm sure as microformats get flushed out and working examples become more prevalent we'll see an increase in the available microformats. Hopefully they'll be standard and we won't get into any proprietary format wars like we did with HTML tags back in the day.

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