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Microformats (sometimes abbreviated μF) are simple conventions to embed semantics in HTML and to quickly provide an API to be used by search engines, aggregators, and other tools. These small patterns of HTML are used for marking up entities that range from fundamental to domain-specific information, such as people, organizations, events, and locations. 

Their simple format is meant to be useful for machines, as well as to be human readable. 

Several existing libraries have been developed specifically for microformats including but not limited to hCard and hCalendar.

Microformats  are supported by all major search engines.

Microformats, microdata and RDFa

Microdata are a WHATWG HTML specification also used to nest metadata within existing content on web pages.
RDFa is a W3C standard, applying RDF to web pages.
Microformats are no standard, although hCard and hCalendar conventions are widely used.

 They all aim at adding semantics to web documents.

See also