Appearing in local search results can be quite a challenge for small businesses, especially if little technical knowledge is available to improve Local SEO.
Although easy to implement, many small businesses still don’t use Schema.org Markup on their websites. This is incredibly useful when trying to achieve relevancy with your business in local searches and improve visibility.
Schema.org is a markup vocabulary created and recognised by leading search engines which helps them to understand the information on your website.
Generally speaking, by using this markup, you’re highlighting to search engines the most important information on your site, such as address details, testimonials, opening hours and contact details. This information can then be used by search engines to include rich snippets for your business in search engine results pages, which in turn have the potential to increase Click-through Rates (CTR).
Below is an example of a rich snippet:
It’s possible to markup almost every part of a website, but today we’re discussing the parts of a website that you can markup that will really improve the visibility of your business in local search results.
A full list of the markup vocabulary available to use, which is specifically relevant to local businesses, can be found here.
Arguably one of the most important uses of Schema’s markup is highlighting to search engines your business’ NAP (name, address and phone number). To show up in local results, it’s important that the contact details of your business are available on your site in the footer or header of every page. Once this is done, you can markup this information using Schema so search engines understand what this specific information is.
When you markup your NAP, it will look something like this in search engine results pages:
Once you have used Schema to markup your NAP, you then want to start attaining citations. Citations are essentially mentions of your brand that confirm specific information, in this instance your business’ NAP. So this is where you start listing your business on local directories, especially the important three (Google My Business, Yahoo! Local and Bing Places) if you haven’t done so already.
When securing citations, it’s important that the information you’re citing is an identical match (in structure and content) to how it appears on your website. When securing a profile for your business on a local directory, ensure your NAP is listed in the same way as it appears on your website. If you’ve shortened certain parts of your address on your website (e.g. St.), make sure it’s shortened the exact same way on local directories.
Once search engines are certain of your business’ NAP, your business will begin to show in the local results pages where relevant.
Another important use for Schema markup is for testimonials and reviews. As is known, testimonials and reviews can help persuade (or dissuade) potential customers to follow through with a conversion.
When you markup a testimonial or review on your website, search engines will sometimes display this information in the rich snippet for your business in the results pages.
Having a rich snippet like this can help your business stand out against the competition in the results pages; having the potential to increase the CTR from organic traffic sources. Having a rich snippet with a testimonial or review featured can only mean good things for your business; it’s an extra piece of persuasive information to encourage a click!
It’s worth noting that although it may be tempting to simulate reviews and mark them up as if they are genuine, this puts your site at risk of being penalised by search engines for manipulating reviews, so it is worth avoiding doing this.
For a full list of the available markup vocabulary, view the Schema.org review page here.
Schema.org markup is useful regardless of any business aims, but as has been highlighted during this post, it’s especially useful for helping your business stand out in local searches.
By providing search engines with the important information of your business, you’re ensuring your business appears in local search results where relevant whilst also enabling the creation of a rich snippet that’s likely to stand out from other results and has the potential to increase CTR.
It’s definitely worth the time for every business to ensure they’re implementing Schema markup, especially to aid Local SEO efforts. It’s an inexpensive way to ensure search engines are taking the most important information from your website and showing it to potential customers.
Have any questions for me? Leave me a comment below!
Need help in adding structured-data markup to your site? Use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper
Ensure you’ve implemented markup correctly with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool
Image Credit by BigStock Images.