As a local business owner, you want to set yourself apart in your niche and reach people in your community. With the saturation of online competition, standing out might be challenging. However, when done correctly, your website and advertising should reflect your goals and help you attract more customers.
Local business schema is one technical marketing choice that can help you boost your website’s standing. It helps make it easier for search engines to analyze your site and for your customers to find you.
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Defining local business schema
Local business schema is a code that better defines your website as a local business in your area. This code also tells search engines what kind of service or good you provide.
Here are some essential terms to differentiate:
- Schema: A standard, shared markup language created by search engines.
- Structured data (SD): The information you give to search engines to categorize your site.
- Rich results: Visually appealing snippets created by search engines using your data.
Schema is the language you use to communicate with search engines. SD is what you have to say, and rich results are how they interpret your information for others.
Local business schema and SEO
Did you know 68% of all clicks go to the first five spots on Google results pages? Search engine optimization (SEO) is how you adjust your website for search engine algorithms to make sure you reach those top spots organically. SEO involves keyword research and implementation, web design, link building, and other digital practices.
Adding local business schema to your website can also boost SEO. When you include information about your business and location, Google or another search engine can match your website with prospects as they search for relevant keywords. Giving Google this information also helps them place you in front of your target audience, who are more likely to convert.
While SD is not an official ranking feature, it can improve other features that ultimately boost SEO.
5 steps to incorporating local schema
Follow the process below and visit Schema.org to add schema to your site directly, or consider a third-party agency if you want extra assistance.
1. Determine what kind of business you have
Find the category that best suits your business. If there is no exact match, you can use the LocalBusiness or Organization tag. Then, choose the sameAS property to add a similar Wikipedia or Wikidata entity that further explains your business.
2. Create or edit your “About Us” page
If you don’t have a dedicated business page, it’s time to create one. And if you do, it’s time to update it. Your “about” section on your website should cover the following types of SD for your readers:
- Geo (the location of your business)
You don’t have to add in all the information above, but the more you have, the better. The SD and “about” page will confirm your business and purpose to search engines and give readers the information they need, which they couldn’t see if it were all encoded.
3. Insert, test, and publish your code
Use Google’s Rich Results Test to see how your rich results will look, based on your code. You can also use the Schema validator to test your code or URL.
Once you’re satisfied with the rich results, you can add your code directly to your site’s HTML or use a schema application, managed UI, or plugin.
4. Crawl your website
After you publish your code, you need to see how search engines will digest the information. Google Search Console lets you monitor traffic and see how your page or domain performs.
5. Keep your site current
Following current Google guidelines will give you the best chance at ranking high on search engine results pages (SERPs). You might need to change your information or organization as Google releases new schema updates and retires others. Continue testing your site periodically to make sure it’s performing well.
If you have any changes or additions to your business, update your schema immediately to keep the information current. This step will help customers find information as soon as possible and prevent missing leads. Be sure to test for errors before they impact your customers!
Best practices for adding schema
Whether you implement your schema yourself or use a third-party provider, follow these tips to cover all angles:
- Mark up all your locations: If you have multiple locations, make sure you include information about each one. Having separate location pages with unique schema can help you reach the right users.
- Keep reviews unique: You have the option to add reviews to each page of your website. However, it’s best to make them different on each page or only include them on select pages.
- Stick with Google: Some websites, like Schema.org, use multiple SD types and properties that Google doesn’t recognize. Monitor Google’s local business SD guidelines to maximize your impact.
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