A Complete Guide To Local Markup & Rich Results SEO
What role does schema markup play in local search engine optimization (SEO)?
Most local SEO specialists and webmasters understand the significance of having well-optimized SEO components on their landing pages, such as optimized title tags, well-written content, and so on.
But, what exactly can you do by using schema markup on your local company website?
Quite a bit, actually.
There are various reasons why having a suitable and complete schema applied to your website is a significant competitive advantage when it comes to organic search.
In fact, Google has often said that schema helps search crawlers perform their jobs more successfully by assisting them in comprehending a landing page and presenting relevant information in the SERPs.
In this piece, we will give a few tips to assist your local business make the most of schema to increase local SEO.
Let’s begin by describing what schema markup is.
The Difference Between Schema, Structured Data & Rich Results
In the webmaster and SEO industries, the phrases “structured data” and “schema” are sometimes used interchangeably.
Before we get into the suggestions, it’s a good idea to understand the semantic distinctions between these phrases.
Structured data, according to Google, is “a defined format for giving information about a website and identifying the page content.”
Simply said, this format was created to assist search engines in effectively understanding a webpage in order to appropriately show snippets of information on search results pages.
Schema is a type of structured data that was formally introduced by schema.org.
In 2011, all of the main search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex) collaborated to produce Schema.
A landing page can be suitable for rich results by utilizing the markup offered on schema.org.
Rich results (formerly known as rich snippets) are any additional information displayed in search engine results pages (SERPs) that goes beyond the standard blue title tag and meta description (breadcrumbs, review stars, site links, etc.).
Google provides two tools for auditing structured data on your website: the Schema Markup Validator and the Rich Results Test.
Here are a few instances of local businesses who are reaping the benefits of high rankings:
Review Rich Results Example
Breadcrumb Rich Results Example
Sitelink Rich Results Example
FAQ Rich Results Example
Is Structured Data A Local Ranking Signal?
Over the years, there has been significant disagreement regarding whether structured data constitutes a search engine ranking indicator in and of itself.
Structured data, according to prominent Google developer John Mueller, is not a direct search engine ranking indication in and of itself.
Structured data, on the other hand, indirectly increases search engine visibility in the following ways.
Structured Data Helps Search Engine Crawlers Better Comprehend Landing Pages
Structured data that is properly and fully integrated makes the task of the search crawler easier.
Comparing website properties (content, photos, media files, etc.) to a garage full of various boxes and objects is a fair example (snow shovel for the winter, inflatable pool for the summer, etc.).
Assume you’re hosting a garage sale and want people to come (i.e. more website visitors).
It is Google’s responsibility to promote your garage sale on the search results pages.
Google gives the bare minimum of blue title tags and meta descriptions for most websites.
If, on the other hand, your website is appropriately marked up with structured data, Google may very well reward your website with a larger advertisement (i.e. rich results) about your garage sale.
Structured data effectively names the many things in your garage, making the task of the Google search crawler easier.
Structured Data Improves The Possibility Of Obtaining Rich Results Which Improves Click-through Rates
A rich result is significantly more appealing in search results and will almost certainly increase CTR (click-through rates).
The CTR increase varies based on the type of rich result generated; for example, FAQ results perform exceptionally well.
This indicates that your landing page is gaining increased traffic as a result of consumers seeing relevant tidbits about what it includes.
There is also considerable discussion over whether greater CTR is a beneficial SEO indication in and of itself (signals more engagement & relevancy).
In any case, a higher CTR equals more visitors wherever your website ranks.
What Structured Data Is Recommended For Local Business Websites?
Most local websites provide at least some basic organized data.
However, the more extensive and detailed structured data that is used correctly, the better.
Following that, we’ll provide some step-by-step instructions for appropriately applying structured data:
Select The Best Schema.org Category
Schema.org offers various schema property choices that are very useful for local companies.
It is critical to pick the most suitable schema category for your local company in order to have necessary local business schema characteristics (which will be explained further in-depth below).
For example, if you’re marketing an ice cream shop, the best category to use is schema.org/IceCreamShop.
If you want to advertise a local hardware store, you should use schema.org/HardwareStore.
Relevant schema categories will assist Google in better understanding your website’s topology.
What If There Are No Relevant Schema Categories For My Local Business?
If you can’t discover a schema.org category that applies to your company, the default should be schema.org/LocalBusiness.
If you are technically minded, you can make new schema category suggestions on the schema.org Github forum.
The schema.org developers reply to detailed requests in this forum and build new schema.org properties on occasion.
I Selected The Most Accurate Category So What Should I Implement?
After you’ve chosen the right category for your company, you must have the schema.org sub-properties listed below in order for your schema to verify.
Errors may preclude you from achieving profitable outcomes.
Validation requires the following schema properties:
- Url: The URL of the associated landing page.
- Name: Name of the business.
- OpeningHours: Opening and closing hours of a business.
- Telephone: Contact telephone number for the business.
- Image: This can be any relevant image file on your landing page. It is recommended to use a storefront image if that’s available.
- Logo: This should be a link to your business logo image.
- Address: The business address which should be visible on the landing page.
- Geo: This is the geo coordinates of your business location.
- AreaServed: It is recommended to use a zipcode for this schema property.
- MainContentOfPage: Main body content of your landing page.
Common schema properties that are highly recommended:
- Review: A review of your local business.
- AggregrateRating: The overall rating, based on a collection of reviews or ratings, of the item. Make sure to follow Google’s rules on Review Rich Results on this.
- FAQPage: If you have a FAQ page it is imperative to add this specialty schema. Make sure to follow Google’s rules and guidelines.
- AlternateName: Businesses commonly have related names e.g. Acme Stores vs. Acme Inc. The alternate name property marks up other well-known corporate name variations (including abbreviations).
- SameAs: This is a reference to a 3rd party websites that are related to the website’s identity i.e. Facebook pages, Youtube Channel pages, Wikipedia pages, etc.
- HasMap: A URL to the map of your local business.
- Breadcrumb: This schema marks up the existing breadcrumb navigation structure on your website. This schema is highly recommended because it often appears in the SERPS as a rich result.
- Department: Many chain retailers have internal departments (e.g. pharmacies inside grocery stores). This specialty schema helps markup these department stores.
- PriceRange: The price range of the business, for example, $$$.
More advanced schema types:
- Sitelinks Search Box: A sitelinks search box allows people to do an internal search on your website using the Google SERP rather than visiting your website directly.
- AdditionalType: This is a specialized schema that helps Google understand what your website is about. This may be performed by assigning values to this variable based on Wikipedia categories. For example, if a local firm provides sports equipment, the additional type attribute https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_equipment.
How Do You Make Sure Your Structured Data Is Validated?
It is critical that your structured data be correctly evaluated.
If it isn’t, your landing page will very certainly not qualify for rich results.
Google expressly states that if there is a mistake, the rich result will not display in Google Search as a rich result.
As previously stated, there are two tools available to ensure that your schema is correctly validated: the Schema Markup Validator and the Rich Results Test.
Google Search Console also gives structured data augmentation reports, which will be discussed more below.
Schema Markup Validator
The Schema Markup Validator allows you to delve into the specifics of structured data.
It displays mistakes as well as cautions.
You may also test structured data before enabling it on your web pages by putting code straight into the tool.
Also, while it is critical to address structured data mistakes, you will frequently notice structured “warnings.”
These warnings are significantly less serious, and Google’s John Muller even noted that you don’t have to solve all of them.
Many websites have profits with structured data, which is totally great
Rich Results Test
The Rich Outcomes Test is Google’s official tool for determining which rich results structured data can create.
This tool also allows you to see how rich results will appear in Google SERPs.
Example Of Rich Results Test Preview
Structured data issues and warnings will also be reported by the Rich Result test tool.
As previously said, warnings are typical and will not prevent rich results from emerging.
Structured data mistakes, on the other hand, must be corrected in order to qualify for rich results.
Structured Data Monitoring Via Google Search Console
Google Search Console also provides site-wide structured data monitoring.
To enable monitoring, your local company website should have a confirmed Google Search Console account.
Google Search Console will give sitewide improvement reports that show how many pages contain verified structured data, as well as warnings and problems.
Google will also send you an email if there are any problems with structured data on your local company website.
Example Of Sitewide Structured Data Report
How Can I Tell How Many Rich Results My Website Is Getting In The SERPs?
Aside from rich results, it would be wonderful to monitor how a local company website performs across all Google SERPs.
There are a few third-party SEO tools available that crawl Google SERPs and generate data.
Semrush, for example, includes a “SERP Feature” report that displays how many aggregate rich results your website receives.
Example Of Semrush SERP Feature Report
Is There Anything I Should Avoid When Using Structured Data?
Structured data is intended to be code that is used to label or markup existing properties on your local company website.
Google expressly states that your structured data must match the content of the connected landing page.
Structured data spam does happen, though, and Google can impose manual penalties if they think a webmaster is flagrantly violating the guidelines.
Make sure you strictly adhere to Google’s structured data rules.
There are no disadvantages to including correctly written and relevant structured data into your local business’s website.
In addition, schema.org is constantly adding more schema attributes, as well as greater connectivity through Google Search Console.
The majority of standard SEO tactics (meta tag optimization, bespoke content, design modifications, and so on) need substantial work and noticeable on-page website improvements.
Structured data changes, on the other hand, are invisible to website visitors.
They also don’t necessitate any immediate adjustments to your website other than the addition of a new source code script.
They also have the ability to significantly boost visibility in Google SERPs through rich results.
If you’re a local business trying to improve the performance of your website, consult with a webmaster and start using structured data.
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