Using Schema To Enhance Local Business Visibility

An “SEO birthday” slipped by last month without much fanfare.  On June 2nd of last year, Google, Bing and Yahoo announced their support for schema.org.  Schema.org defines “tags” for certain types of data, such as recipes, events and business locations, so that search engines can understand their meaning. Oftentimes they use this data and format it in the search results, giving pages with “schema” a visual, if not ranking boost.

Fast-forward one year later: At Fathom, we have seen exciting results from implementing schema on a variety of sites. One of the most often overlooked tags that should be used is for local businesses.  If you are running a local business with one or multiple locations, you should consider adding local business schema to your website.  I have seen sites whose top pages ranked low on the second or third page of Google jumping to the first page when a local search is performed, all due to the local business schema tags being placed on their site. 

A couple of points when using local business schema:

  • Understand that local schema could possibly have a very geographically focused impact on search results, such as a metro area.  The schema tag “geo-circle” does not appear to be implemented yet.  Once implemented, this would allow you to define a radius and may expand the search area to something more acceptable to many businesses. The “local boost” in search results does not impact out-of-area rankings so there are no reasons to delay implementation.
  • Using local schema does not guarantee local results.  It’s important to provide supplemental information, such as store hours, maps, photos, etc. to demonstrate that you are in fact a local business and not a P.O. box.

Schema.org is still in its infancy of development as well as recognition and algorithmic integration by the major search engines.  As an SEO enthusiast, I’m looking forward to additional implementations that will help my clients get the results they need.

If you are interested in implementing schema on your site, check out www.schema-creator.org to make coding a bit easier.

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