Practical Ecommerce

Using Schema Markup for Local SEO

Schema.org provides a vocabulary of specific, structured terms that can help local business communicate key pieces of information to search engines.

Schema.org provides a vocabulary of specific, structured terms that can help local business communicate key pieces of information to search engines.

Local businesses can help their search engine optimization efforts by utilizing the Schema.org markup. By adding the Schema code to your website, you’re helping the search engines identify certain text on your site, such as your business’s name, address, and phone number.

With this code, the search engines can more easily recognize that information. If an address is marked up with code, for example, then the website owner is telling the search engines that it’s an address, and they can trust that it’s an address.

Several years ago, the search engines — Yahoo, Bing (Microsoft) and Google — adopted structured “microdata” markup code that allows them to identify certain elements of a web page. Microdata is a web standard used “to annotate content with specific machine-readable labels.” Effectively, it places short bits of markup inline with other HTML to better describe the associated HTML content. Schema.org is sponsored by the major search engines, which use its vocabulary of structured markup terms.

This Schema.org code appears in the background of a site and is not visible to regular website visitors. It’s typically viewable by humans only if you view the source code of the web page. Adding this code to your website won’t affect its appearance. If you list your company name, address, and phone number on your website in a large bold black text, in Arial font, adding the Schema.org markup code to the website won’t change how it looks on the website. It will still be in a large bold black text, in Arial font.

When it comes to SEO, however, local businesses that use this code on their website in the appropriate places have an advantage over other local businesses that don’t. So, implementing Schema.org markup up your website is something you can do right now to help your SEO efforts. You should see the results in better search engine rankings fairly quickly.

Schema Markup for Local Businesses

What type of markup should you use? There are multiple elements for local businesses to take advantage of. In fact, there’s a huge list on Schema.org.

I’ve included, below, the ones that you’ll likely want to use, although if you have any of the other items on the Schema.org list, use those, too.

  • name
  • address
  • telephone
  • logo
  • description
  • streetAddress
  • addressLocality
  • addressRegion

For a restaurant, for example, you could use the following markup terms, too.

  • openingHours
  • servesCuisine
  • priceRange

“servesCuisine” allows you to show the type of food served. With “priceRange,” you can specify “$”, “$$”, “$$$” and so on.

On Schema.org, the search engines have established other types of markup, such as the following business descriptions.

  • AnimalShelter
  • AutomotiveBusiness
  • ChildCare
  • DryCleaningOrLaundry
  • EmergencyService
  • EmploymentAgency
  • EntertainmentBusiness
  • FinancialService
  • FoodEstablishment
  • GovernmentOffice
  • HealthAndBeautyBusiness
  • HomeAndConstructionBusiness
  • InternetCafe
  • LegalService
  • Library
  • LodgingBusiness
  • ProfessionalService
  • RadioStation
  • RealEstateAgent
  • RecyclingCenter
  • SelfStorage
  • ShoppingCenter
  • SportsActivityLocation
  • Store
  • TelevisionStation
  • TouristInformationCenter
  • TravelAgency

According to Schema.org, between 500,000 and 1,000,000 domain names are using the local markup. This seems small; I would expect more. But it means that there’s a good opportunity to benefit from the code, as your competitors likely do not.

Reviews and Events

Other examples of data to identify with Schema.org markup are reviews and events. If you have unique testimonials or reviews on our site, adding the Schema.org review markup around the actual text of the review will show the search engines that they’re reviews, and there’s a chance that the search engines will show those reviews in the search results. Google has a helpful tutorial on how to use the review markup.

You can provide ratings and stars data, as well. The stars are typically used by ecommerce websites, but marked up reviews and testimonials about a service company are acceptable, too.

FinishLine is retailer of running shoes and apparel, via physical stores and online. FinishLine.com utilizes Schema.org markup to identify its stars ratings, which Google then includes in search results — as shown in this example of Nike Flex Run 2015 shoes.

FinishLine is retailer of running shoes and apparel, via physical stores and online. FinishLine.com utilizes Schema.org markup to identify its stars ratings, which Google then includes in search results — as shown in this example of Nike Flex Run 2015 shoes.

If you’re a local venue that hosts events, consider the event Schema.org to identify each event on your site. Google will use this in its search results.

Finally, to test if your markup has been implemented properly, use Google’s markup testing tool.

When I’m optimizing a website for increased local visibility, one of the first things I look for is the Schema.org markup. If it’s not there — especially for the local address — it’s among the first recommendations that I make.

Bill Hartzer

Bill Hartzer

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Comments ( 5 )

  1. Keith June 30, 2016 Reply

    On some (retail site) systems like Logicblock I’m unable to use Schema Markup

  2. steffy berlin July 1, 2016 Reply

    Great post! Really useful tips or information for local SEO strategy. Looking forward to use your idea for the better reach.

  3. Karin Foster July 2, 2016 Reply

    Google is well-known for its constantly improved algorithms of search which are targeted to show only relevant search results. From the birth of Google in 1996, the search engine has done a lot of work to provide its visitors with the information that they are looking for. Google to start making updates which were targeted to increase the quality of Google search results, so only relevant and quality and popular content would take the lead. “Schema” one of these updates
    Data like addresses are now encouraged to be formatted by Schema.org’s preferences for more standardized search engine indexing.
    How to do local SEO for a website? For companies with regional offices, it is important to provide the mapping information for each local office in SERP. In other words, a user, searching in New York for sportswear, is interested in seeing those pages that contain regional-oriented info about the conditions and places of sale of this product in corresponding city. Info about sales in Washington or North Carolina is out of interest.

  4. Job November 17, 2016 Reply

    Hi Bill,

    I run a directory with local businesses in the ‘bus-and-motor-coach-with-driver-rental’ industry.

    For the Company Profile Pages (think Yellow Pages style company pages) like for example
    http://www.rentautobus.com/en/coach-minibus-companies/spain/transports-mir/item367

    We are currently using the Schema.org tag ’local business’ but are wondering if
    a) http://schema.org/AutoRental
    or :
    b) https://schema.org/TaxiService

    would be better?

    The services offered are related to both categories above but different What would be a better category? Can anybody share his thoughts on that one? I would be grateful to learn from you!

  5. Jorge April 19, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for showing how to do this type of SEO Local! I always want to understand how to do it.
    I’m going to try to do a local SEO for http://www.autocaresgil.com.

    I hope to improve. Thank you very much :D