Using fancy terms like Natural Language Processing, search engines can mostly figure out what your website is and what it’s talking about. However, that last bit of information (about 20% or so) comes from a website’s schema code and helps fill in the gaps between the searcher and the business.
Basically, schema markup itself is rewarding code that gets incorporated into a web page to detail explicitly what the page is saying. When used correctly, Google will add additional information about your business into the search results that appear, such as its name, address, and phone number–all of which are likely to increase the site’s click rate and their credibility. Schema markup can be an incredible tool, especially for local search, that only a third of businesses are taking advantage of.
Why Does it Matter?
Schema.org was created through a collaboration of Google, Yahoo, and Bing fairly recently in order to establish a web standard of microdata “to annotate content with specific machine-readable labels.” Despite being competitors, these companies came together in order to make the web a “smarter” place and to make search more accurate and easier for individuals and businesses alike. “Rich results” like snippets and knowledge graph cards are a visual representation of this additional information that can play a large role in building click-through rates and establishing the brand trustworthiness.
Rich Snippets & More
A year ago, Google announced the knowledge graph card for local businesses as a new type of these “rich snippets.” This knowledge graph card looks similar to the Google My Business search result but has the additional option to include a “Reserve” or “Order” option — perfect for businesses like restaurants or hair salons that allow their customers to make reservations. This knowledge graph card contains Schema markup on a website, and the results show up for categories (e.g. restaurants), location-based queries (e.g. nearby diners) or names of businesses.
While Google graph cards are still relatively new, they show us evidence that search engines are getting smarter and better at displaying local business information in search results. Going as far as to provide calls to action (CTA) links such as the ability to “buy” or “book an appointment,” helps bring businesses and their customers closer together, and should show an increase in traffic due to search for those businesses. Here is what schema coding should look like for a local business (like an SEO Company in Los Angeles)
Reviews & Events
Other examples of important data that local businesses should identify through their Schema.org markup are reviews and events. If you have unique and compelling customer testimonials, you can add the Schema.org review markup around its text to show search engines specifically that they’re reviews. This means that there’s a chance that search engines will show those reviews in the search results along with any rich snippets, showing potential customers other positive experiences right away. Google even has a helpful tutorial on how to use the review markup. Here is what that looks like:
Schema markup can also prove very useful to local businesses is in its ability to help promote events. Not only can it directly show events within the search results page for your business, but it can also recognize other events and respond to location-based queries like “events near me.” Event information contains data like the venue, performers, ticket sellers, prices, dates and times. For businesses that host many events, this is a great way to highlight the location and specifics of each event quickly and accurately.
While implementing a Schema.org markup is something any website can do to help improve their SEO efforts, local businesses that use this code appropriately have a massive advantage over local competing businesses do not. If you are looking to leverage schema for your optimization efforts feel free to schedule an analysis today!