As part of your local SEO strategy you should already be tinkering with Google My Business. By claiming your business and optimising your profile, you are effectively able to pump keyword rich content straight in to Google's knowledge graph.
It's a great start. Get your GMB profile nicely filled out with keywords and you're ready to geo-target local users searching for YOUR produts and services! In fact the GMB description is possibly the only place left where Google are involved that keyword stuffing is allowed. Do NOT confuse the business description with the business name! Abusing your GMB business name with keywords really can get you in a corner.
So get busy, nail that profile and you're on your way.
Then the next part of getting ranked locally is with a little structured data.
You've not heard of structured data?
Again, I can tell you what it is, but in not wanting to try and out-do the people who know more than me, it's probably easier to send you their way first and I've found the Moz guide to schema structured data is bang on for this purpose. However, if you'd rather stick with me on this, in a nutshell Schema.org otherwise known as Schema, is a semantic vocabulary of microdata that when applied as tags to your website HTML can help the way that search engines are interpreting your website content. As a result of providing this extra help, you can actually (and positively) influence your placement in SERPs.
So you're wondering how to see this so called schema? Well it's often right in front of you. One common implementation of schema is with reviews. Some of the book sellers, for example, like to implement the "aggregate rating" for the books in their catalogue. This means when you search for that book title, you'll see the aggregated review rating below the SERP entry.
So this time it's Local Business schema, to help target local results, Google Map pack and a general increase in search visibility. This tactic applies to ANY small business no matter what you're selling. Chances are, unless you live in the Sahara and sell central heating, you'll have at some point a user searching on Google for something you can offer. Not only do you want to be ready to serve your content, but you want to serve this content over the competition....and there's every possibility that your opponents haven't yet worked out what schema is.
Schema is therefore one of many tactics that can help you get ahead of the rest, targeting organic visitors WITH a commercial intent.
To be more specific, there are actually two SERP areas you can influence with local results - one is the knowledge panel. The other is the local map pack.
Naturally, you want both.
As said earlier, you're half way there with GMB but to really nail things home you can use the Local Business schema to specify precisely what, where and when you operate along with details like your telephone number, your business logo, and your social profile pages. It's a really simple way of ensuring that Google presents back the information that YOU want people to see, and not simply letting Google determine what they think people might like to see.
You're also letting Google know that you're open for business, and that they're in safe hands presenting your business to users. This is where Google reviews can also come in handy; they're a really solid signal of trust from the community to show Google and other users that your business is reputable and trustworthy, so don't stop with GMB. Make sure you're asking for those reviews from your trusted customers and your trust rating will grow.
Worth noting, there are many different property tags you can select for Local Business Schema. It's your job to select the one's that best apply.
Here's an example of the knowledge panel for my own business :
Then here is a local map result for "digital agency". As you can see the likelihood of getting a call if somebody is in the market for digital services within my locality is pretty high.
Notice the Google Reviews?
If you don't have any, best you start asking!
In any case, imagine featuring on the map results for your target queries?
Alas, I'm working at home during Covid and the search volume for relevant queries for digital marketing in my locality is pretty low, but I do get the odd local enquiry. It's therefore worth it for the exposire. If I were based more centrally then the power and influence of local results can be far more useful. In either case, if you operate a shop store front and have local presence, or if the volume of searches for your specific service is much higher, perhaps if you're a plumber or electrician, then it's essential you feature here to be in with a chance of getting a call.
Convinced of the benefits of Local Business Schema, now?
Let's do it.
There are a couple of easy ways to do this, one of them being via Merkle's nifty Schema Markup Generator. It pulls in the most likely things you'll need. You can of course customise the output to include any other property tags that you think you might need. As you fill out the spaces you'll see on the right handside how the markup is populated. Then once you're ready with your script, hit the blue "copy" button and you're ready to rock.
Once you've got your script ready, there are a couple of ways to get schema running on your site.
Certainly the best way is to embed the markup directly within your HTML. This is pretty easy to do with Webflow via the custom code box in your page settings. Simply copy and paste the schema into this box, click save, and then test.
In my other post, I show you how to use Google Tag Manager to implement FAQPage schema.
You can of course use GTM to trigger Local Business Schema, but the direct embed method is preferred. Worth noting, if you go via the GTM route you should only trigger for a single page as opposed to the whole site. It's unlikely to get you in to trouble if you do use GTM to trigger on "all pages" but you're not only slowing down your site unecessarily with the extra work of the browser triggering your tag, but you're potentially indicating to Google that your site is a little sloppy and cluttered. In my experience it's best to keep things as clean as possible. Google will be able to crawl most if not all of your site, and it will view the markup wherever it is....and the single instance will be enough for them to process. for your domain and business as a whole.
So you might want to place that schema on your home page, your contact page or anywhere else fairly high up the hierarchy that you know will be crawled. Don't place in on a page with a no-index tag or it obviously won't be crawled!
In my case I've slapped the code straight in to the Home page, and then hit save / publish.
As you'd imagine, Google are there on hand to help us get things right. You may have seen Google's structured data testing tool, which worked fine but it's going through a process of depracation and is being replaced by The Rich Results Checker which works just as well. Take your pick.
EIther way, what you're after is a big green flag, like this one here.
If the page doesn't validate you must go back and check your markup. The issue with markup errors is that Google will see them and flag them as a negative signal. It may never generate a penalty, but the red marks accrue and can negatively impact upon your ability to rank. The larger your site and the higher the volume of schema errors, and you'll be well on your way to getting yourself a manual action penalty.
My best advice is therefore to stick to the rule book and just make sure you get it validating.
You saw that orange warning flag?
Fear not, orange warnings are simply indicating that a tag is "optional" and that it's been omitted. In this case it's "price range".....which for my line of business can vary wildly depending on the size and duration of the project. So I've rightly excluded it.
However you might want to specify a price range, perhaps if you owned a car wash or a haior salon and our prices are less flexible.
Nothing more to do other than getting on to Google Search Console and crawling your new page, and then just a matter of time before your schema gets actioned.
As you can see, Local Business Schema is an essential part of the local SEO puzzle. You quite simply need to action it, so go one...fill out those boxes, create your script, apply the code change to your site, and validate. It's really that simple.
Best of luck in that local pack!
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