5 Crucial Semantic Markups For Local Search
In the ancient days of the internet, things like meta keyword tags and other markup had an influence on rankings. The rise of links and citations did away with that, and today the idea of semantic markup sounds almost old fashioned. But the truth is, it’s making a comeback.
Markup doesn’t typically influence your rankings in the 7-pack or the search results, but it can boost your click through rate by 15 percent or more. A higher click through rate means more exposure and, in all likelihood, better rankings down the road. So here’s how to take advantage of semantic markup for local search.
1. Schema and Geotag
Schema.org allows you to tell Google, Bing, and others various things about your local business. You can use it to tell them your address, contact information, payment types accepted, hours of operation, and geocoordinates.
Go to http://schema.org/LocalBusiness to see a list of properties and several examples of implementation. In many cases, the search engines will display this information prominently in the search results, making your listing stand out.
If you sell products, take advantage of the schema.org Product markup, which will get your price, ratings, and availability into the search results.
Authorship is huge because it gets a photo of your face next to your result in the search listings. This makes your result immediately stand out, since the majority of searches still have very few such results. This is likely even more important in the 7-pack, where such markup is especially rare, and it’s even more important to consumers to see the human face behind the business.
Authorship requires you to:
- Have a Google+ profile with an appealing photo
- 2. Link to your Google+ profile like so: <a href=”[profile_url]?rel=author”>Google</a>
- Link back to your site under the “Contributor to” section of your Google+ profile
It’s likely a good idea to test your Google+ profile photos the way you would test an ad.
If you aren’t sure what breadcrumbs are, this should ring a bell:
Home page > Section page > Subsection page
Breadcrumbs remind you where you are on the site, and offer links back to the higher tier pages. When Google correctly identifies breadcrumbs, it displays them in the search results. This means users have more links to click on when they see your search result, increasing the odds of getting a click.
Google can’t always identify breadcrumbs on its own, but you can help it along with markup. Learn how here: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=185417
4. Review Markup
You can highlight testimonials with review markup. When you do so, Google will sometimes draw special attention to this and post it in the search results, transforming your search result into a call to action. You can learn how to do this here: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=146645
5. Open Graph Protocol
Facebook uses a different metadata system that the search engines, but you can use it in conjunction with schema and the others without any conflict. This allows your business location to show up in Facebook search results, accrue “likes,” and “checkins.” Learn more here: http://opengraphprotocol.org
Semantic markup is a bit more technical than exercises like link and citation building, attracting reviews, and so on, but it makes a big difference by calling special attention to your business and search listings. It’s well worth the time invested to see a boost in your click through rate from a sleek, professional search result.
This is a contribution from Kyle Sanders at Austin-based Complete SEO, a digital marketing agency serving SMBs in central TX and beyond.