In the past few years, there’s been a lot of talk about what local schema is, and how it can help your local business get more online traffic.
Beyond all that, with the advent of wearable tech and voice search, it looks like the future might see smart devices taking data from the local schema of websites to provide more information to users.
As it stands, in today’s world, local schema is already helping businesses – primarily in the events and hotels category – deliver more data to search engine users.
You might have heard about all this already, and if you’re reading this article, you’re either interested in learning more about local schema or adding local schema to websites. We’re going to do all that we can to make sure that your purpose is fulfilled by talking about how to implement schema to optimize your local SEO.
But before that:
What is schema, and local business schema specifically?
Schema.org is a joint initiative by four major search engines – Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex – to provide better user experience on search engines and give users the data they need directly on search engines. Schema is categorized based on the type of data that it provides, like Action, Event, Organization, Person, Place, etc.
The “LocalBusiness” schema, which falls under the category of ‘Organization’, is built specifically for helping local businesses provide information on their websites that will appear on search engines for potential local customers. This is further divided into different types of businesses (based on the industry they belong to), and mostly provides data such as payment methods accepted, address, business hours, etc.
Apart from this, local business owners can benefit from adding review, rating and event schema to their website – which is information about the business that users may be looking for. It is to note that Google discourages users from tagging third party reviews as schema.
We’ll talk about how you can add schema to the website of the local business that you’re managing in a few simple steps.
Adding schema to websites requires you to work on the frontend code of the website that you’re handling, but worry not, it’s very simple, especially through WordPress schema plugins.
There are other ways to do this too, like using Google Tag Manager for instance, but we’ll be talking about the standard “use a tool to tag schema and add it to your website” way in this article.
At this point, we’d like to introduce you to Google’s Structured Markup Data Helper – a free tool from Google that’s going make your task of adding schema to your website a LOT easier. Here we go!
Open Google’s Structured Markup Data Helper. Click on the radio button next to “Local Businesses” and add your business’ website URL to start tagging schema. Click on the “Start tagging” button to get started.
You will now be able to see your website accompanied by a sidebar titled ‘My Data Items’.
You can now start tagging elements from your website as schema markup data. This process is very simple. All you need to do is click (and drag if necessary) on the image/text that you want to and attribute it to the right field in the list that pops up.
For example, ‘Truffles’ is the name of this restaurant, and it should rightly be attributed to the ‘Name’ field. All you need to do is click on the word “Truffles” and click on ‘Name’ in the pop-up box after that.
For some fields such as Address and Opening hours, there are multiple fields under them that you need to attribute correct information to. This is how it looks for the Address field.
And this is how it looks for the opening/closing hours field.
Make sure that you tag this data accurately.
Once you’re done with tagging the data, your My Data Items sidebar should look something like this.
Fill in all the data that you need to in this window. Make sure that you add an image and the price range, as they are two very important fields users and search engines look for.
Click on the red “Create HTML” button on the top-right corner of the window once you’re done.
This should take you to the screen which actually gives you the code snippet for the schema that you will need to add on your website. Make sure that the output format is on ‘JSON-LD’ and click on the Download button. The code snippet will get downloaded as “markup.html” in your Downloads folder.
Open the markup.html file in a text editor and copy it. We’ll be using another tool in the next step to test the structured data.
Go to Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool and copy the code snippet. You might have to switch to the ‘CODE SNIPPET’ tab from the ‘FETCH URL’ tab to do this.
Copy the code snippet and click on ‘RUN TEST’. The test results will show you whether your code has any errors/warnings. Tend to them and make sure that you don’t have any.
After you’re done debugging the errors, you’re good to go. You can quickly see a preview of your structured data if you want to.
All that remains is copying this to your website! Copy this code snippet to the HTML file of your website’s header, and you’re good to go!
For best results, make sure that you work on getting more local backlinks for your website to improve your DA and increase your likeness of showing up on local searches. SEO tools like Ahrefs can help you do this with ease. Apart from this, we recommend that you get your business listed online on all major websites/directories/social media sites to get more people to find you.
An automated listings platform like Synup will help you do this, if you feel like it’s going to be a difficult and time-consuming task for you to manually get listed online.
Harsha Annadurai works as an Inbound Marketer at Synup.
His excessive love for music and football has led many to believe that he was a jukebox in a football stadium in his past life. You can follow him on Twitter @harshaannadurai.