At the first glance, local businesses may seem hard to promote online.
But anyone who’s been doing SEO for years like us knows that there is a multitude of tools, techniques and strategies you can use to boost traffic and get leads.
Schema markup is one of such tools.
Schema is a syntax/markup for structuring data on the Internet across websites, emails, social media, and other online channels.
Schema came to be as a collaborative effort of all major search engine companies – Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Yandex, – and it’s now the de-facto standard of structuring local business data for search and listings.
Benefits of using Schema for Local Businesses
Schema lets you structure business information so that it appears in rich results next to your site’s address on Google.
Rich results are made of additional info that searchers see beyond your site’s URL and meta description – things like reviews, opening hours, price ranges, breadcrumbs, and much more.
There are several major reasons to implement schema on all local business websites.
Rich results created with schema markup help:
- boost your perceived authority as a local business – the more data you list the more it shows you know what you’re doing and care about your customers;
- stand out in SERPs – the more real estate on Google’s results pages you occupy the better;
- boost CTR which can make a world of a difference if you’re ranking outside of the top 3 results.
There is another major benefit of using Schema for local business beyond traffic and leads: you make your online presence future-proof.
Structured data helps Google, Siri, Amazon and other machines understand the content on your pages better. The future of search and marketing is very likely to be AI- and Bot-dominated. If you have a clear way of broadcasting info about your local business as structured data – you will stay competitive in the future.
With that said, Schema setup is not a Google ranking factor per se, but an indirect technique that helps you syndicate info, keep it updated, and influence your target market. Ultimately, a properly implemented schema will lead you to more traffic and leads.
Tactics for Local Business Schema Implementation
There are several angles you can approach schema implementation from to increase your ROI.
You can use these tactics interchangeably and see what gets you the best results. When we promote our local clients we evaluate this carefully and pick the best option.
Start with the tools at hand and see what they offer
First, explore what your website builder offers.
If you are using WordPress for your local business website, set up one of the following schema plugins:
- Schema Pro provides support for 16 types of Schema markup and custom post types;
- RankMath is one of the go-to SEO pligins for WordPress and has all the basic Schema features necessary;
- AIOSEO offers full support for Local Business Schema markup and is relatively easy to set up.
- And many others.
Alternatively, you can use Google’s Structured Data markup helper tool: https://www.google.com/webmasters/markup-helper/u/0/
With our clients we focus on simple & lightweight custom solutions that are 100% revant to our clients’ goals, but if you are going the DIY way for now – use the generic plugins.
You can also use custom code adding it directly into your site’s HTML if your site builder makes that easier.
Here’s an example of a custom schema code with business hours for a local business website. This needs to go straight into the HTML code of the website:
“name”: “Your Business Name”,
“streetAddress”: “123 Main St”,
“addressLocality”: “Your City”,
“addressRegion”: “Your State”,
“addressCountry”: “Your Country”
This example code showcases how the OpeningHoursSpecification property can be used for each day of the week.
Know all the available options
Check the local business vocabulary and see if there are properties that will help you tap into your audiences – or explore new ones.
Schema’s reference materials have an extensive list of properties that can give you promotion ideas.
Things like currenciesAccepted and paymentAccepted could contribute to your marketing depending on your location and circumstances.
E.g. If a website having “cryptocurrency payments accepted” attached to it in SERPs would make a lot of sense in crypto-friendly locations, during crypto events, or whenever you want to tap into a new market or ride a trend.
See our post on other types of Schema like site search or knowledge graph for further info.
See What Local Competitors do With Schema
Spend some time analyzing SERPs and Schema tactics that your competition is using.
Please keep in mind that you are interested in your Google competitors, not just business competitors.
So any results coming up for your “dream” searches would need to be taken into account, including larger sites, magazines, directories, and aggregators. Chances are they know what they are doing with structured data and have run enough tests.
Once you analyze your competitors’ schema tactics manually browsing Google’s results pages, run their URLs through this tool:
You can then replicate the schema properties that make sense for your business goals.
Work with other platforms’ structured data
Sites like TripAdvisor, YellowPages, and Yelp all support structured data. They will parse your schema markup to extract and organize your local business data, and you can extract their data as well, turning it into your tactical advantage.
Most of these local listing platforms support the following Schema markup types:
Local business schema markup
All the usual information about your business location, including your address, phone number, and hours of operation.
Review schema markup
This type of schema markup provides information about the reviews your business gets, including the number of reviews, average rating, and individual review ratings.
Restaurant schema markup
This markup is specific to restaurants and provides additional information, including your menu, cuisine type, and price range.
Uniform data in Schema properties will help you make sure your business listings are accurate across platforms and directories.
If you are using our Local SEO software you will be able to synchronize all the structured data across channels, so that’s a great help.
Be strategic with your Schema usage
Always remember the big picture and why you are implementing structured data on your local business website, don’t just do it because everyone does.
Incorporate schema property updates into your marketing calendar and use them as a tool.
If you want to showcase discounts, or new working hours policies – Schema markup will allow that, just make sure you always keep in mind what your end goal is.
In fact, we’ve seen the most ROI from schema implementation with the local businesses that gave us a set of clear goals and objectives.
Structured data is a versatile tool, and we will get HOW right for you once you get the WHY right.
Possible Issues With Local Business Schema
One of the main issues local businesses face with schema markup is they can’t get it to display on Google properly.
If you are having issues seeing your structured data, use the following tools to test it:
Google Rich Results testing tool: https://search.google.com/test/rich-results
Schema markup validator on the main Schema website: https://validator.schema.org
You can also use Google Search Console and run an extensive Schema audit to resolve all your Schema issues.
Another common issue local businesses face is their Schema implementation is chaotic and contains outdated, incomplete, or conflicting information.
This tool will help understand the relation and connection between pages with Schema elements on them – https://www.schemaapp.com/tools/schema-paths/
Schema does not have to be complicated!
We’ve helped thousands of local businesses grow online over almost a decade of service. Our expertise is available to you via the state of the art local SEO business software we’ve developed, as well as our expert SEO services.
Local SEO is constantly evolving and at times confusing. If you need help with any of this – reach out to us and we’ll help you figure out the best way to go.