Get your small business found locally: structured data

Part one: structured data

So you’ve got a website, now you can just sit back and watch the visitors roll in right? Customers will call, business will flourish and all you needed to do was have a website built and put it live. Well, not really.

Getting the site live is the first step, what message does the site convey if nobody is there to read it? Modern search engines (read: Google) are very good at working out what’s worthwhile content and what’s not, however unless you give your site the best possible chance of at ranking you’re likely to sit below your competitors on the result pages.

Google has what’s called an “index”, basically it crawls the internet continuously, caching page content, working out what’s relevant and deciding where to list pages and in what order. A huge number of factors dictate how deeply Google crawls your page and what it decides to do with the information.

Specifically here we’re talking about local businesses. As a bare minimum Google will want to know your location, contact details, opening hours and what type of services you offer. Some of this it can work out itself, but if you want your page to appear as a local search result (the type with a little map next to it, reviews, opening hours etc) then you need to do a bit of extra work.

Structured data is a phrase coined in search engine land to describe specific metadata on your page, like the categories mentioned above. By correctly including these items in your page you’re instantly telling search engines some really key pieces of information to help it display your local listing correctly. Without these we find that the local listing is unlikely to appear which will hugely affect the chance of your customers finding the service you offer.

We can ensure this information is included in your current website with a quick site health check, get in touch for more information.

Next time, the Google places business listing, a free service that a surprising amount of people ignore.  With this you can supply descriptions of your business, pictures of your premises as well as information on physical locations.