Do you have enough local schema for your local pages? You probably could benefit from using more.

What you will learn in this post:

  • How structured data impacts search results
  • The importance of structured data for local
  • Three different structured variations that local marketers should use

When conducting a Google search, we do not tend to think about all the data being crunched behind the curtain to deliver us the best results. However, without this information, the seemingly magic algorithm we have now taken for granted could not exist.

Of course, many factors contribute to a search engine’s formula, such as keyword relevance, quality of content, web page usability and user context (location, search settings, history, etc.). If you want your website and landing pages to rank highly in local searches, you must prioritize each of these components. But there is even more you can do to boost your local rankings, namely by implementing structured data to your web content.

Structured Data and Schema

Structured data is a method of formatting web pages to help search engines better comprehend your website, provide rich results (images and other non-textual data), and communicate to Google about the authority of your website. In other words, these data snippets are like labels that organize wide swaths of information, making it easier for Google to identify the purpose and content of a given web page. There are several different kinds of structured data (RDFa, Microformatting, JSON-LD) but Google recommends that web developers utilize JSON-LD.

Often the term “schema” is used interchangeably with structured data. Schema derives from the collaborative online project, which aims to standardize definitions, tags and markups across search engines and platforms. While most schema vocabulary is compatible with Google Search, Google has its own lexicon as well.

A strong local SEO strategy partly relies on the proper implementation of structured data. For instance, by incorporating Local Business structured data in your content, Google can present users with a rich Knowledge Graph card featuring your name, address, phone number, description, hours, ratings and more when they search directly for your brand name. Structured data can also help obtain your website obtain the coveted zero position in Google SERP results.  Given the explosion of voice search queries having pertinent structured data is only even more important.

This only scratches the surface of how you can utilize structured data to your benefit, though. Here we will explore three advanced local schema strategies for your business.

Additional Type

As mentioned above, your local landing pages should at the bare minimum have schematic markup for your name, address and phone number. But if you want your brand to appear on more search results pages, the additionalType schema can help you extend your reach.

The additionalType schema can be used to indicate which major topic or topics your local landing page is related to. For this, you need to include a URL to a Wikipedia entry. So, for example, if your local landing page is about a car dealership you should include an “additionalType”: [““]. This tells Google’s algorithm that your website is topically relevant to cars. Using additionalType helps search engines better comprehend the topical relevancy and relationships of your web pages.

Sitelinks Search Box

After searching for your brand directly, users might want to add terms and do a more detailed search related to your offerings. They might click on your website and navigate from there or go back to the drawing board and run another Google search. In other cases, though, users might continue to scroll to find the results they are looking for. The sitelinks search box allows the user to power their own search engine right from the results. Here is an example of how this appears for Pinterest:

This requires special structured data markup known as the SearchAction schema. It is recommended to put this on the homepage of your locator.

alternateName Schema

When a business changes its name or spelling, it can lead to plenty of confusion, not only for potential customers but for Google’s search formula, too. Additionally, users can sometimes conflate your brand name with another (classic examples are Xerox and Kleenex). It is also common for your official business name to be different than the popular brand name users look up. Whatever the case may be, you do not want these mix-ups to deter your online brand visibility. Fortunately, the proper schema can direct searchers back to your business. The alternateName schema markup helps Google understand that your landing page is topically related to other names.

Below is an example of alternateName schema:

There is virtually no downside to applying local structured data to your website and pages, as long as it is relevant and compliant with Google’s guidelines. Google’s AI will appreciate how schema can help it better understand your website and users will have an easier time finding exactly what they are looking for. Best of all, structured data helps you broaden your reach and increase your local online visibility and authority.

Is your business doing enough with its schema? Rio provides structured data strategies and local schema recommendations you might have not heard of before. For valuable insights into your local business marketing performance and presence, request a free local audit from Rio SEO today.