We’ve heard a lot over the last couple of years about how important it is to add structured data markup to our websites and that it’s most definitely here to stay.
This is why we’ve decided to launch our first service in this area.
Our local business markup page goes into detail about what it is and why it’s important, so I don’t want to repeat myself here – but I will touch on it briefly, so please stay with me for now.
What I specifically want to address is the common misconception that if you have an optimised Google My Business (GMB) listing, you don’t need to have LocalBusiness markup on your site as well.
I’m going to present two reasons why you should consider having the markup on your site – in addition to your GMB listing.
Structured data is another name for the language that Google and the other search engines developed back in 2011 – which is known as Schema.org. Since it was released Google, Bing and the others have encouraged website owners to add markup to their websites to help them understand more about the business than they can from simply crawling pages. LocalBusiness markup is just one type of structured data we can add.
We don’t need to get too bogged down in how it works here, suffice to say that we’re following best practices, which is to add structured data in JSON-LD format.
So back to why you need to add it, even if you’ve got a GMB listing.
1. Google is not the only search engine
The information you add to your GMB listing is added to Google’s Knowledge Graph and may be displayed on a Knowledge Panel should people be searching for your business by brand name or possibly by your business category, as below.
Bing and the other search engines don’t have access to this data, so they only know what they can ascertain from your web pages. However as mentioned earlier, it wasn’t just Google that developed Schema.org, so they can all read it.
If you’re only interested in optimising for Google then having GMB listing might suffice. If you want to help the other search engines know more about your business, you need to add structured data.
2. You can add more info than through GMB alone
The second reason to add LocalBusiness markup is because you can provide more information about your business through structured data than you can via a Google My Business listing. If you own a restaurant, you really need to do this. The French food chain Côte have done to great effect.
I have two examples.
Place Actions for local businesses were added back in 2015 – the examples Google provide in their documentation are Order food, Book a class and Reserve a table. If you think your business would benefit from displaying any of these, then you should consider adding them to your LocalBusiness markup.
In addition you have the option to add links to your social media accounts in the markup. And there are more options too which we’ll run through with you as part of the consultation.
I should add a caveat there are no guarantees that adding structured data to your website will result in the search engines displaying the information you’ve provided about your business in their rich results. But an investment in adding markup, and keeping it up to date – the latter in included in all our website maintenance packages – I’d argue is a small price to pay for providing the search engines with the information they’re looking for.
The easiest way to find out if you have LocalBusiness markup on your website, is to use the Structured Data Testing Tool. The second easiest way is to ask us.
If you want to know more about our LocalBusiness markup service then please do get in touch.
Main image by StockSnap