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Better Local Search SEO with Rich Snippets Structured Data

Rich snippets are doing very well at converting searches to clicks. It’s a great way to get your listing to stand out from the crowd. If you are not familiar with rich snippets, just do a Google search and you will probably see a few. Sites using structured data and verified authorship display unique additional bits of data in their results.

Here is an example of a search result with verified authorship:

The verification adds the authors Google+ profile image, as well as a byline and additional links.

For local businesses there are some more great features you can enter to ensure Google understands the details of your business. publishes micro data formats that describe multiple items such as reviews, music, events and local business data. I am going to focus on the Local Business data since that is primarily who this article is for.  You can see the entire schema here.  But there are a few critical items that will help most local businesses, they are as follows:

Name, Address, Location, Description, Geo, Logo, Photo, Map, URL, and MakesOffer.

You probably know what most of those mean already, Geo is for the longitude and latitude coordinates, Map is just a link to a map. MakesOffer is simply a description of services or products offered by the business, so valid values for MakesOffer would be “Pizza” or “Accounting”. Address is a sub-schema that breaks out city, state, zip, etc. and Location is a more of a summary address, or it can be a neighborhood or area that is not included in the physical address (for example, “Financial District” or “SoHo”, or just “City, State”).

Since structured data has been introduced it has primarily been utilized by developers since the code is a bit arcane if you are not familiar with markup language like HTML or hand coding. If you are familiar with coding it is fairly straight forward to implement by simply adding in some specific attributes into your HTML code. You can then test the code with the Google testing tool to make sure you have it all formatted properly.

Good news though, even if you don’t know an HREF from a BOCKQUOTE you can still utilize structured data in your website and get all the benfits of rich snippets in your search results, just follow the instructions below!

Three Easy Steps.

1) Make sure you have created a Google+ profile, and that you have uploaded profile image, this should just be a headshot of your smiling face in most cases.

2) Add your local business website URL to your contributors list in your Google+ profile. You can also do this by verifying your email, if it uses the same domain name as your website, but I think it’s easier to just add it to the contributes to section.

3) Now that you have linked your profile with your website, you need to add some code into your site. You could just add the link to your Google+ profile, but since you are adding data, we might as well add as much as we can and include several items listed in the LocalBusiness Schema. The easiest way to do this is to use the WDD Rich Snippet Structured Data Generator.

This tool allows you to just enter the information into a form, and it creates the structured data for you which you can then copy and paste into your website. If you are using WordPress or another Blog platform, just add a Text/HTML widget and paste the code into that.

Using the Rich Snippet generator, enter the form data in, then click the test button and it will show you a preview of how your search results will appear using the new data. But remember, this is just a preview,  and you have to add the code into your website for it to work.

Data shows that listings using rich-snippets increase click-through rates by as much as 30% so if you have not added structured data to your site yet, now is the time to do it!

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