Find out how important schema markup can be for local businesses and discover different examples of various types of local business schema.
What is LocalBusiness schema for local businesses?
According to schema.org there are between 500,000 to 1,000,000 domains currently using LocalBusiness schema in the world. If you consider the fact that there are over 5.6 million small businesses in the UK alone, you can begin to understand how under-utilised this markup is.
LocalBusiness schema can be used for:
- Medical practices
- Branches of larger business such as banks and retail chains
- And plenty more local businesses
What is schema.org?
Schema.org was developed via a collaboration between the world’s top search engines. This is their attempt to devise a method of categorising and identifying information about different websites. Schema.org markup allows the search engines to serve information in a much more user-friendly method. Snippets of information pulled from websites is now commonplace across Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). The improved structure of the information makes it much easier for Google to display search results within featured snippets.
Recently, Bill Slawski confirmed in a Tweet that Version 3.5 of Schema has been released. As a result, new schemas include:
Version 3.5 of Schema has been officially published: Fun new schemas include speakable, FAQ page markup, knowsabout attributes, bedtype, endorsementrating, subjectof, Distillery, amongst others. Get yours now!
— Bill Slawski ⚓ (@bill_slawski) April 2, 2019
You can read more about the latest Version 3.5 release on the Schema Blog.
Adding Schema markup via Google Tag Manager (GTM)
You can add schema.org markup using Google Tag Manager (GTM) as explained in a previous post. As often is this case, local businesses may not have the most up-to-date websites with easy to use plugins available. You can use our guide in cases such as these. However, GTM is not the best way to implement schema.org as John Mueller explained on Twitter in 2018.
I wouldn't rely on a tool like GTM to add structured data — it can work, but it shouldn't be your primary way of integrating structured data.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) July 11, 2018
Furthermore, the Google Structured Data Testing Tool doesn’t pick up your schema.org mark up when implemented via GTM.
Organization schema example
Below, you can see the contact number for Sky UK within a featured snippet with a link to the help page.
In addition, Sky has Organization schema on their help page as displayed using the Google Structured Data Testing Tool.
LocalBusiness schema example
In this example below, Hallam has local business schema markup on the homepage as displayed by the Google Structured Data Testing Tool.
Here is the snippet of code implemented which you can test using the Google Structured Data Testing Tool by copying and pasting the code:
“@context” : “http://schema.org”,
“name” : “Hallam”,
“legalName”: “Hallam Internet Ltd”,
“logo” : “https://www.hallam.co.uk//wp-content//uploads//2016//05//fallback.png”,
“streetAddress”: “The Clock Tower”,
“addressLocality”: “Talbot Street”,
“postalCode”: “NG1 5HG”
“telephone”: “0115 948 0123”,
“description”: “Hallam is a multi-award winning digital marketing agency with offices in Nottingham & London, powered by a team of experts delivering innovative digital campaigns.”
Benefits of using schema markup for a local business
There are various benefits of using schema.org markup for local business. The primary benefit is improved visibility within SERPs which includes:
- Adding reviews to help users decide which products to purchase
- Promoting events to allow easier discovery
- Adding more information about products
1. Adding reviews to your website
Structured data review markup can be added for the following content types:
- Local businesses
As a local cinema for example, it would be helpful to have film reviews marked up for each listing. You can find examples of different content types from Google.
How to add review schema to your website
Adding reviews to your own website is fairly simple. If you’re using WordPress, we’d advise that you use a premium plugin such as Schema Pro. If you don’t use WordPress and feel you need to hand code your reviews due to platform limitations, there are a few sites that can help you.
We have found the following sites quite helpful when hand-coding reviews for some of our clients:
- Microformats.org hReview Creator
- SEO Chat’s Review Rich Snippets Schema Generator
- Web Code Tools’ Microdata Review Generator
Adding aggregated reviews
Inputting review text and numerical ratings into any of the tools above will result in the generation of a snippet of code for you to place on your web page. We will now run through an example of how to use schema to add an aggregated set of reviews to your website.
- Firstly, you will need to calculate an average rating for your current reviews.
- For example, if you had 120 reviews of various values, you will need to divide the sum of all 120 of your reviews by the number of reviews you have (120).
- This should give your product/service an average rating, which can be marked up using Microdata like the example in the image below:
(Example from: http://schema.org/AggregateRating)
We’ve highlighted the important sections from the above example so that you’re aware of the areas that will need to be edited once you’ve worked out the aggregate rating of your product/service.
- You’ll need to edit the type of business (restaurant) to relate to your own. You can find a full list of the types of businesses available at schema.org.
- You’ll then need to enter your business name (great food), aggregate rating (4), and the number of reviews the aggregate rating is based on (250).
- Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to insert this snippet of code onto the appropriate product or service page that the reviews correspond to, and ensure that you test the code is working by using Google structured data testing tool.
2. Promote events
The benefits are clear within SERPs as you are able to direct users to the most relevant listing. This allows for less friction for users who are keen to find an event quickly and book straight away.
Again, looking at Google Structured Data Testing Tool, we can see how they have been marked up.
list.co.uk uses both Organization and Event schema on their listing page. Here is a screenshot of how the content was structured using Event schema markup on one of their event listings.
3. Product information
Using product schema markup, a small business can show users more information about their products directly in the SERPs such as:
- Review ratings
In this example below, you can see the SERP for “buy google home” which shows rich snippet information as per the above.
The Argos listing links to the product page which has Product schema as well as BreadcrumbList and Question schema as displayed in the Google Structured Data Testing Tool.
Google Image Search
It’s important to note that SERPs also include product images which are displayed in Google Image Search results.
Furthermore, there is a growing trend for users to search for products via image search. For example, Instagram, Pinterest and Amazon are platforms which are largely image based and are now proven successful advertising channels.
Google looks to be following that trend and have recently started showing shop-able ads within Google Image Search. This is an attempt for businesses to reach customers during the inspiration phase of their buyer journey. It will be interesting to see how Google further develops this area in the future.
Schema markup isn’t a quick fix for poor site architecture and basic on-page SEO. Structured data will however enhance your chance of gaining featured and rich snippet opportunities. Structured data markup will help your organic listings in the search results to stand out.
This is important as more and more sites compete for visibility and clicks. In particular, the e-commerce industry is highly competitive. Displaying price and availability information with the SERPs could be the difference between a click to your site over a competitor’s.
In our experience, too many companies worry excessively about their position within the first 5 search results for their target keywords. However, we’d argue that a listing in position 3 that’s correctly marked up with positive customer reviews will attract more attention than a listing without review mark up in position 1. Therefore, we’d encourage you to utilise schema mark up wherever possible to make your site stand out from competitors.