Hand Google Your Virtual Business Card: Schema Markup for Local Businesses

Networking with your customers, vendors, and local business groups is a great way to grow Schema virtual business card your business. At networking events, you hand out business cards and tell everyone what you do for a living, where you do it, and how they can find you if they need your services. At it’s simplest definition, using Schema.org markup for local business is like handing Google a business card with your standard information listed front and center.

This article is the first in a series about Schema and rich snippets and how they can be used to help your local business.

What is Schema?

Schema.org is a semantic vocabulary written and standardized by a collaborative team from Google, Bing and Yahoo. They came together and said, “If you put this piece of code around your phone number, for example, all three of our search engines will unequivocally recognize it as a phone number.”

Yahoo and Bing have since combined forces, and Yahoo now displays search results from Bing, but the acceptance of this web language is ongoing and it likely to become more helpful in the future. The community that wrote and maintains the Schema.org vocabulary continues to expand its reach and understanding and more types of information can be presented to the search engines via this type of structured mark-up all the time.

How Do I Implement My Virtual Business Card?

If you can put your local address and phone number on a page of your website, chances are you can also include the Schema.org markup with that data. The fictitious floral shop noted below shows the name, address and phone (NAP) before markup and after, so you can see the difference. You’re basically adding labels to the information via code.

If you use an easy-to-edit website management system like WordPress, you can add your Schema-encoded NAP to your footer or sidebar widget. We recommend displaying this marked-up information on all pages of your website.

Without Schema:
Firefly Floral Creations
At Firefly Floral Creations, our goal is to provide the best arrangements and blossoms to make your special day, be it a wedding or anniversary party!
159 Serenity Lane
Wash, CO 12345 USA

With Schema:
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/LocalBusiness”>
<a itemprop=”url” href=”http://www.firefly-floral.com”><div itemprop=”name”><strong>Firefly Floral Creations</strong></div>
</a>
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Organization”>
<span itemprop=”telephone”>(970) 111-1111</span>
</div>
<div itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<span itemprop=”streetAddress”>159 Serenity Lane</span><br>
<span itemprop=”addressLocality”>Washburn, </span>
<span itemprop=”addressRegion”>CO </span>
<span itemprop=”postalCode”>12345</span><br>
<span itemprop=”addressCountry”>USA</span><br>
</div>
</div>

The schema code for a local business is pretty standard, so you can simply use the example above by substituting your business’ information in the appropriate spots. There are also variations by industry and type of business that can be helpful. You can research your own niche at Schema.org, or use a code building tool like Schema-Creator.org.

Testing Your Schema Mark Up

Google provides us with a free tool to use for testing our schema markup. After implementing your schema virtual business card on your pages, use this Structured Data Testing Tool to make sure Google and Bing can properly understand what you are telling them.

Testing schema code

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series – Schema.org Markup for Lawyers and Legal Professionals.

20 Responses to “Hand Google Your Virtual Business Card: Schema Markup for Local Businesses”

  1. Carrie, Thanks for your mail. I have read few article that if are using the schema in website then it also help in local keywords ranking, Google hummingbird also help extra advantage if we used the schema.

  2. Seems like nothing tells Google more about your business then your own website. Especially after you claim your Google+ account. I’ve heard many people get there own address wrong so checking it with USPS can be a good idea before building listings with wrong information.

    Jason Weaver
    • I would never say that Schema helps with ranking – but in a world where what Google knows about your website matters – making sure they have a VERY CLEAR idea about the subject of your site, where you are, how to call or find your business, and your operating area can only do good things for you.

      Carrie Hill
  3. Oddly enough the Schema doesn’t appear to have a category for web developers, which is a slipshod way to treat your core users

  4. Hello LocalU Peeps!

    Does it matter to the machines whether the schema.org microdata is coded into the footer or the body of your content? Other than the fact that the footer would put it on every page, is the structured data processed differently by Google when it is in the of your content?

    thanks,

    • @Leeza
      It should not matter where the information is located. It is processed the same regardless as far as anybody knows.

    • What Mike Said!

      I would put it on every page of my site – so the footer is a good spot unless you want people to see your address and find you – then making the location/address prominent above the fold is a good idea!

      Carrie Hill
    • Part 2–my comment above got sanitized of a word enclosed by tags.

      It should read….Other than the fact that the footer would put it (the markup) on every page, is the structured data processed differently by Google when it is in the Body of your content, (and not the footer).

  5. @Mike A few months ago in an office hour hangout, I asked John Mueller if it was ok to put markup in the footer, and he said something like….yea, that’s ok, but right now we are focused on microdata in the body. So, his answer left me wondering.

    I can’t remember which hangout , but perhaps I just ask the Q again next time I go.

    thanks!

    • @Leeza
      Mark up comes in all forms so for sure things like review, author and publisher need to be in the body. I was thinking you were referring to location markup only which I don’t think matters.
      But as far as the others I would suggest that they probably do some more than others. IE reviews must be in page. Publisher maybe not so much so.

      • I was thinking location markup as well – I agree with you, Mike – reviews should be “in page.”

        With regards to publisher/author, I don’t think it matters much so long as the “hookup” is there.

        Carrie Hill
  6. When using this schema markup, do you think it would be effective to just markup the country, rather than the full address, if your business isn’t just servicing a particular area?

    My point is that I don’t want to limit or influence the search results to just my local area as we supply Australia wide.

    Thanks for the valuable info.

    • Schema syntax for a place is about local (see http://schema.org/LocalBusiness) so using schema local for anything other than this is at cross purposes with the intent. There is a schema that is not place dependent (http://schema.org/Organization) that you might think about.

      Implicit in your question is whether you will rank better across a different geography…. you need to understand that Schema is not a ranking factor but a clarity factor for the search engines. It is semantic markup that better helps them understand what you are and how you should be classified.

  7. Hi Carrie,

    Your Article is really helpful for me. Appreciate on your work. But I had one issue with my wordpress CMS.

    you defined without schema address as this (given below):

    Firefly Floral Creations
    At Firefly Floral Creations,
    159 Serenity Lane
    Wash, CO 12345 USA

    But, Where my client site address is in other alignment Check as shown below:

    Firefly Floral Creations, At Firefly Floral Creations, 159 Serenity Lane Wash, CO 12345 USA.

    Address in a single line when I add more div’s in between the address line I was getting Breaks in that address line.

    also tried with span tag for adding itemtype it shows good in snippet testing tool but doesn’t works when i moved it to live site.

    Can you please help me on this

  8. Hi Mike,

    In continuation to Graham’s Question and your reply.

    During such circumstances (1 Nation wide organization with multiple retail outlets) and when the idea is to allow search engines to know more about our business. Can we

    1.Mark the Headquarters address with the Organization Schema
    2.Mark the retail outlet addresses with the Local Business schema.

    Very eager to hear your reply.

  9. Hi s.k. Well, there are a couple of different ways in which you can handle that, depending upon how the information on the page is structured. If you want to specify that the local business is a retail outlet of a large organization, you can use the “branchOf” property, like this:

    Name of Local Retail Outlet

    Name of Organization

    Or if you want to specify that the organization has a local retail outlet, you can use the “subOrganization” property, like this:

    Name of Organization

    Name of Local Retail Outlet

    And of course, you’ll want to select the most appropriate schema type to use for the local business, whether it’s Store, DepartmentStore, LocalBusiness, etc.

    I hope that helps answer your question.

    David

  10. Looks like my code got stripped out in my comment, so let me try that again…

    Example using the “branchOf” property:

    [div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness"]
    [span itemprop="name"]Name of Local Retail Outlet[/span]

    [div itemprop="branchOf" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Organization"]
    [span itemprop="name"]Name of Organization[/span]
    [other Organization information here...]
    [/div]

    [other local retail outlet information here...]

    [/div]

    Example using the “subOrganization” property:

    [div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Organization"]
    [span itemprop="name"]Name of Organization[/span]

    [div itemprop="subOrganization" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness"]
    [span itemprop="name"]Name of Local Retail Outlet[/span]
    [other local retail outlet information here...]
    [/div]

    [other Organization information here...]

    [/div]

  11. Thanks David. It was a very insightful reply

  12. What if I use schema for online business such as logo maker or the other graphical products ? what mark up i could use for the portfolio?

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