Networking with your customers, vendors, and local business groups is a great way to grow 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.
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
<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>
<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Organization">
<span itemprop="telephone">(970) 111-1111</span>
<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>
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.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this series - Schema.org Markup for Lawyers and Legal Professionals.