Speaking to Robots – 5 Local SEO Schema To Use

Quite simply, schema is what makes your search results useful for Google and, sometimes, for users too. It’s a way of telling search engines more information for it to use. This is best seen when schema displays in search results:

yelp screenie

However, not all schema creates rich snippets or links like this. Most of them are simply little messages to crawler bots as to the exact content of the page. For now, although it has only a few advantages, it will play an increasingly bigger role in the future. So start talking to the robots now (before they become our overlords).

There are a lot of options for schema available, but here are a few which might be particularly of interest to local business owners. Here’s a list of 5 particularly useful schema to use, starting with the basics.

be found local business

Google has been slowly taking over search results by adding their own collated information and rich snippets instead of simply spitting out results. Letting a search engine know your exact business allows for rich snippets to be created based on search queries. Local Business and Niche schema help with, well, local searches. It gives crawler bots all that information without having to bombard users with it.

Not only will it help you rank for local keywords (without having to specifically have those keywords for your page) but it also plays a role in generating maps-based rich snippets and other compiled information; often listing sites actually use it so that they look more professional on Google results – so you should look into getting listed on them too. Schema helps Google have all their information accurate.

So if you’re a plumber or a nutritionist there are specific schema just for you. You can easily find them using the search function on schema.org – or make your own custom one if you know how.

Google has done away with authorship – a means by which they would judge an article based on the author’s reputation. However, authorship schema does allow bots to still easily collect and connect works of the same author and can also generate a slightly different search result, usually with the author’s name visible under the link.

Note that organizations can also be in the ‘author’ section of the schema, which is why when you search for articles from reputed sites or news sites, you will see a small link stating where the article/blog is from.

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This schema is quite common nowadays and you will often see it when searching for movies, games or other products.

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You can manually add reviews, or you can use a review aggregator to display average ratings – depending on what you use, users can see who reviewed it and when. To figure out how to aggregate your reviews, check out this short guide.

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This one is slightly different. This is exclusive to Google because it offers an interface in Gmail. There’s a high likelihood that you have seen Gmail schema – if you have ordered something on, say, Amazon, you would be able to see a link within your inbox without having to open the email. Clicking the “View Order” button should take you straight into your Amazon account orders page.

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The Review Action email schema is something similar (but better). It allows people to give feedback from their Gmail inbox without having to go to a third party site to do so. It opens a small window overlaying their inbox where they can give simple and quick feedback. This would be incredibly useful for a new or local business because it’s always difficult to get feedback, especially if the process isn’t very smooth or involves navigating to a review site.

actions-review-action
[Note: This does not add reviews for your Google+ page, but is simply a way to receive feedback. You must specify the handler yourself.]

The reason I left this for later, however, is that it takes a little know-how to do it right. First make sure you understand how to embed schema into emails and how to test them. Then look into how to do this particular review action schema here.

Screen-Shot-2015-01-27-at-6.28.36-pmJust like Review Action, Reservation Action is an addition to an email sent out. There are multiple types of Reservation Action schema; event, flight, hotel, rental car and restaurant reservations.

This allows for a rather nice interactive summary at the top of an email with the details your customers would want to see immediately. For example, here is an image of a restaurant booking (from the Google Dev’s site):

inbox_restaurant

The information on where it is, the time booked and a link to the map can all be seen without having to scroll through the whole email. You can see how these would lead to a better customer experience – they don’t have to wade through an email to get the information they would need and makes your service look that much more professional.

Again, remember to first understand how to embed schema into emails and how to test them before jumping into Reservation Action schema. Also remember, this is only for Google and Gmail for now.

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Schema might look relatively complicated if you don’t know how to create it yourself, but with the collaborative project schema.org (andhandy guides so you understand it), there is almost no excuse to not use schema on your site.

If you’re now ready to go, but don’t know if you have schema on your site already, Google does have a schema checker where you can simply input a url to see what schema is present.

1 Comment Speaking to Robots – 5 Local SEO Schema To Use

  1. Stephen October 20, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    This is one awesome blog post.Really thank you! Want more.

    Reply

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