What Everybody Ought to Know About Google Local SEO

Secrets of Google Local SEO was the topic of the first 2013 meeting of the DFW Search Engine Marketing Association (DFWSEM), and one of the keynote speakers was Chris Silver Smith, who spoke on the subject of Semantic Markup for Local SEO.

Chris is the President of Dallas based Argent Media, based in Dallas, Texas. He works with clients across the country as a consultant in the areas of SEO, social media, and reputation management. He writes frequently for Search Engine Land, and is the Vice President of Programming for DFWSEM.

Semantic Markup for Local SEO

What Is Semantic Markup?

In the context of web pages, Semantic Markup uses the HTML and page coding to not only instruct the web browser on how to display the page, but also on how to convey meaning so that machines can better interpret the content.

The traditional use of the HTML code is to define how content is presented by the browser to the reader. For example the <h1> code is used for primary titles of articles, such as the one at the top of this page, and makes the text appear larger and bolder. The <i> tag would make text appear in italics. Semantic HTML is the use of code to tell search engines exactly what a piece of information is, not just how it appears.

Why Use Semantic Markup?

  1. Helps search engines to interpret your site correctly, increasing their confidence in assessing the meaning of your information.

    If you have a business with a storefront, you would want to include the address of where it is physically located. If all addresses were as simple as 123 Main Street this would not be an issue, but what if your address is 456 Memphis Avenue? Memphis in this case is a street name, but it can also be a city name, or a type of barbecue. This creates confusion for search engines. What Memphis is this site referring to? Using a snippet of semantic HTML you can tell Google that Memphis is a street name, eliminating the confusion.

  2. Increases the chances of getting Rich Snippets to appear with your web page results.

    Rich snippets, according to Google, “provide webmasters with the ability to add useful information to their web search results. The purpose is to present users with more information about the content that exists on a page so they can better decide which result is most relevant for their query.”

    Key takeaway: This may result in additional traffic to your site.

Rich Snippets for Local SEO

What Type of Rich Snippets Are Available?

There are several forms of rich snippets available for use, depending on what your site is about. Google Authorship is the most popular, and is applicable across all types of sites, followed by Breadcrumbs. You can also markup reviews, videos, events, coupons, among other unique identifiers. In depth detail can be found at Schema.org.

Google Authorship

The Holy Grail of rich snippets today is Google Authorship. When Google Authorship is enabled it has the potential to increase your rankings with Google. Not only does your site come up in the search engine results page (SERP), but your name and picture are shown as well – increasing your click through rate potential.

When Google Authorship is enabled it has the potential to increase your rankings with Google, and your picture and name will show up in search results increasing your click through rate.

When Google Authorship is enabled it has the potential to increase your rankings with Google, and your picture and name will show up in search results increasing your click through rate.

 

Have you set up your Google Authorship yet?

There still seems to be a great deal of confusion on how to do it.

We will explore that further in a future post, but the first thing you must do is setup a Google +, if you’ve not already done so.

Click here for a how-to set up the reciprocal link if you’re running a site on the WordPress/Genesis framework, or here for information, from our friends at Atomic Design & Consulting, on how to do it on other sites.

Breadcrumbs

In the children’s fairy tale, Hansel & Gretel, Hansel leaves a trail of bread crumbs on their trip into the forest so they can find their way back home. In the fairy tale world of Google, breadcrumbs help a user know where they are going on your site or where they are at on your site. In addition they provide additional navigation opportunities, which will in turn increase your click through rate.

Google Rich Snippet Breadcrumbs Help Users Know Where In Your Site They Are Going.

Google Rich Snippet Breadcrumbs Help Users Know Where In Your Site They Are Going.

 

Breadcrumbs appear on a site, as well as in the search results, making it easier to navigate.

Breadcrumbs appear on a site, as well as in the search results, making it easier to navigate.

Google explains them this way.

Reviews

Favorable product reviews appearing in search results increase your click through rate as well.

Google Rich Snippet Reviews Help Users Know How Others Have Rated a Product.

Google Rich Snippet Reviews Help Users Know How Others Have Rated a Product.

Other

There are several other semantic markups that you could potentially take advantage of. Chris wrote on article on Search Engine Land, 13 Semantic Markup Tips for 2013: A Local SEO Checklist, that is an additional great resource.

One Final Thought