On Friday, February 21 I’ll be presenting The Local SEO Formula, which is a step-by-step live training about how to get your business ranked #1 in Google’s local “map” results. My original Local SEO Formula training was released back in 2011, and boy have things changed!
The simple days of static Google Places business pages are long gone. They have been replaced by dynamic, social, and ever changing Google+ Local business pages. Not only did Google overhaul the look and feel of their business pages, but they also changed the administrator dashboard and the algorithm that ranks all the pages. In other words, just about everything has changed since the original Local SEO Formula!
With that said, the fundamentals have remained the same. You must have accurate, consistent data across the internet if you want to rank high in the local results.
Why is Accurate & Consistent Data Important?
One of the most important ranking factors in local SEO is accurate and consistent data. More specifically, I’m talking about business information like your name, address, and phone number. This is often referred to as your NAP for short (Name, Address, Phone).
If you think about this from Google’s perspective, then it makes perfect sense. Google’s mission is to provide the best possible results for any given search. In the case of local results, that means showing searchers reliable local business information. If Google’s results were full of inaccurate business names, addresses, and phone numbers, then that’s a big problem. Searchers would eventually lose faith in Google and turn to Yahoo, Bing, or another business directory like Yelp. Ultimately, that would mean lost revenue for Google.
To mitigate that risk, Google scours the internet to confirm business information is accurate. If they find your business name, address, and phone listed consistently across many websites, then there’s a pretty good chance that info is correct. On the other hand, if Google finds inconsistent information, then they are less likely to display your business high in the results.
Makes sense right?
How to Spoonfeed Your Data to Google
Up until recently Google was on their own to find your accurate business name, address, and phone number on your website. There are some obvious places to look like your contact page, but in some cases (like businesses with multiple offices) it’s not always easy for Google to determine the most authoritative Name, Address and Phone number for your business.
Plus, who wants to leave it up to a 3rd party? Shouldn’t the business provide this information first hand?
Well you’ll be happy to know you can do just that… Now you can spoonfeed Google this information.
Introducing Schema.org. Before you click that link and get lost in a world of tech jargon, I’ll give you another handy tool called the Schema Creator. Click that link and simply complete the form to generate the code your webmaster should add to your website. It’s basically just HTML code that tells Google exactly what you want to use for your name and address. Unfortunately that tool doesn’t include your phone number so you need to do a little hacking.
Feel free to copy our code below and then replace the information with your own. Or ask your webmaster to view the source code on our Contact Page and she’ll be able to easily copy the code.
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Organization”>
<a itemprop=”url” href=”http://www.mainstreetroi.com”>
<div itemprop=”name”>Main Street ROI</div> </a>
<div itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<span itemprop=”streetAddress”>116 West 23rd Street, Suite #500</span>
<span itemprop=”addressLocality”>New York</span>,
<span itemprop=”addressRegion”>NY</span> <span itemprop=”postalCode”>10011</span>
Phone: <span itemprop=”telephone”>(646) 470-3753</span>
<span itemprop=”addressCountry”>United States</span></div>
Once the code is added to your website, then you’ll want to verify it’s set up properly using Google’s Data Verification Tool. Simply copy/paste your website into that tool and Google will tell you if they have the correct information or if there are any errors.
That’s it. Of course, this is just one step that will get you ranking higher in Google’s local results. To get all the steps I recommend you register and attend The Local SEO Formula training next week.