Google Enhances Schema for Contact Information

Here’s some good news for Sydney SEOs with clients running local brick and mortar businesses.

On April 8, Google announced they were launching support for schema markup that allows users to include preferred phone numbers in the SERPs as part of what they termed “location pages”. They said the intention was to offer “support for structured data markup to help us surface the correct business info in Google search.”

In addition, users can specify hours of operation to further inform searchers about the business’s operations. Furthermore, this information could be sorted by the various services or departments of a business that were available at different locations.

It’s good news for web sites for local businesses that rely on phone calls and physical visits. Searchers now have a chance to see the phone numbers and hours of operation in the search listings and don’t need to click through to the website to hunt for the information.

Initially, they offer support for four types of phone number – customer service, technical support, billing support, and bill payment. Other than the number itself, you can also add meta data stating whether the number is toll free, global or country specific, or suitable for callers with impaired hearing.

Schema Background

The Schema project emerged as a joint venture between the three major search engines Google, Yahoo and Bing to offer enhanced search engine listings. By marking up their web pages with rich snippets, webmasters can include relevant information right in the SERPs. Using this system could display such key information as menus, reviews and author pictures in the search results.

Essentially, semantic markup allows you to create accurate and powerful listing of the prime features of your website that the search engines can understand and present to users. This helps searchers determine whether your site is right for them. As you can see, everyone wins.


Action Takeaway for Sydney SEOs

If you’re involved in developing, optimising or promoting websites for local clients that serve customers at their physical location, the optimisation of “location pages” should be a priority.

To add structured markup to your site, you need to fulfil certain requirements. Firstly, you have to publish markup on a page that is not blocked by robots.txt. Then, your markup has to include your official url and one or more contact point records.

You can find extensive details on how to add in this contact information in your Google Webmaster Tools help section. You can also glean some useful information from Google on how to properly build your contact pages so that they’re optimised for both the spiders and human visitors.

If you’re not using schema markup to the maximum, then you need to make it part of your strategy immediately. It’s one of the best things you can do to help your clients’ sites really stand out and get clicked. In these competitive times, you need all the help you can get.

About Nathanael Vanderkolk

Nathanael Vanderkolk is the Director of the Smart SEO Company, a SEO Agency in Sydney, Australia. Smart SEO Sydney has a keen awareness of the latest approaches to online marketing. Follow him on , Facebook and Twitter.
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