Are Schema And Structured Data Markup Needed For Local SEO?


Sotoodeh

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Hi,

My question is if schema or structured data markup are needed for local SEO? Whatever post I see about these, are for 2012. Or doing anything extra on Google webmaster tools is needed for better rank in local and maps results?
Would you please advice?
What I already do is G+ for business, citations and optimizing title, description and content of web pages for locations.

Thank you in advance for the kind answers,
 
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At least in Backlinko's semi-recent study, there wasn't any correlation between schema and rankings. This wasn't for local rankings though, so it's still possible schema is a ranking factor, but I would personally consider it as serving a different role.

Schema is just one more way to give Google clear signals about the data for your business.

There are a lot of little problems that can come from mismatched data for your business. 3rd Party sites, misprints on your own website, etc, so it's valuable to have a way to reinforce things with Google. I've even seen the wrong business showing up for a brand name search. That can happen if Google Isn't getting strong enough signals from the business website about what the NAP is supposed to be, and which local profile goes with the business. Schema is one tool to fix something like that.

I'd consider proper schema to be kind of low on the list of priorities, but it should still absolutely be done. Also, if G+ for business means you're using G+ as a social platform for the business, you can save yourself some time and drop that part of the plan. Posting to G+ has no ranking benefits, and unless your client's audience is there, it's just a waste of time. Your time would be much better spent exploring backlink strategies. Having a good backlink profile is very correlated with good local ranking, and it makes it much more likely to start getting sub pages ranking for organic keywords as well. Dan Leibson spearheaded a good study last July you should check out if you'd like to know more.
 

Sotoodeh

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I see. Thanks James for good tips. So you think we can have structured data like this for location too? It can help Google understand a business location better?
[FONT=&quot]<code class="plain plain" style="box-sizing: content-box !important; font-family: "Source Code Pro", Monaco, monospace !important; border: 0px !important; padding: 5px 0px !important; background: none !important; border-radius: 0px !important; bottom: auto !important; float: none !important; height: auto !important; left: auto !important; line-height: normal !important; margin: 0px !important; outline: 0px !important; overflow: visible !important; position: static !important; right: auto !important; top: auto !important; vertical-align: baseline !important; width: auto !important; min-height: auto !important; font-stretch: normal !important; color: black !important;"><div itemscop itemtype=”LocalBusiness - schema.org”></code>[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]<code class="plain plain" style="box-sizing: content-box !important; font-family: "Source Code Pro", Monaco, monospace !important; border: 0px !important; padding: 5px 0px !important; background: none !important; border-radius: 0px !important; bottom: auto !important; float: none !important; height: auto !important; left: auto !important; line-height: normal !important; margin: 0px !important; outline: 0px !important; overflow: visible !important; position: static !important; right: auto !important; top: auto !important; vertical-align: baseline !important; width: auto !important; min-height: auto !important; font-stretch: normal !important; color: black !important;"><span itemprop=”name”>Big John’s Seafood Shack</span></code>[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]<code class="plain plain" style="box-sizing: content-box !important; font-family: "Source Code Pro", Monaco, monospace !important; border: 0px !important; padding: 5px 0px !important; background: none !important; border-radius: 0px !important; bottom: auto !important; float: none !important; height: auto !important; left: auto !important; line-height: normal !important; margin: 0px !important; outline: 0px !important; overflow: visible !important; position: static !important; right: auto !important; top: auto !important; vertical-align: baseline !important; width: auto !important; min-height: auto !important; font-stretch: normal !important; color: black !important;"><div itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”PostalAddress - schema.org”></code>[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]<code class="plain plain" style="box-sizing: content-box !important; font-family: "Source Code Pro", Monaco, monospace !important; border: 0px !important; padding: 5px 0px !important; background: none !important; border-radius: 0px !important; bottom: auto !important; float: none !important; height: auto !important; left: auto !important; line-height: normal !important; margin: 0px !important; outline: 0px !important; overflow: visible !important; position: static !important; right: auto !important; top: auto !important; vertical-align: baseline !important; width: auto !important; min-height: auto !important; font-stretch: normal !important; color: black !important;"><span itemprop=”streetAddress”>3002 Webbs Chapel Rd</span></code>[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]<code class="plain plain" style="box-sizing: content-box !important; font-family: "Source Code Pro", Monaco, monospace !important; border: 0px !important; padding: 5px 0px !important; background: none !important; border-radius: 0px !important; bottom: auto !important; float: none !important; height: auto !important; left: auto !important; line-height: normal !important; margin: 0px !important; outline: 0px !important; overflow: visible !important; position: static !important; right: auto !important; top: auto !important; vertical-align: baseline !important; width: auto !important; min-height: auto !important; font-stretch: normal !important; color: black !important;"><span itemprop=”addressLocality”>Dallas</span>, <span itemprop=”addressRegion”>TX</span></code>[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]<code class="plain plain" style="box-sizing: content-box !important; font-family: "Source Code Pro", Monaco, monospace !important; border: 0px !important; padding: 5px 0px !important; background: none !important; border-radius: 0px !important; bottom: auto !important; float: none !important; height: auto !important; left: auto !important; line-height: normal !important; margin: 0px !important; outline: 0px !important; overflow: visible !important; position: static !important; right: auto !important; top: auto !important; vertical-align: baseline !important; width: auto !important; min-height: auto !important; font-stretch: normal !important; color: black !important;"></div></code>[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]<code class="plain plain" style="box-sizing: content-box !important; font-family: "Source Code Pro", Monaco, monospace !important; border: 0px !important; padding: 5px 0px !important; background: none !important; border-radius: 0px !important; bottom: auto !important; float: none !important; height: auto !important; left: auto !important; line-height: normal !important; margin: 0px !important; outline: 0px !important; overflow: visible !important; position: static !important; right: auto !important; top: auto !important; vertical-align: baseline !important; width: auto !important; min-height: auto !important; font-stretch: normal !important; color: black !important;"></div></code>[/FONT]
 
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You ask "are schema needed". The simple answer is no. The more complicated answer is that it depends on your situation and what schema you are asking about.

Address: Google has a number of ways of understanding where a business is located. They have been parsing simple HTML addresses for years and can read it easily from a single location website with or without schema.

Schema address is a "clarity" signal not a ranking signal. It is "needed" if there are any situations in the real world that would confuse Google.... has the business moved, are there multiple locations owned by the same company that might confuse the machine and be conflated? If so then it is needed. If not then its a nicety that as was pointed out is nice to have but not critical.

Schema though isn't limited to just address. It can be used to highlight your own reviews (not reviews from 3rd parties), delineate your services more clearly to Google and even provide Google direct information about events or scheduling options that you might be offering. All of those might (operative word might) provide Google with additional information that they will share in your knowledge panel and that would improved conversions (but not rank).

The statement that G+ doesn't impact local, though, is not entirely accurate. I have tested and can verify that when done right a well run G+ campaign can impact local rank quite a bit. G+ has a verified relationship to the local business and if you can create a G+ account that has active increase in real followers, that actively comment on, share and plus your content and do so over time, it can increase rank and local traffic.

It is no easy task on G+ to be successful using it this way, but it is possible and it can in fact impact local outcomes.
 

Sotoodeh

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Thank you mblumenthal,
So using schema or Jason-LD as James said, is a extra work but does not harm SEO at all.
 
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Schema certainly in the case of address does no harm.

If you abuse it in the case of reviews, your stars may be stripped and there may be other issues.

FYI- Microdata, RDFa, or JSON-LD formats are just differing structures that can contain schema. JSON-LD is the current recommended format and is somewhat easier to maintain and create.
 
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Thanks for the clarification on Google+ Mike. I won't be so dismissive in the future of the potential impact of a well run Google+ campaign. I haven't seen any value for any of the businesses I've worked with before, but admittedly I haven't been involved with any businesses that actually had a particularly successful Google+ presence, good to know.
 
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Thanks Mike!

James, our friend Ben Fisher has done a lot of research on the G+ effect for GMB. I think he opened quite a few eyes on the potential impact. So if you wanted more details, he could likely provide.
 

joedillon68

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I'm always in the camp of "every little bit helps" so we do a bit of markup on our local landing pages to make sure Big G understands our name, address, phone, etc. But other than that (because we don't get any reviews in our biz) it's pretty limited to that. Like others have said, it won't hurt, but I'm hoping it does help! :)
 

JoshuaMackens

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You ask "are schema needed". The simple answer is no. The more complicated answer is that it depends on your situation and what schema you are asking about.

Address: Google has a number of ways of understanding where a business is located. They have been parsing simple HTML addresses for years and can read it easily from a single location website with or without schema.

Schema address is a "clarity" signal not a ranking signal. It is "needed" if there are any situations in the real world that would confuse Google.... has the business moved, are there multiple locations owned by the same company that might confuse the machine and be conflated? If so then it is needed. If not then its a nicety that as was pointed out is nice to have but not critical.

Schema though isn't limited to just address. It can be used to highlight your own reviews (not reviews from 3rd parties), delineate your services more clearly to Google and even provide Google direct information about events or scheduling options that you might be offering. All of those might (operative word might) provide Google with additional information that they will share in your knowledge panel and that would improved conversions (but not rank).

The statement that G+ doesn't impact local, though, is not entirely accurate. I have tested and can verify that when done right a well run G+ campaign can impact local rank quite a bit. G+ has a verified relationship to the local business and if you can create a G+ account that has active increase in real followers, that actively comment on, share and plus your content and do so over time, it can increase rank and local traffic.

It is no easy task on G+ to be successful using it this way, but it is possible and it can in fact impact local outcomes.
Hey Mike,

Always appreciate your insight.

I'm surprised to hear this said about G+. I promoted our G+ page for close to 3-4 months, genuinely engaged in communities, posted quality stuff, added a good amount of followers, and didn't see a difference I could attribute to that work.

You seem very confident which is what intrigues me. I may look at this again then.

Can you say that this case study was done in a vacuum? Were there any other Local SEO initiatives going on at the time that this increase could also, maybe even just partially, be attributed to?
 

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