Introduced in 2011 by Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex, schema.org’s (https://schema.org) structured data markup is one of the most powerful assets currently available to local businesses looking to improve their search engine visibility. Simply put, schema is extra code (or markup) that allows search engines to easily interpret the information on your website.

Schema markup wraps around your existing business data, such as your opening hours and address, and allows search engines to easily parse and present this information back to users in search results.

Lots of websites use schema.org markup to provide what is known as structured data to search engines. You might have already come across structured data in search results when browsing Google for content such as recipes:

 

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or even when looking for information about a film:

 

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The BBC, IMDB and countless other websites all use structured data to tell search engines about the content on their website, and you can do the same for your local business.

If you’re looking to introduce schema markup on your website, but not sure how to get started, here are a few simple ideas to turn your existing content into structured data.

Getting Started with Schema

If you are not confident with writing HTML, it is definitely best to leave adding the actual markup to your webmaster or website developer. In this article, we’ll include some markup code snippets, which you can either code directly onto your own website or pass along to your developer for inclusion. It is worth noting that there are numerous different methods to add schema to your website. In this article, we have focused on the commonly used Microdata format, but there are alternatives available, such as RDFa and JSON-LD.

Moving on, here are three ways you can introduce structured data markup to your website:

Include Schema Markup for your Address

It is likely that you include your business address on your website. If you don’t work out of a fixed address but do offer services in a set location, then you can still include markup data for your address. To markup your address, you simply have to include the following code, wrapped around your address details:

<address itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”> <!– opens address item –>

<span itemprop=”streetAddress”> My street address</span>,

<span itemprop=”addressLocality”>My local area</span>,

<span itemprop=”addressRegion”>My region</span>,

<span itemprop=”addressCountry”>My country</span>,

<span itemprop=”postalCode”>My postcode</span>

</address>  <!–closes address item –>

Source: https://developers.google.com/webmasters/business-location-pages/schema.org-examples

Identify your Business Type with Schema

Schema markup has several different business types listed, meaning you can tell search engines exactly what kind of business you offer. There is the catch-all ‘local business’ markup or you can be more specific and identify your business further, including categories for pet stores, hairdressers and more. (https://schema.org/LocalBusiness). Where possible, it is a good idea to be as detailed and exact as possible with schema, but for a quick-win, you could use a specific local business type to get started:

<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/LocalBusiness”> <!–opens local business scope –>

<h1 itemprop=”name”>Your Business Name</h1>

<p itemprop=”description”>Information about your business<p>

<p>Open: <time itemprop=”openingHours” datetime=”dd-dd hh:mm-hh:mm”>Your opening hours </time></p>

<p>Phone: <span itemprop=”telephone”>(+44) 208 440 440</span></p>

</div> <!– closes local business scope –>

It’s also worth noting that schema markup has specific formats for opening hours, which you or your website developer will need to be aware of. For more details on this, check out the following guide: http://schema.org/openingHours

Highlight your Customer Reviews

If you have glowing reviews or testimonials on your website, then schema markup offers a great way to highlight this content to potential customers. Google has a fantastic guide to getting started with schema for reviews (https://developers.google.com/structured-data/rich-snippets/reviews), but for now here is a simple example of  review markup for a local business:

<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Review”> <!– opens review div –>

<div itemprop=”itemReviewed” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Store”> <!–opens item reviewed div –>

<span itemprop=”name”>Holly’s Store</span>

</div> <!–closes item reviewed div –>

<span itemprop=”reviewRating” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Rating”>

<span itemprop=”ratingValue”>5</span>

</span> stars –

<b>”<span itemprop=”name”>A great place to buy from.</span>” </b>

<span itemprop=”author” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Person”>

<span itemprop=”name”>Reviewer Name</span>

</span>

<span itemprop=”reviewBody”>Here’s the review content, left by the reviewer</span>

</div> <!–closes review div –>

The schema markup for reviews is arguably the trickiest of the three we have highlighted today, but it is certainly worth including if you receive a lot of great press or endorsements from customers.

Next Steps with Schema

Want to get started with schema right away? You can visit Schema.org for all of the various markup types available or browse Google’s structured data guide (https://developers.google.com/structured-data/).