Anyone who’s been paying attention will know full well where Google’s focus was over the last few months. Sure, Panda and Penguin will always be part of the conversation, but most, if not all the developments are for the improvement of local search. The latest example of these efforts is a new markup page that gives local business owners the opportunity to manage their data for better Google crawlability.
Leading with Local
We already talked about the importance of schema markups to local search in a past blog. Read our full discussion here if you want more information on implementing JSON-LD, and give Google a better chance to accurately rank your site.
This is actually the second option that’s available to business owners in regards to improving standings in local search. The first one was Google My Business API, which allows developers to manage business listings for the same purpose as the markup. The search engine rolled out the API a week before the markup, which reinforces the notion that local search is an area that Google wants to develop the most.
Google wants to give business owners as many options as possible when it comes to the visibility of their business on the SERPs. In his blog, Mike Blumenthal notes that this move is an uncannily flexible one for Google, which has adopted an “our way or the highway” approach to local SEO. The fact that these new local search rollouts are separate entities proves that this flexibility is the direction Google is going in.
Google: Have It Your Way
The markup acts in a completely different manner from the API, as they have different locations and target businesses. Rohan Ayyar was the first to tweet about the switch of Google’s location page guidelines from web.archive.org to developers.google.com.
The markup puts the additional data directly onto the website, which Google can use to update the local business data. This update, however, only happens if Google crawls the site and notices the markup. This means that no update happens if the settings somehow block the spiders from seeing some of the site’s sections.
On the other hand, Google My Business API has a bigger focus on listings management, which is useful for companies with multiple locations. It includes features like photo management, as well as the ability to mark a location as “permanently closed”. In addition, users manage the data on a Google dashboard, and it doesn’t require the search engine to crawl the site to enact the changes.
Master the Markup First
Google has yet to release the entire markup to the public, only making it available for testing with a restricted set of initial data providers. But, looking at the API and what we can come to expect with the markup, we’re leaning towards recommending that businesses master the latter first, especially for SMEs. But, most business owners have no idea how to read and fill code.
Fortunately, our team is full of people who know exactly what all that code means, as well as how to fill it to reflect the best possible picture of the business to Googlebot. Contact us today and we’ll advise you on how to get more attention on the Internet, and get more customers to patronize your services.