Using Rich Snippets to tell Google Places your exact Location

For a long time I wondered why you couldn’t use a meta-tag or something that would tell Google that my website is related to this business at this location. Why beat around the bush when you could code something that is a clear statement of locality for search? Well, now you can.

Every business with location-based products needs to develop ways to help Google link their business to a search for service at a specific location. This will impact how customers find you with their mobile phones and it will impact your search results for people using their desktop computer at home. Using Rich Snippets on your website to micro-format specific data elements about your address and contact details will have a direct effect on Google Places.

Rich Snippets allow you to place code in the content of your website that identifies your business name, contact details and position using a latitude/longitude code. Google describes 3 recognized formats for Rich Snippets in Webmaster Tools:

  • Microdata
  • Microformats
  • RDFa

Right or wrong, you need to pick one of these 3 formats. I’ve selected Microformats. The micro format used to describe contact information is called ‘hCard‘ and is referred to in HTML as vcard (this isn’t a typo). Using Rich Snippets means applying new html code that is actually invisible to users, but readable by Google.

Google Places is then going to be enhanced by the fact that you have citations that promote the connection between your business, your website and your location and that will all be used by Google to improve your ranking in Google Places.

Put Your Address on Your Website!

It is amazing how many websites do not have addresses and even phone numbers on their websites. I believe that you should have something like a footer with address, phone numbers and now Latitude and Longitude on every page. Why not?

Reviews, Events and Recipes in Rich Snippets

In addition to marking your address and contact details with Rich Snippets, you can also use micro formatting to mark other types of content. For an accommodation website, you would probably want to upload reviews, but in fact it seems unlikely that Google will import reviews from the source being reviewed. They believe, and rightly so, that reviews from the business itself would be biased and therefore not valuable.

One day, we hope to try out snippets about recipes. Contact us if you’ve got an interesting recipe that you would like to highlight for Google.

About Mark

Founder of Web Reservation Systems, focused on helping businesses in the Australian Accommodation travel sector get more value from Internet Marketing. Originally, we opened up in 2001 as a supplier of Front Office Software linked to Online Booking facilities. That allowed motels and hotels to add booking buttons to their websites as well as sell through Global Distribution Systems. You could say this was an early 'Channel Manager' because it allowed the property manager to simply control price and availability for a diverse array of wholesale and retails websites. Next, we started building websites to profile our customers (Australian Holiday Guide). That lead to building websites for customers as a favour. Now do about 80 websites a year using BurgundySky and Joomla. For small businesses I recommend using BurgundySky as it is very easy to start and manage. Joomla is also great, but harder to install and maintain for a small business. Our web design business is based in Byron Bay, NSW. Byron Bay is a great place to live and work. I have 2 kids (15 and 17) who are both born here and my wife, Shobhan Oliver) is a successful artist.
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