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:
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?
- Example on WordPress (Kingaroy Cottage)
- Example on Joomla (Lake Haven Motor Inn)
- Example on BurgundySky (Country Roads Motor Inn)
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.