There isn’t any one magic bullet for making your site rank well in search. In fact, optimizing a website means using a series of simple tasks in combination to leverage the way search engines find and index content online. As an attorney targeting local markets, using local schema markup helps search engines digest and display information on your site that is relevant to local searchers.
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Gone are the days of the Yellow Pages. Ok so maybe the phone book isn’t completely gone but it’s no secret that more and more people use the internet, mobile phones and other mobile devices to look up local business information.
Information like phone numbers, emails, addresses, logos and business names are what these local searchers are expecting to see. Search engines can find and display that information but it is far easier for them to do so when there is code signaling to them where and what it is.
There are a few different formats for marking up your content that are supported by search engines. The format that is most common (and recommended by Google) is the Microdata format. Microformats and RDFa are the other two.
You must have at least a working knowledge of HTML to be able to work with schema markup. It isn’t all that complicated and there are tons of great resources on the web to help you. For example Google’s structured data helper is a great resource.
The way you insert code on your website could vary drastically depending on your setup. You must insert schema markup using div and span tags in line with existing HTML. Within those HTML tags is where you will place the properties for different items you are identifying on your site. For example if you had name and address information inside an article on your WordPress site, you would go there to markup your content. If you had someone else build your site, reach out to them and ask them to install the markup on your address and other location based content. Below is an example of what local attorney-specific schema would look like on a firm name, address and phone number.
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/Attorney”>
<span itemprop=”legalName”><strong>The Levin Firm</strong></span>
<div itemprop=”address” itemscope itemtype=”http://schema.org/PostalAddress”>
<span itemprop=”streetAddress”>123 S Broad St #1200</span>
Phone: <span itemprop=”telephone”>(215) 555-5183</span>
(Source: The Levin Firm)
Note that the schema tagging will not show up as visible to visitors on your site. It is hidden just like the HTML code is. Search engines however can understand and see it very well. Schema tagging helps search engine bots retrieve, index and display this information later on when there is a relevant query. You can see this in the example below.
Just like placing the right keywords, making sure your site is fast, is well-designed and has a lot of links pointing towards it, schema markup is yet one more arrow in your quiver. It helps search engines find, interpret and understand data that is important to users.