We’re sharing some news today that we hope webmasters will find exciting. As you know, we’re constantly working to organize the world’s information — be it textual, visual, geographic or any other type of useful data. From a local search perspective, part of this effort means looking for all the great web pages that reference a particular place. The Internet is teeming with useful information about local places and points of interest, and we do our best to deliver relevant search results that help shed light on locations all across the globe.
Today, we’re announcing that your use of Rich Snippets can help people find the web pages you’ve created that may reference a specific place or location. By using structured HTML formats like hCard to markup the business or organization described on your page, you make it easier for search engines like Google to properly classify your site, recognize and understand that its content is about a particular place, and make it discoverable to users onPlace pages.
You can get started by reviewing these tips for using Rich Snippets for Local Search. Whether you’re creating a website for your own business, an article on a newly opened restaurant, or a guide to the best places in town, your precise markup helps associate your site with the search results for that particular place. Though this markup does not guarantee that your site will be shown in search results, we’re excited to expand support for making the web better organized around real world places.
hCard Creator Tool
Rich Snippets Testing Tool
Rich Snippets for Local Search
Beyond improving the presentation of your pages in search results, rich snippets also help users find your website when it references a local place. By using structured markup to describe a business or organization mentioned on your page, you not only improve the Web by making it easier to recognize references to specific places but also help Google surface your site in local search results.
Here’s how you can optimize your site for local search results:
- Use structured markup to help Google identify the places mentioned on your site. If your site contains reviews or other information about businesses and organizations, then the structured markup helps precisely correlate your pages with the place mentioned.
- Tell us about your content so that we know who you are and what content you have to offer if additional opportunities arise
About structured markup
Structured markup is a way of annotating information already on your website to help Google and others understand information more precisely. Imagine that you have a review of a restaurant on your page. In your HTML, you show the name, address, and phone number of the restaurant along with the rating, date and description of the the review. People can read and understand this information, but to a computer, it may appear to be nothing but strings of unstructured text.
With structured markup (e.g. Microdata, Microformats or RDFa) you can label each piece of text to make it clear that it represents a certain type of data (e.g. a business name, an address, or a review rating). This is done by adding HTML tags that help computers understand the data. These tags don’t affect the appearance of your pages, but Google and any other services that look at the HTML can use the tags for a more precise understanding of the items referenced on the page.
How structured markup helps local search results
In organizing the world’s information geographically, Google looks for the best sources of information about any place. For example, Place Page search results highlight reviews from across the Web that mention a particular business. But to find those pages that mention the business, Google must understand your reference to the particular business without the convenience of the Web’s uniform and unambiguous system of hyperlinks.
Your addition of structured markup simply helps to resolve ambiguities by clarifying that 1) you are in fact referencing a business (e.g. you mean “Shalimar” the restaurant rather than “Shalimar” the city), and 2) you’re referencing a very specific location (e.g. the Shalimar in Sunnyvale rather than the Shalimar in San Francisco). When annotating reviews, you also clarify which text corresponds to the review of the particular business.