Google Adds Location Pages

by Aaron Bradley on April 8, 2014

in Semantic Web, SEO

Google Adds Location Pages

In a move sure to attract the interest of the local SEO community, Google's Pierre Far took to Google+ today to announce "support for structured data markup to help us surface the correct business info in Google search."

As outlined in an accompanying Webmaster Central blog post, Google is using what it has christened "location pages" – "a general term covering any page that has information about a business" – in order to collect specific information about local businesses and organizations, so it may return this information directly in search results.

Information Google is urging webmasters to include and mark up on their contact pages includes an organization's address, opening hours, phone number and departments within a store, organization or business.

On its main reference page for location pages, Google notes that "[our] algorithms accept and all its sub-types and you should use the most relevant one for your business." While Google is chiefly interested in business contact information, it also shows an example where a location page is for a "standalone Restaurant with a menu" is marked up, employing the Restaurant type to declare the URL of a menu. Given previous speculation about the source of menu results in Google, search marketers will be keeping a close eye on the SERPs to see if using this markup can propel menu items directly from a restaurant's website into the SERPs.

The examples on the Google Developers site are also notable because they represent a de facto expansion of types for which Google honors JSON-LD, following its initial support of JSON-LD for music tour date information and company phone numbers. While Google makes no mention of JSON-LD in its announcement or main help page, the fact that JSON-LD is included alongside microdata and RDFa in each code example strongly suggests an implicit endorsement for its use – at the very least – for business contact information.

Google also seems particularly interested in leveraging markup to better understand the organizational structure of a business, and the examples lean heavily on the department and branchOf properties to express things like the opening of hours of a specific department within a store, or the presence of an chain within a larger store (for example, a McDonalds within a Walmart).

The most complex example provided by Google shows markup for a pharmacy department and the kiosk of a dry cleaning chain both located within a larger store. Here's a visualization of this structure generated by running the example RDFa code through RDFa Play.

Google's example of markup to show a department and a chain store within a larger store

A visualization of RDFa example of a department and a chain store within a larger store (click to enlarge)

Google's thirst for structured information provided via webpages marked up with clearly has not been slaked, and – given what's at stake for local businesses – this latest initiative is sure to increase adoption even further.

1 Brad Brewer April 8, 2014 at 6:30 am

Great news, I’m sure much more to come. Recently, I read about adoption on the Internet, do you have those numbers from one of your communities?

2 Aaron Bradley April 9, 2014 at 9:37 am

The Web Data Commons project recently released their extraction of some 2.2 billion URLs from Common Crawl.

You’ll find both a summary and details of the extraction on the site, which you can compare with their August 2012 corpus.

In summarizing the data, Robert Meusel says:

we see that the adoption of the Microdata markup syntax has strongly
increased (463 thousand websites in 2013 compared to 140 thousand in 2012,
even given that the 2013 version of the Common Crawl covers significantly
less websites than the 2012 version).

Looking at the adoption of different vocabularies, we see that webmasters
mostly follow the recommendation by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Yandex to
use the vocabularies as well as their predecessors in the context
of Microdata. In the context of RDFa, the most widely used vocabulary is the
Open Graph Protocol recommended by Facebook.

See also a paper by Meusel and other collaborators presented at ISWC 2013 (21-25 October 2013), Deployment of RDFa, Microdata, and Microformats on the Web – A Quantitative Analysis [PDF].

Finally, see this November 2013 interview with Google’s Ramanathan V. Guha, in which he says:

It’s now a little over two years since launch and we are seeing adoption way beyond what we expected. The aggregate search engines see about 15 percent of the pages we crawl have markup. This is the first time we see markup approximately on the order of the scale of the web….Now over 5 million sites are using it.

3 Patrick Coombe April 23, 2014 at 8:07 pm

This makes me want to open up a restaurant inside a mall

4 Lebanese June 21, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I have added the Schema markup to my restaurant website, still google ignore it and prefer website with a huge numbers of backlinks and also sites with more web dominance

5 Brad July 5, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Lebanese, I looked at your site and you’ve done good work, but just need little cleanup. There are few errors on the page with your markup, I’ve listed few notes to help..

Good luck, recommends the following tool for markup-tester:

1. There is a typo after itemscope:

Should be the following:

2. Close the div container after all item properties have been identified:


3. Improper use of itemprop=”description” in the body

4. Code has conflicting addressRegion

5. Duplucate location property:

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