The Googlebot scours the web for information, and if it’s not easy to find for the bot, it definitely isn’t easily accessible to mere humans. Google recommends location pages as a good way to ensure accurate information is picked up by their crawler, as well as those of other search engines.
What is a Location Page?
A location page is as simple as it sounds — any page that contains information about the business. It’s extremely important to note that a business’ location page is in addition to their website, not in place of. For most small and medium businesses (SMBs), this will likely be an individual page, but for chains or multi-department stores, it may be part of a store-locator section from the main website.
Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team, emphasizes the importance of not hiding your multi-location information within a complex site. Cutts says, “If you want your store pages to be found, it’s best to have a unique, easily crawlable url for each store.” He goes on to say that a Google Places page is not enough, and cannot be substituted for a location page. “[Having a Google Places page] doesn’t change the fact that you should provide a web page for each store–that lets anyone on the web find your store locations more easily.”
According to Google, the most frequently sought after information is:
- • business address
- • hours of operation
- • phone number
- • departments available (i.e. parts department at an autobody)
Google, as well as other search engines and sources, require certain criteria for optimal data sourcing. Google’s criteria includes:
- • each location or brand’s information accessible on separate web pages
- • allow Googlebot to discover and crawl the location pages
- • location information presented in an easy-to-understand format
- • use of schema.org structured data markup
Google also has suggested standards for mobile location sites. It’s no secret that mobile is increasingly important. In the Mobile Path-to-Purchase report for 2013, xAd/Telemetrics found that 1 out of 3 smartphone users search specifically for contact info — phone number, maps, address and driving directions. While there are three options for mobile sites — responsive design, dynamic serving and a separate mobile site — Google encourages the use of responsive design. A business without a clear and concise mobile-responsive location page is driving customers away.
Why do SMBs Need a Location Page?
SMBs may notice that their information isn’t being sourced properly and is inconsistent across the web. This information usually pertains to name, address and phone number (NAP data), as well as hours of operation. When the structured data contained on most websites is formatted into HTML from its original structure, many applications struggle to recover the authentic data. The markup of a business’ website needs to be organized in a way that is accessible by major search providers. Search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo! and Yandex all rely on this markup to show an enhanced display of search results that many people have come to rely on.
Though it is an expert web crawler, even the Googlebot struggles to obtain the correct information. Businesses need to be sure that their site’s robots.txt file allows the bot to crawl the page. According to Google, the most common reason customers are unable to find a business’ location information in their search results is because the Googlebot’s ability to crawl the page has been blocked. To ensure your business or the business of your client isn’t disallowing web crawling, read up on Google’s details.
No Fear, VendAsta Here!
While we can occasionally be the bearer of bad news, we always have a solution in tow! Presence Builder syncs common social data, corrects inconsistent NAP data across the web and builds location sites to Google’s standards. On Presence Builder, it’s easy to create mobile-responsive location sites in just minutes. The sites are clean and adhere to Google’s standards. One of the next features we will be incorporating into our location pages is the ability to see reviews on the page in Google’s format, helping to improve SEO.
The best part? We include Presence Builder in your seller’s package, so you can give it away to SMBs. A location page is so important, we just couldn’t stand the thought of SMBs not having one.