Yesterday I talked about my initial thoughts on Google’s new Local Business Data Highlighter. Tyler Bell of Factual was quick to point out an important point:
If you want to have the best chance of ranking for local queries in Google, you should definitely use the tools they give you – provided they don’t break something (jury’s still out on that). But Tyler’s point is spot-on. This tool has two purposes:
- Make it easier for Google to figure out what your website is about
- Make it harder for anyone else to
So while using a tool like the Data Highlighter is a quick, easy way to give Google what it wants, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add schema or hcard markup to your site. That markup makes it easier for other services such as Factual, Bing, etc. to figure out what your website is about. When it comes to meta data, you should give away the milk for free, cause you never know where the next cow buyer is going to come from.
4 Response Comments
Good point Andrew/Tyler. If your site is marked up with schema/hCard/etc., is there a good reason to also use the data highlighter?
See the points at the end of my previous post on why I think the data highlighter could be useful for SEO.
Aaron Wall brought up an interesting concern in this AMA:
Basically his concern is that Google will take your metadata and start displaying it in SERPs via Knowledge Graph. This means that by marking up all your info with Schema/hCard etc. it may allow Google (or other search engines) to display your content to searchers without the need for them to go to your site.
I’m curious as to what your thoughts are on this Andrew. I see his concern but still think you can leverage metadata in a way that won’t negatively impact you, a great example being with location data for local businesses.
I agree with Aaron that this is probably one of Google’s goals. I am a bit less concerned about it from a local service business POV in that most of them need all the help they can get and getting a customer to their website is often not the best outcome v. say driving a phone call. That said, there are plenty of businesses such as hotels that would probably prefer not to have Google get between them and a customer.
So sure, Google is getting too powerful and all that. But most businesses suck at marketing themselves on the Web too.