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Implementing hCard for Local Search

By Bekka Palmer

hCard microformat is not it’s own programming language, rather, it’s HTML that is appended to certain snippets of information to tell computers “Hey this is a person’s name,” or other commonly published attributes such as an address, review, event, blog post, or phone number. An hCard is technically a virtual business card for a particular person, but for local search you can use it to denote a business location.

Why should I use it?

Because it shows up on David Mihm’s local search ranking factors. Just kidding, but seriously. There are some differing opinions on using hCard, some say it will not help your local rankings whatsoever, some say it’s useful if there are no other good signals like reviews. Either way, it can’t hurt, and it’s a great way to explicitly tell Google “Hey, this is my name, my business name, my address and my phone number.” SRSLY. You can’t get any more direct or clear with your location information than using an hCard, so just do it.

Where should I put it on my site?

Short answer: that depends.
Long answer: If you are a single location company, then put in on the page with the map and directions to your business (this might be your Contact Us page, About Us page or Directions page). If you have multiple locations you’ll want to create multiple hCards for each location and put them all on different pages so they each correspond to a unique URL. The problem with multiple hCards is that in order for the code to be valid you must include a person’s name (more on this in the next section). Therefore, you will have to name a manager or the like for each location; you probably shouldn’t use the owner’s name over and over again as that would confuse Google.

What will I need?

Required:

  • First & Last Name (most likely business owner, or manager of a particular location)
  • Ability to edit the HTML on your website, and a page you want to put the hCard on (contact us, about us, directions, etc)

Necessary for local search, but not required for validity:

  • Business Name
  • Street address of business
  • City
  • State
  • Zip or postal code
  • Country
  • Phone

Optional:

  • Email
  • Middle Name
  • Photo URL (a photo is a good idea if your business is a one-man-show, such as a photographer, but not really necessary for most businesses)
  • AIM screenname
  • YIM screenname
  • Jabber screenname

How do I write an hCard?

Lucky for you some smart people have created a tool that does it for you, just input the information above in the hCard creator and copy the HTML code on your site where you want your name and address to appear. Remember if you already have your name and address on the page you don’t need to put it twice, replace your current address with the hCard.

How do I know it’s working?

Once you have the HTML up on your site you can check the validity of your code using the rich snippet testing tool provided by Google.

That’s all there is to it. We would love to hear what happens to your local rankings after adding an hCard, let us know in the comments if you see a change!

Update: Just today Mike Blumenthal pointed out that the Google Lat Long Blog has announced support for rich snippets in local search. Since it’s coming directly from the mouth of Google, you should run, don’t walk to the hCard creator and get started!

  • http://www.deepripples.com Deep Ripples Bill

    Appreciate this post. Succinct, easy to read, low on hype. Reminder about the hCard Creator was timely. Thanks.

  • http://www.madesimplemedia.co.uk/ Dave

    Great post you have cleared up some questions I had about this, thanks a lot!