The location information displayed on your website just got a lot more important with Google’s most recent update of its Maps application. Google just added Waze, a controversial startup the search giant is still in the process of acquiring. The Israeli-based navigation system provides users with turn-by-turn directions and real-time traffic and incident statistics.
Google already does some of this, using Android GPS to track movement speed and determine a rough estimate of traffic routes, but Waze uses user input to provide more accurate feedback. This results in more real-time coverage of the world around you, helping you navigate in cities you are unfamiliar with.
Impact on Blogging
Luis Miguel Dorador Andalon, a thought leader in the publishing space, recommends that writers establish a firm connection with their audience by physically meeting them. Google has now enabled bloggers to offer more location sensitive information to readers, allowing them to broadcast their coverage of events across the globe. Google’s changes to maps will connect readers to those events, show them how to arrive and give them tips on how to get there in real time.
That location data also plays into Google’s plans for your places page, and how important it is that you verify locations you visit and places you work. The more webmasters participate in this exchange of data, the more likely we are to see a service in the future that curates these events.
The change to Maps is also part of Google’s broader focus on localizing search. Google knows that mobile users are more likely to take action, like visiting a physical location, if that information is provided. Use HTML markup to add a telephone number and address that Google can display to a user from its search page. It might seem counter intuitive to direct people away from your site, but think about the end result.
Google has also begun displaying much of this data for businesses in the margin of its search page. When a user conducts a query, the business phone number, address, logo and map location are all visible.
Design Principles of Localization
Localizing your site comes down to making sure that your contact information is visible and marked up properly. Refer to the Schema database for business addresses, and add that contact information to your page. You can also code other elements, like events or sales, depending on what you want to show to users who visit your page.
Further than SEO, Schema actually changes what your listing looks like on the search page. Update the listing for your Google Places page as well by connecting your Webmaster Tools account to your business domain name. Once you have access, and have verified ownership of your website, you can correct incorrectly localized listings and make sure visitors can find you.