Damian Rollison has written an article discussing the application of semantics to local search. He writes, “Most U.S. residents live in suburbs and travel infrequently. Our habits keep us close to home, where we are already experts in the types of local businesses we visit every week. As I pointed out last time, we need the most help meeting less common needs. A truly forward-looking search application is one that can deliver rich, detailed information about the full range of local businesses.”

He goes on, “Businesses want to provide rich information about their products and services, and consumers want and need that information in order to turn local search from a frustrating experience into a useful and productive one. A lawn and garden company I’ve used, Caddie Shack Pest Control, has a great website at www.caddieshackpestcontrol.com that tells me everything I need to know about its services. If that type of data were consumed in a meaningful way by search services, it would be very easy to compare service providers in fine detail.”

Rollison adds, “Google itself has pointed the way toward at least one solution with its forays into structured data. Certain types of information about a business, such as basic contact information and review highlights, can be displayed in search results if web designers make use of microformatting. More recently, Google, Yahoo, and Bing teamed together to launch Schema.org in order to promote the use of structured data. Among the schemas on this site is a Local Business schema with markup for describing payment methods, price range, hours of operation, and certain business categories such as automotive, dry cleaning, and child care.”

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