Google’s John Mueller offered an unexpected answer to a question during a Webmaster Hangout. Someone asked if using GPS coordinates within Schema.org structured data was essential. Local businesses need to be able to communicate to Google where they are located. Google can use that structured data to display location information to users, especially those on mobile phones.
Structured data markup provides a convenient method of indicating where an office is located. This is especially important for companies with one website but multiple locations.
John Mueller answered the question but he qualified it by saying, “As far as I know” several times, indicating that perhaps he wasn’t 100% certain.
“As far as I know we don’t use GPS coordinates in that regard so if you have addresses on a page then that’s something I would mark up. But as far as I know we don’t
use GPS coordinates.”
Google’s Developers Page for Local Business Structured Data
That was curious. I have provided structured data markup with Geo Coordinates for many clients. This was especially useful for companies with offices across the country. Geo Coordinates was a key part of that structured data. In fact, Google has published a developers page for local business structured markup. That page lists Geo Coordinates as “recommended.”
Here is a screenshot from Google’s Developer Page where it shows GeoCoordinates are recommended.
Local Search SEO Expert Opinions
I asked local search expert, David Mihm about it and he offered this opinion about Geo Coordinates:
“…in general that’s a good schema to use & will be even better as more and more results are based on structured data as opposed to websites.”
Bill Hartzer, another local search expert with well over a decade of experience shared how he handles it:
“For the past several years I’ve always included geo coordinates whenever possible in schema markup. Most SEOs who do local SEO see this as standard data to include.”
I asked Bill Hartzer what his personal experience was using GeoCoordinates and other methods to get Google to pick up that data:
Based on my experience, when I add a new business that’s not on Google Maps, if I’m standing at the location of the business and adding it on Google Maps it typically will get approved and go live within minutes.
If I’m adding a business and am not at the location of the business, it can take some time to be approved. They’re clearly using GeoCoordinates and location data in this case.
Is Using GeoCoordinates Structured Data Essential?
Given both David Mihm and Bill Hartzer’s hands on experience with local search and what’s written on Google’s own web page on this topic, it’s safe to say that using GeoCoordinates as part of your local structured data is both standard and recommended.
Screenshots by Author