If you have a brick and mortar business, or target online customers in a particular area, you can help Google provide relevant information to local users.Building your site
There are a number of ways to make your retail site more discoverable and indexable by Google.
- Create a meaningful URL structure for your pages, and remove any unnecessary parameters. Short and meaningful URLs (such as http://www.example.com/women/dresses) are easier for users to understand and navigate, and are less likely to break when sent in email.
- Pick a canonical (preferred) URL for each of your product pages, and tell us about your preference by submitting these canonical URLs in a Sitemap. Say you have a clothing site and one of your top items is a green dress. The product page for the dress may be accessible through several different URLs, like this:
In this case, you can use the first link as the canonical URL, and include it in your Sitemap. We don't guarantee that we'll use the URLs you submit in a Sitemap, but it is a useful way to tell Google about the pages on your site you consider most important.
- If other sites link to yours using both the www and non-www version of your URLs, use the Preferred domain setting to tell Google how you prefer your site to be indexed.
- Consider creating original product descriptions and information with rich, descriptive content, rather than using manufacturer's descriptions, which may appear on many sites across the web. Original content provides useful information to users, and can help your site's visibility in our search results. Consider adding video product demos or other rich content, such as user reviews, to your site. The more unique and compelling your content, the more likely it is to perform well in our search results.
- Submit your product catalog to Google Product Search.
- Use plenty of product images, with meaningful captions and alt text.
- Avoid publishing stubs. Users don't like seeing "empty" pages, so avoid placeholders where possible. This means not publishing (or at least blocking via robots.txt) pages with no actual content. For example, if you have a Washington real-estate site but no listings for Anytown, WA, avoid publishing a page like http://www.example.com/listings/anytown that contains only the message "Sorry! We currently have no listings for Anytown." Pages like this provide an extremely poor user experience, and you should avoid them.
- Add your business to Google Places. The information you list in Google Places can help us provide the best, locally relevant results to searchers both in web search and on Google Maps. In some countries, you can even provide coupons which will be displayed to visitors who find your site in Google Maps. Don't add your business to too many categories: one or two carefully selected, representative categories work best. Learn more about being featured in our local search results. If your business is currently appearing incorrectly, use Google Places to update it.
- Make sure your address information is clearly available in plain text on your home page or at least one important page on your site. This is useful to your visitors and can help Google more effectively list your site to local users. Consider creating a rich About Us page that includes address information, a map, and other relevant information. You can also use Google Maps to embed a map, a set of driving directions, a local search, or personalized maps created by yourself or other users.
- Use top-level domains whenever possible to handle country-specific content. We're more likely to know that .ie indicates Ireland-focused content, for instance, than http://ie.example.com, http://www.example.com/ie, or http://www.example.com?country=ie. If you have a geographically neutral top-level domain (such as .com, .org, or.net), you can use Webmaster Tools to associate your site with a geographic location.
- If you create mashups for Google Maps, you can ensure that users can find your mashup site by including KML files in a Sitemap. KML is the Google Earth file format for modeling and storing geographic data. More information about KML.