Rich Snippets and Schema Mark-up can be intimidating if you are new to them – but important data about your business can actually be very simply added to your site by sensible optimisation of your website footer.
This is easy to implement.
An optimised website footer can comply with law, may help search engines understand your site better and can help usability and improve conversions.
Properly optimised your website footer can also help you make your search snippet stand out in Google results pages:
If you are a business in the UK – your website needs to meet the legal requirements necessary to comply with the UK Companies Act 2007. It’s easy to just incorporate this required information into your footer.
Companies in the UK must include certain regulatory information on their websites and in their email footers …… or they will breach the Companies Act and risk a fine. OUTLAW
Here’s what you need to know regarding website and email footers to comply with the UK Companies Act (with our information in bold);
- The Company Name –
- Physical geographic address (A PO Box is unlikely to suffice as a geographic address; but a registered office address would – If the business is a company, the registered office address must be included.)
24 Patrick Street,
- the company’s registration number should be given and, under the Companies Act, the place of registration should be stated (e.g.
Hobo Web Limited is a company registered in Scotland with company number SC299002
- email address of the company (It is not sufficient to include a ‘contact us’ form without also providing an email address and geographic address somewhere easily accessible on the site)
- The name of the organisation with which the customer is contracting must be given. This might differ from the trading name. Any such difference should be explained
hobo-web.co.uk is the trading name / style of Hobo Web Limited.
- If your business has a VAT number, it should be stated even if the website is not being used for e-commerce transactions.
VAT No. 880 5135 26
- Prices on the website must be clear and unambiguous. Also, state whether prices are inclusive of tax and delivery costs.
All Hobo Web prices stated in email or on the website EXCLUDE VAT
The above information does not need to feature on every page, more on a clearly accessible page. However – with Google Quality Raters rating web pages on quality based on Expertise, Authority and Trust (see my recent making high-quality websites post) – ANY signal you can send to an algorithm or human reviewer’s eyes that you are a legitimate business is probably a sensible move at this time (if you have nothing to hide, of course).
Note: If the business is a member of a trade or professional association, membership details, including any registration number, should be provided. Consider also the Distance Selling Regulations which contain other information requirements for online businesses that sell to consumers (B2C, as opposed to B2B, sales).
For more detailed information about the UK Companies:
- Companies Act 2006 (HTML version)
- The Companies (Registrar, Languages and Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2006
- Companies Act (760-page / 2.8MB PDF)
- The UK’s E-commerce Regulations – OUT-LAW’s excellent guide
Although we display most if not all of this information on email and website footers, I thought it would be handy to gather this information clearly on one page and explain why it’s there – and wrap it all up in a (hopefully) informative post.
Dynamic PHP Copyright Notice in WordPress
Now that your site complies with the Act – you’ll want to ensure your website never looks obviously out of date.
While you are editing your footer – ensure your copyright notice is dynamic and will change year to year – automatically.
It’s simple to display a dynamic date in your footer in WordPress, for instance, so you never need to change your copyright notice on your blog when the year changes.
This little bit of code will display the current year. Just add it in your theme’s footer.php and you can forget about making sure you don’t look stupid, or give the impression your site is out of date and unused, at the beginning of every year.
© Copyright 2004 - <?php echo date("Y") ?>
A simple and elegant php copyright notice for WordPress blogs.
Adding Schema.org Mark-up to Your Footer
You can take your information you have from above and transform it with Schema.org mark-up to give even more accurate information to search engines.
<div> <p> © Copyright 2006-2015 Hobo-Web LTD, Company No. SC299002 | VAT No. 880 5135 26 <br> The Stables, 24 Patrick Street, Greenock, PA16 8NB, Scotland, UK | TEL: 0845 094 0839 | FAX: 0845 868 8946<br> Business hours are 09.00 a.m. to 17.00 p.m. Monday to Friday - Local Time is <span id="time">9:44:36</span> (GMT) </p> </div>
<div> <div itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/LocalBusiness"> © Copyright 2006-2015 <span itemprop="name">Hobo-Web LTD</span> <div itemprop="address" itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress"> ADDRESS: <span itemprop="streetAddress">24 Patrick Street</span>, <span itemprop="addressLocality">Greenock</span>, <span itemprop="addressRegion">Scotland</span>, <span itemprop="postalCode">PA16 8NB</span>, <span itemprop="addressCountry">GB</span> | TEL: <span itemprop="telephone">0845 094 0839</span> | FAX: <span itemprop="faxNumber">0845 868 8946</span> | EMAIL: <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" itemprop="email">email@example.com</a>. </div> <span itemprop="geo" itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/GeoCoordinates"> <meta itemprop="latitude" content="55.9520367"> <meta itemprop="longitude" content="-4.7667952"> </span> <span>Company No. SC299002</span> | VAT No.<span itemprop="vatID">880 5135 26</span> | Business hours are <time itemprop="openingHours" datetime="Mo,Tu,We,Th,Fr 09:00-17:00">09.00 a.m. to 17.00 p.m. Monday to Friday</time> Local Time is <span id="time">9:46:20</span> (GMT) </div> <span class="rating-desc" itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/Product"> <span itemprop="name">Hobo Web SEO Services</span> <span itemprop="aggregateRating" itemscope="" itemtype="http://schema.org/AggregateRating"> Rated <span itemprop="ratingValue">4.8</span> / 5 based on <span itemprop="reviewCount">6</span> reviews. | <a class="ratings" href="https://plus.google.com/b/113802450121722957804/113802450121722957804/about/p/pub?review=1">Review Us</a> </span> </span> </div>
Tip: Note the code near the end of the above example, if you are wondering how to get yellow star ratings in Google results pages.
I got yellow stars in Google within a few days of adding the code to my website template – directly linking my site to information Google already has about my business.
Also – you can modify that link to plus.google.com to link directly to your REVIEWS page on Google Plus to encourage people to review your business.
Now you can have a website footer that helps your business comply with UK Law, is more usable, automatically updates the copyright notice year – and helps your website stick out in Google SERPs.