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If you’re at all familiar with SEO, you most likely understand the importance of having an XML sitemap for your website and submitting that sitemap to search engines. But just as you started to wrap your head around XML sitemaps and image sitemaps, along came the KML sitemap—making you wonder if you woke up in some alternative universe made up entirely of the weird acronyms your middle school daughter uses when she texts.
Sorry, thunder thumbs, but KML doesn’t stand for “kall me later.” Rather, it stands for “keyhole markup language.” According to Google,
“KML is a file format used to display geographic data in an Earth browser such as Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google Maps for mobile.”
And when Google Maps are involved, you can be sure that KML files tie closely in with local search.
The Fastest Local Search Refresher Ever
And just in case you forgot, local SEO increases visibility for businesses interested in ranking for geographically-related searches. The local listings of searches often appear before the organic listings, leading to better click-through-rates for your company from potential customers.
Here are what my local listings look like when I search for “liquor”:
Do KML Files Improve Your Local SEO?
Now that we’ve had the fastest LSEO lesson ever, we can talk about how KML files impact your business’s visibility in local listings—often called the “7-pack.”
And just a quick note: It used to be general practice to build separate geo-sitemaps (KML sitemaps) from your XML sitemaps. While Google still supports KML files, they recommend you add them to your standard sitemap format as opposed to creating a separate geo-sitemap.
KML files offer an opportunity to express your business’s geographic information in a way that is easily understood by applications like Google Maps and Google Earth. Adding these KML files to your sitemap is just another way for Google to verify your business listing and location. After all, it would create a poor user experience for Google users if they drove all the way to your map listing only to find the information listed was incorrect.
How to Create a KML Sitemap
Google Developers has an extensive list of KML elements that Google Maps and Google Maps for Mobile support. If you’re like me, however, trying to translate the KML elements is harder than trying to find depth in Matthew McConaughey role.
Don’t believe me? Here’s some sample KML for you:
According to Google, each file should include a KML header, a nameplace declaration, and then a Placemark object that includes:
- The name of your Placemark
- A description that appears by your Placemark
- A point that describes the position of your Placemark (longitude, latitude, and option altitude)
What Are KMZ Files?
To share your KML files more easily, many developers compress them into a ZIP format. A KMZ file is simply multiple KML files compressed into a ZIP format.
Get More Leads from Local Search
Confession time: if you called Blue Corona right now and asked me to help you add KML files to your sitemap, I probably wouldn’t be able to help. But we do have a whole team of web developers here that CAN help you.
And I’m not entirely useless! I can still help you get more leads from local search. All you have to do is call or fill out a contact form to begin maximizing your online real estate and getting more leads from local searches.
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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