Improve Your Local Business Search results by Controlling Your NAP Citation
Last week we discussed 5 tips to increase your business’s position in local search, more specifically getting into the top 3 of Google Maps. One of the tips that we shared was the importance your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP Citation) has on the overall ranking of your business.
NAP’s aren’t sexy so I was slightly surprised when a follow up question arrived asking:
“I have found an incorrect listing for my business, how do I go about correct this listing and checking for any others and also how do I know where to put listings for the best impact”
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Before we tackle that question for those who didn’t see last week’s post you can read it here.
What is a Name Address and Phone Number (NAP) Citation?
A NAP Citation is a listing of your business online. Search engines crawl the internet to find NAP citations about your business, compare them with NAP information that is held by Data aggregators and use this to make a judgement on how accurate the data they have about your business is.
In short, the more consistent your NAP Citations are, the better for improved search results. To clarify this point, below are guidelines from the Google My Business Centre:
“Google improves search results by aggregating information about your business from all over the web. Make sure information about your business on third-party sites is accurate, and try to contact the respective site directly to correct any inaccurate information.”
Start with the correct NAP data.
Now we know what a NAP is and why it is important, the first thing to do is check that you have the correct NAP information. Go to your Google+ page and see what data is held for your business name address and phone number and check that is consistent with what is on your website.
My NAP is different why is that?
There are many reasons why your business data could not be consistent across the web. Some of these include:
- Business has relocated
- The data aggregators have incorrect information
- Different phone number
- Different trade name or business name variations (llp, Ltd company)
- Information was incorrectly submitted and scraped to other sites.
Inconsistent NAP data is a common occurrence because as stated above there are many reasons why the citations can be wrong and once they are live on the internet all it takes is for a Data aggregator to come along, take that data and distribute it across the internet increasing the problem.
Yes, it might be the case that it wasn’t even you that created the inconsistent data. It could have been a data aggregator. According to MOZ:
A data aggregator is a company that compiles data about businesses from multiple online and offline sources including phone bills, business registration records, chamber of commerce membership rosters, and many other sources.
How do I find where my business is listed?
There are several ways to find out where online your business is listed. You can use software, some better than others, or you can do it the good old fashioned way.
As an example, to find out where your site is listed, you would search Google for this:
“Your Business Name” AND “Your Postcode” -site:”your Website Address including http://” (show an image of this)
This will bring up all results of your name, address and phone number NOT on your website. You can then look through the resulting search pages and check the citation on each page to see if it is correct.
You also need to check for the following:
Duplicate listings. Check to see if there is only one listing as two listings in the same directory can be a problem.
Inconsistent Citation: If any of the details are incorrect then you should attempt to contact the website owner and get them to make the changes that you require, as per Google’s recommendation above.
Incomplete citation: If there is the opportunity to add more information about your business, such as categories, descriptions, images then add what you can as this will improve the authority of the page with regards to your business.
What local directories should you be listed in to boost your authority?
First and foremost if you are not listed and verified with Google My Business then I would make that a priority. Then I would look to get your business listed in the following directories;
- Google+ local
- Bing local
- Yahoo Local
Remember the aim of all this is to rank higher in Google Maps, get more inbound leads, sales and have a consistent brand across the web.
Getting listed in these places is not going to result in the phone ringing off the hook, but it will increase your authority on the web – resulting in Google being more gracious as to how you are positioned in Google Maps.
The Yell Directory for example has been around in one form or another since 1883 and has a good authority with Google so it is that type of relationship that you are looking to leverage.
Where else should you get listed?
Think Niche Specific
Well that depends on your niche. If you are a lawyer then you being listed in a Gardening forum is not really relevant, however there are plenty of legal related websites and directories out there that are relevant to your business.
Think Location Specific
If you want to be seen as the prominent orthodontist in Bristol then being listed in one hundred local directories in Newcastle may not be the best way forward. Be smart about where you list your business.
On the internet quality beats out quantity 95% of the time.
Who is your main competition? Who is top on the Google Map for search terms related to your business? Where are they listed?
Final Tips to leveraging local business directories to benefit your business
TIP 1: Make sure that you update the old incorrect citation first before adding new ones.
Tip 2: Set up an email address specifically for citations. Keeps everything in place and means your main inbox is not cluttered with offers to “upgrade”.
Tip 3: Keep a track of all changes and requests to websites so that if the job of managing citations is passed on to another team member everything is in place.
Tip 4: Keep on top of your citations. As discussed earlier, data aggregators distribute information about your business all the time. Spend 15-20 minutes each week checking your NAP citations to check that they are consistent.
Tip 5: Location, Location, Location. If you have more than one location and you want to be authoritative in each of those market places then you need to have authoritative citations for each location.
In local search terms a different location is a completely different proposition. Yes you have to repeat all of this work per location. This work can be very time consuming and tedious but don’t try to use short cuts, accuracy is everything.