Local SEO is a big deal for businesses today, especially since Google’s recent Pigeon update. To grab the attention of more potential customers, improving your local search results is the key.
You can help in this process by making sure your name, address and phone number, or NAP, are consistent in every online location. Read on to learn why that’s important and how to improve your consistency.
Why Your Contact Information Must Be Consistent
Google works with local SEO efforts by constantly scanning the internet to find any mentions of the name, address and phone number of your business. Once it finds this information, the search engine compares it to what it finds elsewhere, including the post office, state agencies and phone records. Your ranking in the search engine is determined in part by the degree to which NAP information is consistent on multiple sites, including your own website and your Google+ page. If inconsistencies are found, your rank will be much lower than if the data is replicated exactly in all locations. Of course, there is also the possibility that having the wrong address or phone number on a couple of sites will confuse customers, who won’t be able to locate or contact you.
How to Determine If Your NAP Information Is Correct
First, consider whether you have ever changed your business name or location information. If you have, it’s likely that your old business name or address is listed somewhere online, which confuses both Google and your customers. Keep that in mind as you search for inconsistencies. Locating every listing and mention of your business on the internet to check for accuracy can be a daunting task. You can find them all by doing a search for your business name, but this approach isn’t guaranteed to find every instance, especially if errors exist in the data. Some special tools exist to help with this task; however, experts disagree on how effective these can be at finding everything.
Fixing Inconsistent Information
If any websites have the wrong contact information, it’s important to change it immediately. Start by checking the major websites that are considered most important for local SEO, such as Google+, Yahoo, and Bing. These sites have authority, which is why Google often checks information on other sites and compares it against them. To ensure consistency, spell and punctuate everything exactly the same in every location. For example, if you abbreviate a word in your address (such as North or Street), abbreviate it always. If you use a comma in your business name, use the same comma in every location. Consistency means letter-for-letter duplication. Once you make sure all of your information matches on the Big 3, locate and change it on any other sites. Be sure to check Yelp, CitySearch, Angie’s List, and similar websites that are often used for local SEO or business listing purposes.
Because ensuring complete NAP consistency is key to improving your local SEO, consider asking your online marketing company to handle this critical task for you. They are trained to locate and standardize your information, and to translate it into the format that Google prefers. Search engine position and optimization is crucial for all businesses today, so don’t ignore this critical component of local SEO.
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