Straight From The Pros

Understanding the Risks of Bad Local Listings

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Local SEO

Local SEO is an effective way to market your business online. It helps businesses promote their products and services to local customers at the exact time they’re looking for them. Local SEO uses a variety of strategies — getting your site ranked on search engines like Google, business directories such as YelpSuperpagesFoursquare, Yellowbook, Google My Business listingBing Places for Business page, localized content on your website, online reviews and other strategies.

Millions of customers use local search every day to find the best local businesses in their area. You can help increase your chances of getting found by these potential customers, by working with a local SEO department at an agency.

One major part of local SEO is your businesses local listing. A local business listing is an online entry that contains your business location details (NAP). There are a lot of websites like Yelp, Foursquare and Yellow Pages where local businesses can create free local business listings.


What is my business NAP information?

Your business NAP information includes three bits of data; Business Name, Business Address, and Business Phone Number. These three bits of data should be unique to your business, and more specifically to your brick and mortar location. This information should remain unique even for franchise businesses that often have the same name, however, the phone, and address differs in some cases the phone numbers might be uniformed. The easiest way to spot a duplicate listing is to type into the search bar your business address; this will provide great insight into your NAP consistency. NAP information is short for Name, Address, and Phone. Information like website URL and business descriptions are also considered NAP info.


How important is my business NAP information?

Your business NAP information is important because it represents your identity on the Internet. Maintaining NAP consistency is the first step to a successful Local SEO Strategy. Business NAP information is used to sort and rank your business on search engine pages (SERPs), consistency can be the deciding factor between being included in the “three-pack” / first page results or not being found at all when customers search online. As I mentioned before Website URL, and business descriptions are also part of your NAP information, and you want to make sure this information is original & consistent across the Internet.


Why should I care about my business NAP consistency?

The results you get back when searching online are based on multiple factors, but the most important for a brick and mortar location is to make sure your NAP information is consistent across the Internet. Your NAP information might start on one citation site. However there are multiple companies, and websites out there collecting data, verifying data, and selling data to companies like Google aka the largest SERP in the world. Google uses the information it collects to build an internal profile (trust relationship), the more citation sites with the correct information across the internet the more reliable your business information appears to Google, so the more likely it is that Google will serve your business as a top result to potential clients.


Why does Google care about my business NAP consistency?

Google has faced multiple issues in the past due to bad business information, to protect both consumers, and business owners Google rewards you for maintaining your information consistent. As the largest search engine, Google wants to make sure that the information it serves its clients is as accurate as possible. If the information the SERPs find online about your business is not consistent, they will skip your business and rank the next one higher. Google robots crawl the Internet to create profiles aka prominence, which leads to higher rankings in search results when potential clients type in keywords specific to the services you offer.

Taking care of all those NAP citations can be tedious, but it pays off with SEO results. Google and Bing will rank your site higher with confidence because the NAP info provides evidence that you’re a real business, and you’re taking care of your online presence.

An incorrect or missing NAP can dock your SEO below a competitor — or worse, get you buried behind several pages in the results. If Google thinks you might be a spam producer or fake website you can find yourself fighting an uphill battle to get back in Google’s good graces.

So, don’t get caught rushing to clean up after Google penalizes your business. Check your NAP on all your pages and directory listings and keep it up to date. Make the search engines feel good about vouching for you.

V Digital Services offers local SEO services for businesses from small to international including NAP citation building and cleanup. If you’d like to learn more about our SEO services and how we can help you reach your goals, contact us today.


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