The word “leader” brings to mind a variety of images. Perhaps a business leader developing their company’s strategy to beat the competition; or an explorer cutting a path through the unknown for the rest of his group to follow.
When our clients come to us there is only one image that is fixed in their mind. And it is a very clear and prominent image – to be the number 1 in Google, and more precisely to be the leader of local search.
We often encourage our clients to understand the most important qualities that separate a good leader from a bad one.
For starters, it’s a simple fact a leader must be predictable and consistent at all times. These two traits are winning ingredients of any successful leadership strategy, especially taking the lead in local search rankings. Allow us to explain.
If your business modifies its contact information, it can create disruption for both customers and search engines alike. Do you know all the online places you need to update if your company changes address, or phone number, or email details? Your business is probably listed in a lot of different places, such as business directories or social networks. In fact, anywhere someone might be looking for information about local businesses like yours.
We know you want your company to be the leader in local SEO. But to do this, you need to know how important it is that your business details are correct and consistent across the web. In other words, you need a good NAP.
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What is NAP and Why Does It Matter?
Digital marketing is full of acronyms – SEO, SEM, CTR, CPC, CPA to name a few. You’ve probably heard your digital marketing agency mention NAP and wondered what on earth they are talking about and why a bit of afternoon shut-eye will help your business.
But it’s not that kind of nap.
NAP stands for the Name, Address, and Phone Number and is a critical factor in local Search Engine Optimisation. It influences the companies Google and other search engines show for local intent searches.
Why Is NAP Important For SEO?
If you have two similar listings, such as Jack Smith Tyre Shop and JS Tyre Shop – Car Repairs, Google will see two different businesses.
This means that your local SEO efforts will be misaligned, leading to less Google “juice”, and potentially negatively affecting your rankings. And it’s not enough just to have a consistent name. You must also have the same address and the phone number, in the same format, across all your channels.
Put simply, if it confuses readers, it confuses search engines. Do your customers know with 100% certainty that Jack Smith is the owner of both tyre shops? Or is the actual business name Tyre Shop and Car Repairs? And what does JS stand for? Jack Smith? Or Jon Snow?
Have a look at the below examples. What seems more legitimate?
Phone number on site 1: +61 8 8998 8778
Phone number on site 2: (08) 8998 8778
Phone number on site 3: 8998 8778
Phone number on site 1: +61 8 8998 8778
Phone number on site 2: +61 8 8998 8778
Phone number on site 3: +61 8 8998 8778
80% of consumers lose trust in local businesses if their information is incorrect or inconsistent – BrightLocal
If 80 percent lose trust when your information varies from place to place, that’s four in five customers potentially walking away from your business. This could include anything from incorrect contact details, inconsistent business name and opening hours, through to outdated photos.
Your business name, address, and phone number must be listed the exact same way across all digital channels – from your website and social media profiles to directory listings and online maps.
This means to be a leader in local search you must check all your details everywhere. And if you do need to update or make changes, you must make the same changes across the board. That will aid you in getting better search rankings and therefore more traffic and more leads to your website.
In this article, we show you exactly what you need to do to ensure your NAP listings are consistent across all digital channels. It applies whether you are setting up your information for the first time, or planning to update your business profile. Moving to a new address for your business is disruptive for sure. But if you follow the steps outlined below you can minimise the effect on your customers – and search engines – and help them continue to find you.
Step 1. Update your website
Start with your website. Along with the obvious Contact page on your site, look in all the places that could reference your company name, address, and phone number, and change it accordingly. This can include internal pages like your About Us page, as well as your header and footer.
Step 2. Update Your Google My Business
Your Google My Business (GMB) account is the business information card that appears when people search your company name in Google. Its sits at the top of search engine results and is key to attracting website visitors or people who want to find your address, phone number, opening hours, or other contact information quickly. The information here has to be correct.
Does your company name, phone number and address in your listing match those on your website?
Hint: now can also be a good time to optimise your Google My Business listing and make sure that all fields are filled out and correct.
For some good tips on how to optimise your Google My Business account and improve your chances of appearing for local searches, check out Local SEO: How To Appear In The Local Search Results.
The importance of GMB signals in local search is growing according to Whitespark and the results they gained from their 2020 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey.
According to the survey, GMB listings are easily the single most important factor driving a business’s visibility. Therefore, businesses must dedicate time to managing and optimising their Google My Business (GMB) listings in order to lead in local search.
Step 3. Review Online Directories
Having directory listings across the web has always been a must-do SEO strategy. It not only means people can find you online, it also shows search engines that you are a trustworthy, authentic company worthy of being included in the search results.
There are different ways to work out what online directories your company is currently listed on. The best is to use a tool such as Ahrefs or SEMrush to run a backlink analysis and uncover them. Work through each listing, updating details where needed. We also highly recommend that your company creates a list of these sites and saves them internally. Should your details change again in future, it’s as simple as finding this list, logging into each account, and updating as needed.
Step 4. Update key industry specific listings
Along with the general online directories, you will also want to update any key industry-specific listings you may appear on, for example:
- My Skills (education and training)
- TripAdvisor (travel)
- Healthgrades (medical)
- and so on.
Searching for different industry directories in Google e.g. “dentist directories perth” can be an easy way to find where your listing may be (and if it isn’t there, can be a great way to uncover new relevant backlinks that you can create ). Make sure that you update your new address in your existing listings rather than create new ones (and risk duplicate entries and more online confusion).
Step 5. Stay on top of Social
The more social media profiles you have, the more chances there are that your business details are inconsistent, or incorrect. Check your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn platforms, plus any other ones you might have. Does your company name, phone number, and address listed match those on your website, Google My Business, and online directories? If so, you are on the right track to becoming a leader in local search.
Step 6. Are you Running Paid Advertising?
If you are currently advertising your company through Google or Microsoft Ads, make sure you review your ads to avoid confusion . Double check you have updated your business details on:
- Google Ads extensions (location and phone extensions)
- Google Call tracking
- Google Ad text
- Microsoft Ads text and extensions
- And in your account settings.
Step 7. Bing & Apple Maps Matter
When it comes to the online mapping industry, there are three big players: Google Maps, Bing Maps, and Apple Maps. You would have updated Google Maps automatically when you updated your Google My Business listing.
Chances are Bing already has a listing for your business. Make sure you update and verify your business locale is correct in both Bing Places and Bing Maps. Apple Maps is the default map system of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, so it needs to display your business details correctly and consistently too.
Step 8. Find Any Other NAP Listings That Need Updating
Depending on your business and industry there could be other places where your details need to be updated. A good way to find these is to simply search for your business phone number in Google and Bing search. See if any other sites come up that have been missed in the above steps. Remember to search for variations of your phone number you might have used in the past. Once done, do this with your address and see what other results appear.
Again, we recommend you note these down in an internal document for future use.
Your NAP Checklist
Below is a comprehensive list of all the places to check to make sure your business details are consistent. We recommend first creating a master NAP recording, where you note the exact wording of your business name, address, and phone number so your team can simply copy and paste it across various platforms. This will give you the best chance for ongoing consistency. Once done, work through the checklist below. You can also download a copy of the NAP Listings Checklist as a PDF here.
Help With Your NAP Listings & Local SEO
Running a business is not easy. There are many aspects that are time-consuming and complicated. Getting NAP listings updated when you move business locations is just one of them.
US President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said: Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
At Living Online, we know how to ensure consistency that leads to predictability in local search results. We are happy to take the lead and guide you through a maze of business listings and digital platforms to ensure your online presence always remains updated and professional.
If you are ready to get serious about having a good NAP, talk to our team of specialists today. Not only are we well versed in all things digital including SEO and local search, but we have the track record to prove it. We have helped dozens of businesses like yours to update their NAP details and dominate their local SEO rankings. So let’s get NAP-ping together!