If you spend anytime paying attention to Google rankings you know that local search traffic is what you want for a brick and mortar business. Visitors that call or visit your website from a local search listing are more likely to convert because they are more targeted and they are likely local. Today, we are going to cover a few important factors to ranking in local search results starting with the NAP profile.
So what is NAP? It stands for – name, address, and phone – and it is very important to your local SEO efforts. This bit of information is known as a citation.
It all starts with your Google My Business page. Whatever name, address, and phone number you choose is the same that should be used on every other online listing.
Consistency is key!
Google maps every bit of NAP information it can find for a business across the web. The reason that it is important to keep this profile consistent is that it adds an additional layer of trust to the search algorithm making it an important ranking factor.
A Closer look at NAP
Right now, let’s take a closer look at the three factors that make up your NAP profile:
- Name – Choose a format for your name that you are comfortable with. While you may not think there is a big difference between the two listings, the search engines will see things differently. For example, “Acme” and “Acme, Inc.” are not the same. Choose one or the other.
- Address – The same as your name, decide how you are going to display your address to the world. This can get tricky if your street is a number and/or when dealing with a suite number.
- Phone – Use the same phone number on every site. Additionally, you always want to use a local number. Never use a toll-free number. Also, if you are working with a lead marketing company be careful about using a tracking phone number. If you must try to avoid having the phone number in text next to your business name and address.
Who’s Who in the World of Local Data Providers
Most people are aware that they need to start with a Google My Business page. That being said, your local profile goes well beyond this. You want to get as many citations with authority sources as possible. There are many local data providers to become familiar with. Some of the most popular include:
- City Search
- Super Pages
- Bing Places
- Angies List
While these some of the most commonly used local data providers, there are many others that you will come across. Remember, more listings are always better as long as your profile is consistent.
How will I ever manage and update all of these listings? Like most small business owners, you probably don’t have a lot of time for these sorts of tasks – despite the fact that they are important to your local rankings.
Fortunately, there are a few services out there that will allow you to add and instantly update your listings across many of the major players. They are not free but I’ve found them to be valuable to save time (money) and help with local rankings. Yext is my favorite option.
With Yext, it only takes a minute to see how your business appears across the internet. This will give you a good idea of whether or not your NAP profile is as consistent as it should be.
You can do more than see how your business appears. As a Yext user, you will gain full control of these results. Subsequently, you can enhance your listings with accurate contact information, descriptions and photos as a means of increasing your rankings and standing out in your industry.
Local Search Ranking Factors
At this point, you are aware that a consistent NAP profile is essential to your local rankings. However, this is just the start. There are many other factors to consider.
David Mihm, a well-known local search expert, recently interviewed many of the biggest names in the SEO industry for more information on the factors that impact local rankings.
His study reveals the following 10 factors as most important:
- Physical address in city of search
- Proper category associations
- Proximity of address to centroid
- Domain authority of website
- Quantity of structured citations
- City and state in landing page title
- Quantity of native Google Places reviews
- Quality of structured citations
- Local area code included on place page
- HTMP NAP matching place page NAP
Despite the fact that these were voted the 10 most important, the study lists 90 factors to consider.
As important as it is to know what you should be doing, you also need to know what you should not be doing.
Here are the five biggest no-nos in terms of negative local ranking factors:
- Mismatched phone number across multiple listings
- Presence of multiple place pages with the same phone number (two different company names using the same number)
- Presence of multiple place pages with the same address
- Mismatched address across multiple listings
- Including location keyword in categories
For more information on the study, click here to review a David’s work on the Moz website.
With the right local SEO strategy, you will find your website climbing the rankings which will result in increased search engine and call traffic.
You should start by pinpointing your exact NAP profile. From there, consider the benefits of the Yext Listings service as well as the advice provided by the Moz local search ranking factors study.