If you run an online business, and aren’t seeing the local results you want, the problem could lie in something as simple as making sure all of your local business listings match up. Referred to as NAP+W, which stands for name, address phone number and website address, it’s one of the most critical aspects of making sure your business shows up in search results.
Why is NAP+W So Important?
When Google decides which businesses will show up on a local search, it first analyzes the data from all of the local business directories to make sure that your business is legitimate. It’s looking for consistency in your NAP+Ws, and if there are a lot of inconsistencies, it will negatively affect your ability to be seen in the results. This is a problem for a lot of business owners, yet they don’t realize that these inconsistences are what’s impeding their ability to show up in the results. But recent studies have shown that a full 43 percent of business listings contain incorrect or missing information on NAP+Ws. In order to best increase your chances of being seen, you should build as many correct and consistent local business listings as you can as part of your local marketing and advertising plan.
Where Do I List My Business?
There are many local business directories across the web, and in order to make the most of them, you should approach the task by first listing your business in the reputable local business directories that can help you the most. For instance, FindUsLocal.com, CitySearch, and Yelp are good places to start. From there, you should make sure your NAP+W’s are listed on your local Chamber of Commerce, your Better Business Bureau page, and any other local listings that target your specific area.
How Do I Make My Listings Consistent?
In addition to listing your business on as many local business directories as you can, you’ll also need to ensure that the places where your business is already listed are current and up to date. To find out, you should Google your business name and the city it’s located in, and use those search results to check each listing individually. First, you need to make sure that your business name is consistent on all of the results. For instance, if your business is shown as Bob’s Donuts on some listings, and Bob’s Donuts and More on others, it will hurt your search engine results. Decide on a name, and then correct all of the listings that don’t show the right one.
Next, you’ll need to do the same thing with your business address. Decide exactly how you want your street address to appear, and then go through the same process that you did with your name. Remember the addresses will need to appear exactly the same. If it shows up as Main Street on some listings, and Main St. on others, it will count against you in the rankings.
It helps to create a spreadsheet as you’re going through this process. The corrections you make may not show up for weeks, so the spreadsheet will allow you to keep track of the process. Remember, it’s your business, the importance of consistency in your local business listings is key, and by taking control of your NAP+W’s on the local business directories, you’ll help to increase your chances of being found by customers.