Many small business owners now understand the importance of having an online presence as most of today’s consumers use the internet to find US local businesses. But what many of them don’t know is that unless those local listings are consistent, they may not produce the results they want.
But in order to understand why consistency is so important when creating local business listings, you have to understand how search engines work.
How Search Engine Bots Find and Display Local Business Listings
Every page that’s put online has the potential to be found and indexed by local search engines. And when you create a local business listing on a credible local directory that has its pages indexed, your page is included in that.
But because it’s no humans, but bots, that search for online pages, you have to create your local listing with that in mind. That means that unless your local listing is created the exact same way on every local business listing that you have, the bots won’t recognize it as belong to the same business—and you won’t get credit for all of your listings.
And that can have negative implications for your search engine rankings. In other words, unless you’re consistent with the information in your local business listings, your store, service business or restaurant may not appear high enough in the search engine results for shoppers to find it.
The information that you need to be consistent with is called the NAP+W. That stands for name, address, phone number, and website—let’s take a few moments to talk about why each of these areas are so important.
Your Business Name in Local Business Listings
It seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? After all, you know the name of your business better than anyone. Or do you? Let’s imagine that the name of your business is Nancy’s Deli on Main Street. Simple enough, right? But can you image how that business name can sometimes be written as Nancy’s Deli on Main St. Nancys Deli on Main Street? Each time there is a variance in how the business name is written, it causes the search engine bots to categorize it as a different business. After all, they’re not human and they can’t recognize name variations.
Your Business Address in Local Business Listings
The same is true for your business address—it must be listed in exactly the same way every time you create a free local business listing. Let’s use the example above. If you list your business address as 123 Main Street in one local listing and as 123 Main St. in another, guess what happens? That’s right—the search engine bots won’t recognize it as the same business, and you won’t get credit for all the local listings.
Your Business Phone Number in Local Business Listings
A phone number is just a phone number, right? Yes, when you’re dealing with humans that’s true. But a bot doesn’t understand that sometimes a phone number includes an area code. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance whether or not you will include the area code in your business phone number.
Your Business Website Address in Local Business Listings
Finally, you’ll need to decide how to list your business website URL in your local business listings. Some people like to include the entire address such as http://nancysdelionmainstreet. On the other hand, some people like to enter a simpler website address like nancysdelionmainstreet.com. However you do it is fine, just be sure to do it the same way every time.
As you can see, creating a free local business listing on a credible local business is important, but it’s the way you do it that will increase your business and sales. If you haven’t already created yours, go to FindUsLocal.com and take ten minutes to do this important local business marketing step.