The Importance of Consistent NAP Listings for Local SEO
Guest post by Daniel Deelstra from The Marketing Mix
Local search is becoming increasingly important for today’s local businesses.
More customers than ever before are using online methods to research information about local products and services. For small to medium businesses the local snack pack is a valuable piece of real estate.
Studies by Moz show the top 3 local listings receive the majority of clicks for local search queries, often out-competing organic and paid listings. Since Google changed the local listing from 7 results to 3 in 2015 many local businesses have experienced a drop in local search traffic. Like many aspects of SEO, achieving top rankings takes a little persistence and work.
This article will discuss the importance of consistent local citations and how to correct your local citation problems.
But What Exactly is a Citation?
A citation is simply a mention of your businesses name, address and phone number (NAP) on the web. The most common form of citation occurs in local business directories such as goguide and industry specific directories. Citations also occur in blog posts, government sites and other web articles.
Why Do Search Engines Prefer Citation Consistency?
One of the common problems for local citations is incorrect information. Once businesses have been operating for a number of years they may change phone number, address or even their name.
This creates a problem for Google as previous citations may not reflect the current NAP details.
The first step when changing a NAP detail is to place the correct information in your Google My Business listing.
However, this is not enough!
Google looks at citations across the web to verify that the information on your Google My Business listing is correct. Having inconsistent citations creates a trust issue for Google, as Google wants to provide correct and most useful information to its users.
Google can’t trust the information provided on the business page if there are multiple citations across the web stating conflicting information. To correct this trust issue, as many of the incorrect citations as possible must be changed to reflect the current NAP details.
So how to you fix a local citation issue?
Unfortunately, there is no easy, one-click way to do this. It’s simply a matter of using Google and other search operators to search the web for incorrect listings. Firstly, create a list of all the previous names, addresses and phone numbers the business has had, then canvas Google for listings. The aim of the game is to put in combinations for the old details to find the old incorrect listings.
For example to find directory listings mentioning your business try the search operators:
“Business name” + “directory”
“Business name” + “add site”
“Business name” + “add free listing”
If you have an old address, name or phone number you can find listings using:
“Business name” + “old phone number”
“Business name” + “old address”
“Old business name” + “current address”
As you go you should compile your incorrect citations in a spreadsheet to keep track of your work. Then it’s simply a matter of contacting the webmaster or logging into the sites to correct the details.
This can be a time-consuming process for the business owner so you may wish to outsource this to a local SEO consultant. Once this is done you should hopefully see your business map listing improve. Once you have all your local citations done, move on to other areas such as gaining Google reviews, links and more citations to boost your ranking to the top of the local pack.
Daniel Deelstra is a keen digital marketer, SEO and entrepreneur from Perth based agency The Marketing Mix Daniel is passionate about business growth using all digital marketing channels. Always scoping for innovative ways to communicate with customers, and provide engaging content, Daniel loves nothing more than driving sales through qualified web traffic and leads.