Why having a consistent, accurate business profile is crucial for your local business ranking
If you want your site to ranking highly in search engines – particularly in your geographic area – then having a consistent, accurate business profile is crucial. You want your business data to line up across the web – your address, phone number, location and all other details.
If it doesn’t or search engines find conflicting data, your search rankings will suffer. You may even have listings competing against each other or, what’s worse, have incorrect listings out-perform your more important, accurate web properties. And that’s not a recipe for success at all.
The Important of Your NAP/NAP+W
Your NAP, or name address and phone, is the virtual “thumbprint” of your business. It’s also often called NAP+W, or name, address, phone and website.
Search engines find NAP information by crawling the web or receiving data from other sites and providers on the web. They then use this information to determine the accuracy of their own indexes. If the information they’ve indexed doesn’t match up, it could mean lower search rankings and less traffic for those sites. If the information is consistent, it can give rankings a boost instantly.
Before you put your address, phone number or contact information anywhere on the web, you should sit down and decide on consistent data for all of these points. Which phone number will you use? Will you list your franchise location or the address for your headquarters? How do you want your company name listed?
If your business is new or you are just not sure what address or phone to use, wait a while. You don’t want to start listing your business data, only to have it change in a few weeks or months. This could mean bad things for your site’s search rankings (plus it’s pretty time-consuming to update this info, too).
Managing Your NAP
Now that you know what NAP is and how it can affect your site, it’s important to assess the current state of your NAP information. Is it consistent across all sources? Is it still correct and accurate?
You’ll want to be sure and check out:
- Your website – Your NAP information should be on each and every page of your website. To make this easy, just include it in your footer or header. These are standard parts of each page’s design, and they can help ensure consistency throughout.
- Your domain registrant data – Log into your domain provider, and look at the information on your profile. This should be accurate and consistent with other listings (including your website), and it should be public. If you have domain privacy enabled, you’ll want to disable this. Although there are some advantages to using domain privacy, the truth is it can impact your search rankings negatively. Search engines may even think you’re a spammer or your business is untrustworthy if it can’t find valid contact info.
- Your old online listings – Type your business name into the search (or type in your phone number) and see what comes up. If you’re listed on dozens of other sites, and the information is out-of-date or inaccurate, there’s a problem. You’ll have to go through these one by one, updating the data until it’s consistent with your other listings. This may require resetting a few passwords if the accounts are particularly out of date.
When updating your NAP info, there are some important things to keep in mind. First, Google has very strict guidelines for business data. If you want to create a Google Business listing (which you should), it needs to have a precise address – not just a broad city name, a P.O. box or cross-street. Additionally, any phone numbers listed must have a local area code. They can’t be 1-800 or 1-900 numbers.
If you’ve got a Google Business Listing, or plan to start one, you’ll want to make sure all other instances of NAP data across the web are consistent with this information, otherwise you could have an issue.