The Importance of Proper “NAP” Citations
For local businesses, citations are not only good ways to acquire more leads, but are also signals that Google uses in their maps algorithm to decide whether your business is relevant to the search query that a potential customer typed in as well as being a deciding factor in making sure your businesses is located in the exact spot that you say you are.
Let me expand in a clearer and simpler manner.
The title says “NAP” which stands for Name – Address – Phone. And citations are “mentions” of your business on other websites and directories such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, Angie’s List, and MANY other websites which also have your NAP information. When you create business profiles on these sites, you need to give them exactly what Google is showing on your “Google My Business” (GMB) page (the page that shows up in Google on the right hand side when you search for your business).
So if your GMB page says “Jim’s Landscaping” whenever you build these citations, you need to make sure that you put your business name exactly as it shows in Google. For my example you wouldn’t want to make some citations as “Jim’s Landscaping Service” or “Jims Landscaping” (without the apostrophe in Jim) because Google’s algorithm will find those citations and start to think “wait, is that a different company now listed at the address of a different business? We don’t want to send our searchers to the wrong business, so instead of that, we just won’t show them in our results to cover our own butts.”
Another issue that I see more often than business name variances is inconsistent addresses. When you do a search for your business in Google, you will need to look at the address that they have for you (that is if you have a GMB page – if not, I’ll make a training on how to do that later), and make sure the address that you use when building these citations is the same as Google is showing. Let’s look at an example:
123 S. 45th St.
Big City, ST ZIP
There are small nuances in the above example that a lot of businesses mess up that lead to inconsistent address citations. Things like S. and St.—If Google is showing your business address as being St. (for street) when you are building citations you need to make sure you only put St. and not Street. The same thing applies for the S. for South. Check what Google is giving you, and go with it. Again, when Google’s algorithm is seeing inconsistencies they would rather not list your business than send someone that was on their site to the wrong location – that customer isn’t mad at your business – they’re mad at Google for having the “wrong information.”
So – how can you check if your citations are consistent and if you have any?
The first thing that I like to check out is how many business names/address MIGHT show up for my business – I use this URL to check that information: https://moz.com/local/overview When I plug in a business name, I should only see one result and one address for that business – if this is the case, yay! Your citations are probably very consistent and there are no issues with consistency.
The next question(s) you might have is “so then how many do I have? Where are they? How many do my competitors have and which ones do they have that I don’t?”
My favorite tool for these questions is from the website Whitespark.Ca – they have a “citation checker” that allows you to see what platforms your business is listed on as well as your competitors! If you can out-build your competitors, you can, in time, out-rank them. This website does cost $20/month – but since we are all about helping our members out, if you want to just shoot me a private message in Facebook with your business name, phone number, city, and zip I can run the report for you so you can save your money.
I can also send you a report or screenshot of how many citations your competitors have so you can start to get an idea about the work that you might need to start plugging away at.
Hopefully this helped! I talked a lot about the “GMB Page” today and am planning on my next article being about how to fully optimize your GMB page – another factor that will help you rank better in the Maps portion of Google.