Anyone with a local business knows the importance of showing up in local search results. As an example, I performed a search on Google for “st. louis car dealerships,” and this is what I got above the fold (which is the upper section visible on your screen without having to scroll). Notice that the only results above the fold are either local listings or paid ads? You want to do everything you can to make sure you are front and center in these results!
There are a lot of factors that go into local SEO that can help you rank in Google’s local search results. In this post, we are going to touch on just one of them: NAP consistency. NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. Having your business information consistent across the web can help with your local SEO rankings. Whether or not you have submitted your business to online directories, chances are you are listed in a lot of them across the web. Different variations of your business name, different phone numbers (for example, local vs. toll free), and addresses from old locations floating around can all negatively affect your local SEO efforts. Claiming and updating all of these listings is the first step to cleaning up your business information and ensuring consistency.
First, claiming your listing on Google Places is the best place to start. Then, you can start finding your other listings, and make sure they match your Google Places listing and your website NAP exactly. Two citation finders that will give you an idea of where you are currently listed are:
- Whitespark (they have a free version and a paid version)
- Yext (you can scan your business for free right from the home page)
There are also several big listings that are thought to feed Google, so they are also a good place to look:
In addition to checking for NAP accuracy and consistency, adding the correct categories, a good description of your business, photos, and offers can also help spice up your listings. Managing local listings can be a very time consuming process, but one well worth the effort.
As I mentioned above, there are a lot of factors that affect your local rankings. Check out this super-comprehensive article from Moz on the Top 20 Local Search Ranking Factors! For questions about local SEO, local paid search, or claiming your listings, contact our team!