It’s no secret that effective small business SEO is important. However, it can be a difficult thing to understand. There are a lot of different factors that go into your SEO strategy, and there are many misconceptions and misunderstandings about what is important and what isn’t. The rules for local SEO aren’t the same as for organic SEO. Your local SEO is one of your most important marketing strategies, but where do you start? You should start with your NAP!
NAP is an acronym that stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. Additionally, your website URL is part of your NAP too. Your NAP is one of the most critical parts of your local SEO campaign. When Google’s algorithm determines your rankings, they look at your NAP’s consistency.
Your NAP appears on your business citations across the web. Your business citations are listings on websites like Yelp, Facebook, Yellowpages, and many other business directories. Google wants to make sure the business information their searchers see is accurate and reliable. For this reason, Google’s algorithm looks at your NAP citations to make sure the information is consistent. If your listings don't agree with each other about your business, Google won’t want to recommend your business to searchers. Without a consistent NAP, effective small business SEO because impossible.
The best way to make sure your NAP is consistent is to start from the beginning. When you’re putting your information on the internet there are certain websites that give other websites their information. These are called data aggregators and include sites like Infogroup and Neustar. These companies usually have strict requirements to make sure you’re providing accurate data for your business. As a consequence, Google trusts these websites and websites that get their information from these aggregators more than others.
Making sure you’re putting the right information out in the first place will prevent a lot of headaches in the future. If your NAP information has errors and becomes inconsistent it is a lot of work to fix. Additionally, because so many websites borrow information from each other, bad data about your website spreads fast.
If you or your SEO company made a mistake when creating your NAP citations, the road ahead of you is difficult. Even so, don’t fret, you can fix this and get back on the track to effective small business SEO. In order to fix your NAP, you’re going to have to fix it on each individual site where an error appears, as well as all the big data providers. This is a lot more time consuming than if there was never a problem in the first place, but it’s not to be overlooked.
If you’ve hired an SEO company, and you’re not sure they’re a right fit, you may want to make sure they’re not making these common mistakes that will tank your NAP. Look out for “landing pages”, which are microsites designed as an advertisement. Inexperienced SEO firms will create these landing pages, and add them to your google+ listing, as well as creating citations using that website. Google does not like sending users to separate single page websites and this will hurt your rankings.
In addition to landing pages, many SEO firms will use tracking phone numbers on their landing pages and citations. Tracking numbers are virtual phone numbers that redirect to your main phone number. This allows the SEO firms to provide detailed analytics on the phone calls you receive. While this sounds like a positive, tracking phone numbers will wreak havoc on your NAP. All things considered, your additional analytics are not worth messing up your NAP.
Robert Portillo is the founder of Nimbus Marketing. Nothing satisfies him more than expressing his thoughts well. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two sons. He can often be found at local farmer’s markets, hiking trails, and the beach.