Locally there’s one problem businesses often face, especially when they are new to the scene. Google wants to see accurate and consistent information – in order for it to give its users the very best results, Google likes to fully understand the businesses in its search. Google combs the web looking for the details of a business’s NAP – name, address and phone number. It checks your website, third party apps and local directories for their most up-to-date company information. If any of your information is incorrect, even if it’s something as small as the misspelling of your road name, it can compromise your results. A ConstantContact survey tells us that half of all small businesses realize that they have inaccurate listings but never update them.
In addition to searching for ways to spring clean your social media accounts, you want to make sure your local SEO is clean. Start by tidying up your local citations. Find every occurrence of your business’s NAP information on the web. Ensure its accuracy and make corrections as needed if possible – not doing so is one of many roadblocks to growing your business. Here’s how to clean up your local citations for free:
Find where your company is listed.
Several services exist that will tell you the places where your local information is listed. Use Moz – it can show you how your business appears in Google, Bing and other citation sources. Yext also offers users a tool that can check other big name directories. If you update your information in the most significant sources, the others will likely find their discrepancies and make corrections as needed.
Set a standard.
Start by making a firm decision about the formatting of your NAP information – and how you want your company to be categorized. It’s best to be precise with this category to eliminate a lot of the competition. If you aren’t sure how to do this, opt for a format that’s already listed on your site and go with it. Ensure everyone in your company uses that format when they present or use information on your company.
Make it a point to update your profiles and accounts.
Most third party information apps allow you to create a profile for your business so you can update your information and take the time to respond to local reviews.
If you come across entries with conflicting information, create your profile and correct those errors as needed. Sometimes you may come across a source that requires a more inclusive process such as drafting a letter stating the discrepancy and requesting an entry update.
Google, and other third party apps, does not change your information overnight. After you’ve updated or requested an update of your information, it may still be weeks before any action is taken. Set a date to follow up in the future – think about six weeks out. When the time comes, run another citation audit and see where you stand. Follow up on sources that haven’t updated your business information.
When all of your local information appears to be accurate, you can begin your local SEO work. Log into local profiles to read new reviews and respond to those as needed. Encourage your customers to post reviews and share information about local events so you can earn yourself a local presence. Your goals should concentrate on keeping your customers happy and getting your name out in the community. If you do that with a clean NAP profile, your rankings will rise in time.
Have you taken the time to clean up your local SEO?