A while back, last October as a matter of fact, I wrote a post that explained some of the basic details on how to put your Waukesha business on the map. That post primarily focused on search statistics and the continuing trend towards increased mobile usage by people who surf the web. These numbers are very important when it comes to the success or failure of your business’s online presence.
It dawned on me that these statistics and the principles surrounding maps and Geo relevance are relative – meaning that this information doesn’t just pertain to Waukesha businesses. These principles apply to businesses in Milwaukee, Chicago, and across the globe. Don’t let the title of this post lead you into thinking that if your business is located anywhere but Waukesha that this information does not apply to you. It applies to practically every business on the planet!
I admit that I originally planned to follow up with this second post much sooner, but ironically our local search services has me pretty busy helping several local and other businesses to achieve online success. Obviously, blogging about local search tips for businesses falls second to client needs, so four months later I’m finally getting back to this very important tutorial of sorts. Before I move ahead too quickly I want to briefly elaborate on exactly what local search is.
What is Local Search?
To put it in simple words:
“Local Search is the use of specialized Internet search engines that allow users to submit geographically targeted searches against a structured database of local business listings.” ~Source: Wikipedia
The operative term in this definition is “local business listings.” I say this because business directories are the primary sources that search engines harvest business information from to grade and display in their respective local search results.
As the example search illustration (below) shows, when you use your smartphone, tablet, or PC to search Google to find a business or restaurant, or to get directions to some place or event, “local search” algorithms target your geographical location and serve up local business results based on your current location.
“Click” image for search results near your location
The Importance of Business “NAP” Data
Business information in local business listings is comprised of three primary elements, otherwise referred to as “NAP” Data. The NAP acronym stands for: Name, Address, Phone Number.
Although there are literally hundreds and thousands of business listing directories, only a few “select business directories” are used by search engines to gather local business information. These select directories have demonstrated credibility, authenticity, and trust. Some of the obvious ones are Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Other trusted directories include Acxiom, Localeze, and Infogroup, to name a few.
As you may have gathered so far, it is very important to have your business listed in the “select” business directories if you want your business to show up in the top local search results. However, there’s a bit more to listing your business in these directories than simply submitting business information to them.
Generally there are two ways to submit your business information to the large NAP aggregators.
- By subscribing to a third party vendor (Usually very expensive), or
- Having it done by a Local Search service provider, such as Liberty Web Marketing.
Having your business rank in the top pack of local search results can mean the difference between your business being a success or failure.
Consistency is Key!
Having impeccable consistency in NAP data across directory aggregators is the key to success in local search. Achieving this is a lot easier said than done, however. Getting your business in the top seven pack takes considerable work that is better left to experts that know what they are doing.
Can I Submit My own Business NAP Data to Directories?
Of course the answer to this question is yes. Many small business owners want to save a few bucks and they attempt to do this on their own. Unfortunately many mistakes are made, and it takes weeks, months, and even as long as one year to correct mistakes.
It’s important to understand that getting everything “perfectly correct” the first time you submit your business NAP Data to aggregators is critical! One simple mistake like using “street” in one directory, and “st” in another, can mean the difference in ranking in the seven pack or not.
Before submitting your business NAP data to directories, it is very important to research your business information across various NAP aggregators to make certain that you use the correct NAP information from the onset. Abbreviations, proper categorization, and location are a few key things to stratgize. It’s also important to make certain that your business pin marker is located correctly across all major map providers.
Getting your business listed in quality, select business directories with consistent NAP data will substantially put your business at an advantage in local search.
In our next segment on local search I will go through some of the ways you check check your business’ NAP data for consistency, and also whether there are any duplicate listings hampering your local search presence.
If you’re interested in improving the local search presence of your business in Waukesha, trust the experts at Liberty Web Marketing! Call 262-993-1562 for a free consultation.