One of the quickest ways to lose a customer is to send them to the wrong location or to give them the wrong phone number.
Make sure your customers are given accurate information by providing correct name, address, and phone number (NAP) data in listing directories.
If your NAP info isn’t correct in listing directories then your customers may be given the wrong phone number or be sent to the wrong address, or your location may not get listed in local SEO at all.
Don’t lose your customers! Make sure your NAP info is correct everywhere.
Before you can correct any discrepancies, you need to know that those discrepancies exist. Let’s learn how!
There are hundreds of directories where your site can be listed, but (correctly) placing your business in the top fifty is usually recommended.
Even this can seem like an impossible number of listings to check and correct, but cleaning up your business’s NAP data is one of the most important things you can do.
Studies show that 68% of all searches use the “get directions” feature, and 76% of searches result in a phone call. Providing incorrect NAP info means driving a lot of traffic away from your business.
This isn’t an overnight process, but the returns on your time are well worth the effort. We recommend starting with the big names on the list, and then slowly working your way down to the rest over time.
Here’s a list of some of the biggest sources of data about your business. Make sure these sites are correct first, and then worry about the other players.
The big search engines (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) all pull data from these sites, so getting your NAP info correct there will go a long way towards making sure your customers can find you.
Keep social media in mind during all of this (especially Google+). Make sure your NAP info is correct there as well.
Remember, consistency is key! Make sure the business name, address, and phone numbers are exactly the same everywhere.
If you have multiple locations, create individual web pages and directory listings for each (we’ll talk more about the specifics of multiple locations in a later post).
Your business may be listed several different ways in a directory. If the NAP info is slightly off, the directory will list it as a separate business.
You’ll need to find all the variations in a directory in order to correct, combine, or delete the listings.
Don’t forget about old or outdated information when you’re searching for these citations. If your business has ever used a different name or phone number make sure you search for that, and try different variations of your current business name.
Leaving out certain parts of the name might yield more results in a search. Burgerville Bar & Grille might be listed as Burgerville Bar & Grill, Burgerville Bar, or just Burgerville.
Old phone numbers should be searched as well. If you used toll-free numbers, local numbers, call tracking numbers, etc… all of these should be checked.
Your address can be another tricky point here. Make sure to try different versions of your address when you’re searching. For example, if your address is 123 Fake St. North, Suite #45, try searching for 123 Fake St.
A narrow search might exclude results, but a wider net will catch them all (not all variations matter here. Street, St., and St all work the same, so don’t waste time trying every version).
Once you’ve found your business, keep searching! Putting a minus sign ahead of a known name or number in quotes can reveal any other names or phone numbers you missed.
- Burgerville -”123-456-7891” -”321-654-1987” will exclude those known phone numbers, possibly revealing new numbers associated with that name.
- 123-456-7891 -”Burgerville Bar & Grille” -”Burgerville Bar & Grill” will exclude those names and show new variations associated with that phone number.
Keep updating your list and trying again, and once you’ve exhausted the possibilities you should have a fairly complete list of your business’s citations.
Claim to Fame
Once you’ve found yourself, the next step is making sure the information in these citations is consistent and correct. If the listing is owned by your business, then it’s a straightforward process. All you need to do is login and change the listing information or suggest an edit (depending on the site).
If the listing isn’t claimed or controlled by you, then it can get more complicated. Unclaimed or uncontrolled listings of your business can happen for many reasons, like having a third party manage your social media or through automatic page creation.
Whatever the reason, you’ll need to gain control of the listing. This usually involves contacting the company and proving that you are an official representative of the business. Many sites will have a “claim this page” link to begin this process.
If the site is claimed by someone else, you’ll need to contact the listing company to find out the process for transferring the listing.
There may be duplicate listings for the same business on the same site, as well. Again, you will need to claim these duplicates and delete the unwanted listings.
On some sites (like Facebook) it’s possible to merge pages. This may or may not be worth the trouble, and deleting the unwanted pages may be the best route.
If an unofficial page is generating good traffic, you probably want to merge it with yours if possible to take advantage of the traffic.
If your business has closed locations or moved locations, these listings need to be dealt with, too. Claim these and delete them, or let the listing directory know that the location is no longer active.
While you’re there, make sure your listing is 100% complete. Write a description of your business with location keywords included, include your URL (for location pages if you have multiple locations), and don’t forget to choose categories!
Ratings and Reviews
Many of these listing directories allow customers to rate your business and leave reviews. If you’re not aware of these places or aren’t participating in them, then bad reviews go unnoticed and any chance to turn a negative into a positive is gone.
Of course everyone wants positive reviews, but negative reviews can be good for business too. Bad reviews provide you with an opportunity to engage (politely) with the reviewer and allows you to make the situation right. This shows readers that you stand by your product and care about your customers.
These reviews also affect SEO. Search engines use ratings to help rank websites, and can sometimes use ratings and reviews in search results detailed on the top right of a SERP.
You can even use schema markups to add star ratings to rich snippets in the search results. This can be a big help with your CTR.
However, knowing how to deal with negative reviews means nothing if you don’t know those reviews exist. This makes it even more important to claim, correct, and monitor your listings.
Finding and claiming listings and correcting listing information can go a long way towards helping customers find your business in the digital realm and in real life. It’s your business, make sure it’s represented correctly wherever you’re found!