The team at The Disclosure is excited to bring you a brand new content series! Each week we’ll take a deep dive into a helpful SEO hack that will help you and your business stand out from the rest of the online crowd.
In case the phrase “SEO” is just a jumble of letters to you, this ever-mysterious acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization, “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” If you’re interested in learning a little bit more about the specifics, this introduction to SEO from MOZ is an immensely helpful resource — and a great place to gain some basic SEO knowledge.
Without further ado, read on for our SEO hack of the week!
Keep Your NAP Consistent
Wait, what? Another acronym?
Another acronym indeed, but this one’s pretty easy: NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number.
The NAP for your and your business has almost certainly spread across the internet already: Whether it’s an old Facebook post, a piece about your business on the local news’ website, or the “Contact” page on your own website, your contact information is everywhere, and search engines have been keeping track every time your information is posted again.
Put simply, your NAP is crucial to your ranking on Google. Consistent contact information reinforces your authority in Google’s eyes, and any inconsistent or incomplete instances of your NAP across the web can have disastrous effects on your business’s SEO ranking.
For example, let’s say your full address is:
123 Main Street
But you’ve just found an article online that lists your address as:
123 Main Street
The differences between these two addresses may seem small to you and me, but to Google, the discrepancies between these two addresses are suspicious. The more instances of “suspicious” discrepancies in your NAP, the lower your rank on Google.
Great. What now?
Making sure your NAP is consistent isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely essential to building both your business and your SEO efforts.
To start, take stock of any and all business names, addresses, and phone numbers you’ve had over the years. If any of your information has changed over time, be sure to update it everywhere: Your website, your social media profiles, and your Google Business Profile are all great places to start. Keep in mind that If you update the contact information on your Google Business Profile, you’ll have to go through the process of re-verifying your business, which may take several weeks.
Once you’ve updated your information in easy-to-access places, take a moment to run your business through this local SEO tool from Moz.
Just enter the required information and Moz will present you with a list of listings for your business across the internet.
From this screen, you can scroll through your business’s presence on nearly all major internet-based directories, allowing you to figure out which sites (if any) are responsible for your NAP inconsistencies.
Once you’ve identified which sites have incorrect information, it’s time to reach out. Many of these sites will give you the option to edit your information, but in some cases, you may have to contact the site’s owner directly in order to edit your information.
It may be a frustratingly manual process, but by correcting any NAP inconsistencies you find online, you’re ensuring that you and your business will get the search engine traffic you deserve.