Local search engine optimization (SEO) can be tricky. Not only do you have to do all the customary SEO stuff, but then you have to do a new layer of complex SEO activities. Most tech-savvy local-business owners have a decent idea of how to do local SEO, but diving to a deeper level can get confusing.

My Local Services

For example, most people think that in order to have successful local SEO, you must have directory listings. This is true — to a point. First, though, you have to make sure that several other things are in order. (Directory listings don’t come first in local SEO.)

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In order to address some of these major issues, I’ve explained the top five things that most people forget about local SEO.

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If you want local search traffic, you need to make sure that you go through each of the five issues in this article. What you’re about to read could be a huge boon for your local SEO.

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Why Do You Need N.A.P. For Your Local Business?

If you are a local or regional business, it can sometimes be disheartening fighting against larger companies, like Amazon or Ebay.

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However, you’ve got the power where they don’t: your physical location. You can rock that local listing!

What are N.A.P. Listings?

There isn’t anything fancy about it, but it can have a huge impact on your local SEO rankings. Your N.A.P. information is comprised of your organization’s name, address and phone number.

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This information is typically listed somewhere on your website (i.e. your contact page) and on other sites such as Yelp or Merchant Circle.

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Where to Place N.A.P. Information

netowrkFirst of all, you’ll want to make sure that Google can “read” your N.A.P. information (a.k.a. it’s crawlable).

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This means you’ll want to make sure that this information is actual text, not an image with text on it because Google cannot “read” or see images like we do as users.

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On this citation, the phone number is listed and the address matches – everything is accurate now, but not completely consistent. This citation is using dashes instead of dots for the phone number.

One thing that is absolutely wonderful about both of these examples is that they are both from highly local resources.

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Many of those providers make money by selling this data as leads or as a data feed to other companies.

InfoGroup is one such company and you can actually buy business leads directly from them.

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Own your online identity: your information is saved to a personalized mobile-friendly webcard so you can see how your master business profile appears across the web and make changes at any time.

Vote for the Best

Measurable results: follow-up visibility reports show how your online presence has grown with your listings and rate the relative SEO value of each profile so you know where to focus your marketing efforts.

Where To

Gain the favor of search engines: be rewarded with a top position in search engine results with consistent directory profiles and up-to-date contact information.

Why are citations such an important ranking factor?

In lieu of having to manually review business information for millions of companies, Google uses data points it can process programmatically to determine your rankings.

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When determining how you rank in local results, Google scans the web for mentions of your business name, address, phone number, website URL, and several other data points.

It then compares that information to other data sources, including the major data providers and possibly even post office records, state business filings, and telephone records.

Yahoo Local

Both sites are about things to do within Columbus, where the cafe is found. You need to get these hyper-centric citations.

How business data is distributed

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There are data companies that collect, verify, and distribute business data for companies all around the world. When a business is started, its information eventually finds its way into this business data ecosystem.