Saturday, July 14, 2012

Top Ten Ranking Factors for Google+ Local, Google Places - NAP Continuity Across the WebYC

Company Name, Address, and Phone Number Must be the Same Everywhere - Google+ Local Ranking

In my 40+ years in business, I can't ever remember a time when people were confused about the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of their business.  For better or worse, many, many businesses have felt the need to fudge on their names and addresses in order to gin up rankings on the net.  The result of pushing envelopes has often led to confusion by companies as they post various names and addresses even within their own website. 

Google, the kingpin of search, looks at a phone number as being like the company's social security number.  They prefer local companies to identify using a local number, and they see every address as a place, not your place, just a place.  They surprisingly believe that your company name should be the same name that appears on your business license, corporate records, and tax return. 

It is legal and reasonable to also have a dba (doing business as) associated with a corporation, a proprietorship, or partnership.  But a dba should be filed, and then activities of the dba should be consistently reported as such with invoicing, purchasing, and other transactions for that dba being under the name of that dba. 

I have stated elsewhere that deciding to change your company name may be an excellent idea, and I've even suggested you could get away with a slight modification to your name to include a keyword.  However, I have always further stated that it would be far better to make the change legal. 

Now, the real meat and potatoes of this post is that you need whatever name address and phone number you use to be absolutely the same everywhere.  Obviously if you have multiple locations, you will have multiple addresses and potentially multiple phone numbers.  Each location that you hope to rank well on Google Places or Google+ Local will need to have its own listing, and there will need to be citations supporting that location with the identical NAP.  Identical means that even things like abbreviations like St will always be in that form, not sometimes St. and sometimes Street. 

Within your website, it needs to always be the same.  Don't abbreviate the name of the business in the text. 

It is entirely possible that others will list your NAP incorrectly or use an old version, and that these versions will circulate for months or even years.  Do a search for your name and see what comes up.  Do a search for your phone number and see what the results look like.  You might also want to do a search for old NAP's or old variations.  If you find incorrect versions, get them changed. 

1 comment:

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