The fundamentals of Google Maps Optimization (NAP, Citations, Consistency and Reviews)
Getting listed on the first page of the Google Map for “Your City + Service” comes down to 3 primary factors:
- Having an optimized Google My Business listing (Formerly Places) listing for the area that you operate in
- Having a consistent N.A.P. (Name, Address, Phone Number Profile) across the web so that Google feels confident that you are a legitimate organization located in the place you have listed and serving the market you claim to serve.
- Having reviews from your customers in your service area
If you have each of these 3 factors working in your favor you will SIGNIFICANTLY improve the probability of ranking on page one of Google Maps in your market.
How to establish a strong Name, Address, Phone Number Profile
As I mentioned above, having a consistent Name, Address, Phone Number Profile across the web is essential for ranking well on Google Maps in your area. Google sees it as a signal of authority.
Rather than jumping directly into claiming your Google Map listing and citation-building, it’s critical that you start by determining your true N.A.P. so that you can ensure that it is referenced consistently across the web.
When I say making sure that it’s consistent, you want to be certain that you are always referencing the legitimate name for your business. If your company’s name is “Bob’s Legal Company”, you must always list it as “Bob’s Legal Company,” as opposed to just “Bob’s Legal.”
The other thing you should be aware of is that there is a lot of misinformation about how to list your company name online. You may read information suggesting that you keyword your name. For example, if your name is “Bob’s Legal,” somebody might tell you it would be really smart if you just added to the title of your company “Bob’s Legal | Dallas Law Firm” for instance. While that may have worked back in the day, it’s no longer an effective strategy. It’s actually a violation of Google’s policies and procedures. Make sure you list your exact company name the same way across the board on all of your directory sources. Also, make sure that you use the same phone number in all of those places. I’m a big advocate for tracking phone numbers and what is happening with your marketing. But, when it comes to your online directory listings, you want to use your primary business phone number that you’ve been using from the beginning.
Don’t try to create some unique number for each one of your directories. What that does is confuses your name/address profile. It will hurt you. Use your primary phone number in all of those places, use your exact company name, and use your principal address, written the same way. If your business is located at “1367 South West 87th Street, Suite Number 105,″ make sure you list it just like that every single time. Don’t neglect to include the suite in one place and then put it on in another. Don’t spell out “South West” in one place and put “SW” in the other. We are driving for a consistent name/address profile across the web.
A good way to figure out what Google considers to be your N.A.P. is to run a search on Google for “Your Company” and see what is being referenced on the Google Map. See how that compares to the other high authority sites like YP.com, Yelp.com, Angie’s List and others. Look for the predominant combination of N.A.P. and reference that for all your directory work going forward.