local  SEO & marketing lessonsSEO is a tough business. Whether you do it yourself or hire it out, you’ve got to be smart to stay on top of things and savvy to keep from getting scammed. You’re dealing with brainy, crafty and otherwise very impressive individuals whose job it is to stay current with one of the fastest-moving industries ever to hit the planet.
So it will surprise you to learn that some of the most basic elements of winning at local SEO are things your Kindergarten teacher taught you.

It’s Called NAP, and You Learned About it in Kindergarten

Nope, we’re not talking about quiet time after lunch, where kids line up their cots and take a snooze. Although napping has been found to increase productivity at work, it’s hardly a direct lesson in marketing!

This is about the other kind of NAP: Name, Address, Phone number. As one of the basic tenets of kindergarten curricula, identity information was drilled into us by our teachers until we got it right. Spell your name, learn your address, and memorize your phone number.

Such elementary stuff.

Of course name, address and phone number form the primary means of identification for schoolkids, but it’s vital info for all sorts of things: letters, packages, …and now (more to the point) also your website in the local listings.

Name, Address & Phone…Get it Right or Fail

Just as you might fail at Kindergarten for not learning your NAP, you might fail at local SEO if your business’s NAP is wrong across the internet. You see, when search engines return local results for a search, one major factor in who gets to rank highest has to do with NAP consistency. If the search engines find different names, address, and phone numbers all over the internet for your business, they get a little wary.

Don’t these guys know their own name/address/phone number? What gives?

Think about it: if you were looking to hire a plumber and you found one but he seemed to have 12 different addresses listed across various old phone books you have, wouldn’t you sense that something was up?

NAP Consistency is Vital to Your Local Marketing Strategy

How does Nap inconsistency happen, anyway? One reason is because business directories often pull data from difference sources and then publish them for the search engines to crawl. The conflicting information gets sucked up and recirculates forever unless you correct it.

Some of the major sources for business data in UK are Yelp.co.uk, Yell.com, Foursquare.com, TopPages.co.uk, and even your local Chamber of Commerce. You’ll have to do the following in order to achieve consistency:

  1. Create accounts with all of them.
  2. Claim your business listing.
  3. Correct any errors you find.

Only then can you begin the long journey toward fixing your NAP.

There Is Hope

By ensuring that your business name, address and phone numbers are correct across the major online business directories, you’ve done a lot towards improving your local search engine rankings. Remember: it’s name, address, phone…just like your Kindergarten teacher taught you.