When we began promoting local businesses in 2009, getting a site to the front page of a Google search was as simple as adding the shop to a handful of business directories. Nowadays, the local landscape is incredibly more complex and competitive. Data aggregators feed information to business directories, business directories share information with one another, listings create themselves, and to successfully compete, it’s necessary to add a shop to niche and industry-specific directories, as opposed to just the big names, like Yelp and YellowPages.
In today’s local SEO world, keeping an accurate and consistent local directory listing for your business is a must. Search engines like Google and Bing scan through listings from many different sources and use it to form a conclusion about your shop’s information. It’s important to understand that search engines and data aggregators don’t necessarily have a permanent database for Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) information. In this sense, local search is a sensitive ecosystem, where the relationships between different search engines, data aggregators, and business directories is constantly in flux. These types of sites collect data regularly, so just one or two incorrect or new listings can influence your overall search appearance. As a data aggregator, like Infogroup, pushes data to a business directory, like Citysearch, the information will eventually end up in your search engine results. Good SEO is all dependent on data consistency and trying to catch the mistakes as soon as possible.
Actively finding or creating your business directory listings and claiming them is an important step because it verifies that a) you are the owner of a valid business and b) you are authorized to manage its presence on the web. Each local business directory has its own claiming process with unique steps to verify a listing. The process could include filling out an online form, entering a phone verification code, or receiving and returning a postcard in a mail. In some cases, the changes you enter can become live almost instantaneously, while it’s common for others to take a few days or even a few weeks to generate visible results. With the way that business directories cross-pollinate information, a change to your NAP means that it’s necessary to go into every single directory and try to catch the wrong information before it spreads. If we allow the information to spread through the local ecosystem naturally and without interference, a site’s rankings will suffer tremendously from the copies of incorrect data floating about.
Our intervention requires a lot of time and careful nit-picking, but even our best efforts cannot prevent the loss of internet revenue during this period of limbo. Just imagine how this affects the shop’s workplace environment! It’s common for business directories to require a phone call verification, so that’s several dozen, highly disruptive automated calls a day, which takes valuable time away from the service writer and potential customers calling in. With that in mind, we strongly suggest that you implement changes to contact information only when absolutely necessary. And when you do, please inform us ahead of time, so we can make the transition as smooth as possible.
We’re happy to announce that on February 1st, we will be implementing a new procedure to help aid the overall claiming process for our existing shops and especially for our new clients. With our new management capabilities, we now have complete control over the listings of our shops in more than 250 business directories and data aggregators.
- A positive change in local rankings within one week of joining AutoVitals or updating any of the Name, Address or Phone number.
- Review Monitoring which notifies shop about all reviews left in all major business directories
- You can rest easy knowing that your contact info will always be listed correctly
- We can push holidays and promotions easily to all directories
- We will be able to push your best reviews to major social networks
As useful as our new tool is in aiding the claiming process and keeping pace with the evolution of the local search ecosystem, an important thing to keep in mind is that any retroactive changes to NAP data will always still affect a shop’s web presence!