Alternatives for Correcting Your Local Citation NAP
Helping businesses with their local SEO can produce great results. But there are times when the effort causes a huge headache. One glaring example is needing to correct inconsistencies when you don’t have access to existing listing accounts. Maybe the business owner no longer has the email address that you need. Or perhaps an ex-employee created the account and failed to share the information.
Change is a constant part of just about any business. Phone numbers get updated. People get new email addresses and stop using old ones. And the older the business, the more likely there’s inconsistent information floating around. You can safely assume there are at least a few listings that aren’t correct. This is bad news for a business because the name, address, and phone number (NAP) should always provide the correct information. But how can you fix a local citations if you don’t have access to the account that created it?
Dealing with Local Citations
A business citation is any online mention of a business name, phone number, address, or website. Good citations are great for business, as they boost local search visibility. The more positive citations a business has, the more value search engines assign to that company. Each positive mention is basically an endorsement. And that’s valuable for small business owners.
It’s relatively easy to build or earn local citations. They’re also important for attracting local customers or clients. The best citations are those provided by positive customer or client reviews. Good citations can also come from articles or blogs that discuss the business in a positive manner. But there are also local listing sites and online directories that allow business owners to post their information.
Getting listed is usually as simple as creating an account and entering the business information. The option may also exist to verify or update existing information. That’s great, unless you don’t have access to modify the listing. It’s not impossible to access the information you need, but it’s not necessarily easy either.
Understanding Local Search Citations
Local search citations include numerous interactions between data sources. Directories and authority websites sit at the top, publishing business data that gets picked up and republished by other websites. That means one listing can get picked up and shared all over the internet. The problem is that the listing getting shared and republished could contain incorrect information.
Locating Erroneous Citations
Finding inconsistencies takes a bit of detective work. Using Google, search for the business name, city, and phone number. Search in Google Maps as well. View the results. Look for outdated information that needs correcting. Note what needs updating and where the inconsistency appears. It’s time consuming but worth the effort.
You can possibly save time by using websites such as Synup, Moz Local, or Universal Business Listing. Just enter the business name and see what pops up. The Chrome browser extension, NAP Hunter, can save time as well. This extension performs searches and then downloads the information to a .csv file. But you must use the Chrome browser in order to use the extension. So if you generally use a different browser, remember to switch to Chrome when you need the extension.
After you’ve compiled your list, you can start making corrections. There are generally two ways to perform this task: manually or systematically.
Performing Manual Corrections
It’s sometimes possible to correct citations even without access to profiles and pages. That’s an important feature of any good web directory. Business information often changes, and it only makes sense that business owners have options for updating their information. An option to make manual suggestions or to claim and verify a listing is beneficial to business owners and web directories.
There are usually several possible ways to make manual corrections. When you find errors, look on the page for an option to submit corrections. You might see a prompt that says “claim this listing,” “submit corrections,” or maybe something like “do you own this business.” To claim or verify the listing, you may need to submit your request in writing or by phone.
You may also need to answer a series of questions or respond via direct mail. In short, you need proof that you have permission to edit the information. There is a Synup guide that provides more information on how to manually claim a listing.
Prioritize your list of inconsistencies based on where they appear. If the website is one that republishes information, then place it high on your list. It’s important to correct listings appearing on websites that share the information.
When making corrections, save the information about where each citation appears. Keep a note of any new logins and any citations that you weren’t able to update. Save this information for future use by yourself or someone else. To make things easier, save the information in a spreadsheet or text file. Put it someplace you can easily access when the time arises.
Make Corrections Systematically
It was once a hassle to correct a local search profile. Storing logins for several directories, logging into each profile, and making the necessary changes took a lot of time. In short, everything required a manual update. You can still do manual updates, but unlike in days past, things have evolved to make the process easier.
There are reporting and publishing tools that simplify the process of correcting and updating citations. This means it’s possible to fix a listing without manually logging into each directory. Publishing and reporting tools such as Moz Local, Bright Local, Single Platform, Whitespark, and Advice Local submit business information to major data aggregators.
Once the data aggregator receives the information, it’s then shared across the internet. So instead of visiting several websites, you simply submit your update to your chosen reporting or publishing tool. If you prefer handling the situation manually, you may have the option for a fee. Or perhaps you’d like a combination of both approaches. Most people prefer the systematic approach, as it usually takes less time.
The changes you make are not automatically shared. For example, if you submit a correction to Moz Local, the correction won’t automatically appear across the internet. The sharing of new information takes time. So your update might take months to make its way across the web. You can track your changes to see how quickly the updates take effect. Any tool that helps track your NAP presence can help.
Local NAP citations are important for any business even a dispensary. It’s worth the effort to make sure the correct information is shared. Do you have any tips for correcting local NAP citations? Feel free to share!