How Entrepreneurs Hurt SEO
One thing that I’ve noticed about entrepreneurs is that they have the strength to think up possibilities and try them out. While this can be a major strength as a business owner, it can turn a small business web presence into a scattered and inconsistent set of online assets that harm your citation and name-address-phone number consistency.
When it comes to local SEO, one of the most important and simple factors is a consistent name, address, and phone number: also known as a NAP. The idea is that you need to have the same exact same business name, address, phone number, email, and all other logistical factors on every single digital footprint that you have.
NAP: An acronym used in search engine optimization to stand for “name, address, phone number.” NAPs play an essential role in local SEO.
Entrepreneurs have this nasty little habit of opening up different Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, Google My Business pages, and email accounts. That makes for a giant digital mess in terms of a NAP.
To understand that better, consider a very simple example involving a business name.
Here are two examples of the same business name:
FeedbackWrench Web Design, SEO, and Marketing.
Now imagine that your website, Facebook page, Google My Business page, Yellow Pages, Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, BNI, and all your other digital footprints were inconsistent.
This sounds silly, but this is a very big deal to Google when it comes to local SEO. You need to have a consistent name, address, and phone number to help cut through all of the noise. Don’t use “Lawn Cutters LLC” and “Lawn Cutters Company” in two different places to describe the same business – this will create a whole bunch of unnecessary confusion.
To beat the NAP blues, try following these three steps.
1 – Unravel the Headphones of NAP and Web Assets
We all know what happens to headphones when they are stuck in your pocket. No matter what, they end up twisted, tangled, and knotted.
Every business owner needs to do an audit of their citations and online assets to find out which name, address, phone number, website, and other logistical information has been put into it.
Moz Local has a great tool to find inconsistencies and identify all the different citation sources you might have across the internet.
2 – Commit to “Measure Twice, Cut Once”
This seems simple, but commit to never opening a new social media account, website, email account, or any other digital asset or online citation without ensuring that you have a name, address, and phone number that serves as an exact match for what is pre-existing on the internet. In fact, this is true for any logistical information.
This is important because there are constantly new social media and digital platforms that business owners can and want to use.
If you ever change your business name, phone number, or address, make sure you go to every single place that your company might be listed on the internet so that you can ensure everything stays accurate, up to date, and consistent.
3 – REMEMBER YOU HAVE A DOPPELGÄNGER
Is it weird to think that there are probably people across the world that look almost identical to you?
I constantly have people walk up to me and say that they saw me somewhere that I know I have not been recently. I always laugh because I can just imagine the giant Scandinavian guy that they saw, because they were the people I played football and basketball with for years in high school.
Those of us who are local small businesses must remember that somewhere across the country or world, there will be somebody who uses our same business name at some point over the next 25 to 30 years. If you do not lay an absolutely precise footprint of digital assets, you may experience some trouble.
For example, “AAA _________”
Probably the most obvious example we have seen of this is businesses that have chosen to utilize company names that used to be an advantage when telephone books and Yellow Pages were so prominent.
Imagine if your name was AAA anything, and you had to ensure that when people search for your business name, you are the one that pops up in a Google query. While the transition from Yellow Pages to online listings is obvious now, we must remember that there will be another strategic change sometime in the future.
The next step that we all need to be thinking about is around voice search in the Internet Of Things. Alexa, Google Assistant, and a litany of other home assistant devices are changing the way that we will search for things. In fact, the rough draft of this article is being written as I dictate to my phone.
This is for another article, but the next thing to make current technology irrelevant will be voice search.
Imagine exactly how much different things are going to be when we are able to use voice search in our homes. The way we currently search on the computer is entirely different than how we speak to a machine. Just as our search methods changed as we moved from phone books to online queries, they will change again as we move from typed queries to voice search.
As local business owners, we have to be on top of the latest trends in technology in order to ensure that we continue to be found by our clients.