In February 2014, I wrote a column titled, “Time for a NAP.” I shared the importance of having your online business directory listings as accurate and consistent as possible. NAP stands for name, address and phone, and having it as correct as possible eliminates search engine confusion about what your business is named, what business your physical address is associated with (yours) and who your business phone number belongs to (you). Get it right, and your search engine ranking/overall online visibility should improve. Now that’s a NAP worth taking at work!
What do I mean by “online directories”? Tons of directories and apps you may or may not have heard of. For example, Amazon’s Alexa, Apple (Maps, Siri, Safari), Bing, Yelp, YP, Google, Instagram, MapQuest, Citysearch, Dex, Superpages, Yahoo and Waze. They all get information about your business one way or another, or from each other, and it can create a less-than-clear picture of your NAP.
Search engines pay attention to all these directories and consider them in their search algorithms. When the information is inaccurate and inconsistent, it’s like shining a floodlight on your business. When the information is correct on all the top 70 major directories, it’s like shining a laser pointer on your business and could mean the difference between ranking on page one or beyond. So, do you have a floodlight or laser pointer on your business? Find out here: yext.com/partner/optimaworldwide/diagnostic.html.
After Your NAP
What happens after your NAP? It’s pretty important, too, and something you may not understand the significance of: online branding.
Over time, people find and use search engines, social media networks, apps, maps and review sites they become comfortable with and loyal to. And that could be almost anywhere, which is why you need your brand to be everywhere your target audience is – beyond your website and social media networks. Here’s one big reason why.
Let me share a surprising statistic with you. My company, Optima Automotive, has monitored the directory listings of over 150 client shops. There have been 8,835 reviews left on the top 70 directories, 7,934 of which were spread across five main sites: Google (3,468), Citysearch (1,892), Insider Pages (1,086), Facebook (827) and MerchantCircle (661). If the fact that there are more reviews on Citysearch and Insider Pages than Facebook surprises you, then it’s time to take a look at your brand and how it looks everywhere because you probably haven’t paid any attention to these directories. Good or bad, those reviews are likely sitting out there unresponded to.
After your NAP, you might want to pay attention to exactly what people are saying about your business. This one is cool. Using our dashboard, we can gather data on keywords used in online reviews to give clients a “sentiment” rating (see graphic above). Keywords used and star ratings provide a score. This helps you see, at a glance, where you’re scoring highly…and where you aren’t.
Another thing we help clients with is competitor tracking on review sites and local search results, all based on directory data. Wouldn’t you like to compare how you rate with your competitors in your market? There are only so many cars to fix in any given market. Knowing how your competitors are doing can give you keen insight into how you stack up. Use this to motivate yourself and your team to step up your game and fight for those cars by having a strong, branded and managed presence everywhere online.
Making It Simple
Manually entering all your business NAP information and logo into the top 70 directories might motivate you to take a real nap at work. Imagine having to log in to each one, verify that you are truly the business owner and then upload all your information over and over. And once you do enter that information, there is no guarantee these directories will lock that information down; they can and often do change. And monitoring all these sites for reviews can be time consuming, too. There just isn’t enough time in the day. That’s where technology can help. This can all be done by entering data into a system one time, locking it down so it won’t change, setting up email alerts when reviews come in and having a dashboard to monitor it all. Click this link to find out how: optimaautomotive.com/everywhere.
BSB Contributing Editor Mark Claypool has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of workforce development, apprenticeships, marketing and web presence management with SkillsUSA, the I-CAR Education Foundation, Mentors at Work, VeriFacts Automotive and the NABC. He is the CEO of Optima Automotive (www.optimaautomotive.com), which provides website design, SEO services and social media management services.