Establish Your Name, Address, Phone Number Profile (NAP)
Now that you have claimed your Google Places listing and optimized it to its fullest, you need to establish your N.A.P. (name, address, phone number profile). Just because you have a well-claimed and optimized Google Places listing does not mean that you will be ranking on page one. Google wants to list the most legitimate and qualified providers first. So, how do they choose who gets the page one listings? Well, there are a number of factors, but one of them is how widely the company is referenced on other online directory sites such as Yellow Pages, City Search, and Yelp.
You need to make sure you have a consistent N.A.P. profile across the web. When Google looks up your company name in your area of service, it should be able to find you in a variety of places outside of Google Places. It's finding you on the Yellow Pages, CitySearch, Angie's List, InfoUSA, Axiom.com, etc. A complete list of the top citations sources to add your company to can be found in our FREE Google Places Guide available at http://plumberseo.net/google-places-guide.
Citations are data providers and websites that Google looks at to find out whether or not a company is legitimate and that they exist at a specific address. One of the first things you want to do in order to establish that name, address, phone number profile and really make sure that it's consistent across the board is to create an account with each of those online directories.
How do you get citations to establish your N.A.P.?
Go to InfoUSA.com, Yahoo.com, CitySearch.com, Angieslist.com, etc. and take advantage of the option to add or claim your existing listing on those sites. First, go to those sites and make sure that you exist. If you do exist, claim yourself and then build out your profile. By doing this you can make sure that you've got a consistent name, address, and phone number, which is a key component of an advanced Google Places optimization strategy.
You want to make sure your name is the legitimate name for your business. If you're functioning as "Bob's Plumbing Company", you want to make sure you're listed as "Bob's Plumbing Company", versus just "Bob's Plumbing". Or, if your legal name is "Bob's Plumbing and Drain Cleaning," make sure you list it the same way on all of the sites.
The other thing I want you to be aware of is that there is a lot of misinformation about how to list your company name on Google Places. You may read information online suggesting that you keyword your company name. For example, if your name was "Bob's Plumbing", someone may suggest that you add the title of your company to the keyword, creating "Bob's Plumbing | Dallas Plumber". While that may have worked back in the day, it's no longer an effective strategy. It's actually a violation of Google Places' policies and procedures. Make sure you list your exact company name and use it the same way across the board on all of your directory sources that I've referred to - the same way every single time. Make sure you use the same phone number in all of those places as well. I am a big advocate for tracking phone numbers and what's happening with your marketing. But, when it comes to your online directory listings and Google Places optimization, you want to use your primary business phone number; the one you've been using from the beginning.
Don't try to create some unique phone number for each one of your directories because that will confuse your name/address profile. It will significantly hurt you. So use your primary phone number, your exact company name, and your same principal address, written the same way on all websites. If you're at "1367 South West 87th Street, Suite Number 105", make sure you list it just like that every single time. Don't leave the suite off in one place and put it on in another; don't spell out "South West" in one place and put "SW" on the other. What we're driving for is consistency across the web.
Want more details on how to optimize your Google Places listing for page one placement? Download our FREE Google Places Optimization Guide.