By Scott Feldman
Feldman world opt

Ask any Internet marketing expert worth their weight in link equity, and they will tell it to you straight: It’s all about local.

The days of focusing only on organic rankings are going, going, gone. If you’re No 1 in the organic rankings, your listing may still get pushed into no-man’s land by local business results.

Yes, this is a game-changer, but it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. You don’t need to forget everything you know about search engine optimization (SEO). You just need to give local search optimization a little extra love.

Get on the Map

Google still rules the roost. Make sure the search giant has your verified business information and recognizes it as a valid local listing. This is the most important listing to create or claim when targeting local SEO results, bar none.

Google offers two ways to verify the listing: via a phone call or via “snail mail.”

Tip: If you have an automated phone system, you will need to turn it off to complete the phone verification. With snail mail, your new listing or edits to an existing listing are not published until you enter the PIN from the postcard that Google mails back to you. Many people forget this part, bringing the verification process to a grinding halt. Create a checklist to make sure you don’t skip or miss any steps.

    Get your NAP on the Map



Other sites to list your NAP include:

Avoid an Identity Crisis

A verified Google listing is a good start, but you have to stay sharp if you’re going to win at the rankings game. When Google and other search engines calculate rankings for local search results, they are looking for your name, address, and phone number (NAP). Decide EXACTLY how you want this information to be listed online, and don’t deviate or Google may become confused. Even a subtle variation, such as “#200” versus “Suite 200,” can keep Google from recognizing and ranking your local info.

Google and other search engines also use data aggregators (sources for local business information) to populate their databases. Duplicate and incorrect listings pop up all the time and lead to “drifting.” Stay the course by providing consistent NAP information across multiple sources.

To prevent drift, visit some of the known data aggregators like and, and make sure your NAP information is correct. If it isn’t, you’ll need to submit the correct information. If that doesn’t fix the problem, report the issue directly to Google by using the “edit business details” link found on your actual listing, or report the error through Google’s mapmaker or troubleshooter tools.

Be proactive: Make sure your information isn’t adrift every 6 months by Googling your business phone number and evaluating the results.

See you on the Search Pages!

Feldman bio
Scott Feldman is the director of online marketing at Etna Interactive in San Luis Obispo, Calif. He can be reached via [email protected].