Your law firm is probably already signed up with listings in the big three directories: Google+, Bing and Yahoo. But how do you make sure that these directories can actually find you when a potential client performs a search?
Consistency between every directory is important, but slight differences between directories are extremely common and can lead to confusing the major directory aggregates that process your data. I cannot underscore enough the importance of making sure you have a consistent name and address. And it isn’t just these three: Google, Yahoo and Bing; this is every directory listing you have out there on the
World Wide Web.
You can easily check and repair any inconsistencies between your listings in a process commonly referred to as “Cleaning up Your NAP.” (NAP stands for Name-Address-Phone Number). Here’s how to make sure that your name, address, phone number, email, and URL are 100% consistent:
If your address is, for example: “100 Main Street, Suite 200,” if you put “100 Main St.” on your website, then you want to make sure you use “St.” on all the directories.
Likewise, if you do “Suite 200,” if you spell out “Suite” (S-u-i-t-e), then you want to make sure you are using the full word, “Suite.”
Should you use the 5-digit or the 9-digit postal code? It doesn’t matter which you choose as long as they are the same in every directory as well as on your website. As a rule of thumb, use your website as a guide for how you’ll write your address on the directories and make sure your website and your directory listings conform to the convention that you’ve selected for yourself.
Google is really smart. They can tell the difference between “St.” and “Street,” and #200 versus “Suite 200” but directory aggregators like Acxiom and InfoUSA, are not as smart: They will often go around and pull up lots of directory information, and they’ll see “St.” or they’ll see “Street,” and they’ll see “#200” and “Suite 200,” but rather than understanding that these are the same, they’ll see you as two different businesses sometimes. Unfortunately, Google gets a lot of information from those directory aggregators, which unnecessarily confuses Google.
This can all be avoided by simply keeping things exactly the same everywhere you appear on the web.