We’ve been performing local listing optimisation and local citation building for more than 5 years. In doing so, we’ve noticed that businesses that have been at the same address for years don’t tend to perform as well in local search as a newly opened businesses.

Why is this?

Why should a business that has been at the same address for years perform less well in local search compared to one that has just opened?

The answer is simple; A legacy of uncontrolled NAP data!

When we do a listing audit for clients, we look for consistency in Name, Address, Phone Number and Categories in multiple local listing sites. Ideally the NAP should be the same on all listings. A newly opened business won’t have any listings, and therefore a new NAP can be added afresh to local listing sites creating a consistent NAP anchor onto which the search engines can ‘hook’.

Old established business however tend to have hundreds of listings on multiple listing sites for the same address, but not in a controlled way. These listing sites will have NAP data that goes back for years. Many of them will have variations in brand name, different phone numbers and sometimes wrong addresses. They may also have accumulated content which is out of date and incorrect. We regularly find listings with really old brand names, dead phone numbers and dead weblinks.

The outcome; Newly opened business start with fresh clean listings which are consistent and correct and give a strong search signal, whereas old businesses have a legacy of conflicting NAP data which confuse the search engines and customers, and ultimately affects their local search performance.

What can be done about it?

Old business that have been at the same premises for years need to clean their NAP listings!

If you’re business has changed its’ name or telephone number over the past 20 years, there is every chance that you will find the old names and numbers still listed. Hunt them down and remove them.

If you think we are exaggerating about looking for changes that may have happened 20 years ago, then consider this: KFC re-branded from “Kentucky Fried Chicken” in 1991, yet you will still find old branch listings for Kentucky Fried Chicken in multiple listings sites. We’ve found listings where the telephone number was 15 years out of date and had been re-assigned to a retired lady in Dundee who was getting calls for the business that it used to belong to!

Remember, search engines try to make sense of information not clean it… it is your job to ensure your NAP data is correct.

Once branch NAP listings are clean and consistent, even old established businesses can expect to see their local presence improve.

MiShop.local specialises in identifying and cleaning NAP data for multi-location companies and helping them to control their brand in local search.

Please call us if you would like a sample audit of your branch network listings.