In an earlier article, “What is NAP and Why is it so Important for Dentists and Physicians?” I explain why it’s necessary to make sure that your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) information is consistent across the web. If you are unfamiliar with NAP and why it’s critical for your practice, I encourage you to read that article first.
NAP and the Google My Business Connection
Google My Business (GMB is the centerpiece of NAP, meaning that the most critical place to have your NAP information accurately reported is on Google My Business. The reason for this status is because many other directory listings pull their directory results directly from GMB’s data. Thus, if your information is inaccurate on GMB, all the resources that pull from GMB will be inaccurate, as well.
How do Web Directory Listings Work?
To make matters more complicated, there are other directory listings that are independent of Google’s listings. And the problem for a dental or medical practice is to try to figure out which listings they need to spend time updating. Anyone can do a search to see what the top directory listings are that don’t specifically pull their data from GMB, and then manually contact each of these providers and manually update the data. Note that all legitimate directory listings will require some type of verification (a phone call, a post card) to verify that you are the owner/representative of the business for which you are making the data change; this is an important safeguard, as otherwise, anyone could modify your listings and wreak havoc.
Make the Updating Process More Efficient
Because of the tedium of locating which listings to contact to update/add your NAP information and of making the edits, there are companies who offer services that are designed to make the process easier.One of these providers is Moz.com. Moz.com has a local service (moz.com/local) and it’s the service that I use for Short Hills Design, and the service I recommend to all our clients. The fee is ~$99 per year, and the service facilitates making sure that your listings are updated across the most important directory services; at the time of this writing Moz works with around 10 listing providers. You will still need to do the actual verifying to prove that you are who you say you are regarding the business, but this service greatly speeds up the efficiency and the accuracy of the process.
What About Other Management Providers?
There are other listings management providers out there, and many of them claim to verify you with 10s or 100s of directories. As far as I’m concerned, this approach is overkill, as the handful that Moz Local works with give you broad enough coverage. Remember, directories pull their data from GMB, and other directories pull from the listings that Moz Local will help you configure. So if’ve you’ve verified with GMB, and you’ve verified with Moz’s listings, then your directory listings will be “consistent enough.” In my opinion, it’s not worth the time or expense to start working on smaller, and possibly irrelevant listings.
Additional Things You Can Do
While GMB and Moz Local will help you to have consistent NAP across most of the web, don’t overlook your listings on sites such as ADA.org, or AGD.org (or any other organizations, as well as smaller, local listings such as the local Chamber of Commerce. Many of these listings as still populated by hand, and while inaccurate listings at your local Chamber of Commerce might not affect Google’s Map listings, it doesn’t hurt to be on the safe side, and to make sure that the people who want to find you, are easily able to do so.