Does Google Understand Your Business?
Does Google get your business? Can Google understand your address? Your phone number? It’s a simple yet important question and if Google does not ‘get’ your business and understand your location and phone number how likely are they to return you in local search results? As a local business, visibility and reputation in the local search results are an important element of your marketing and if Google does not get your address, phone number or service area then you will likely never show in local search results and never pick up your share of those eager, local customers.
In 2012, Google introduced a new feature to its search results, called the Knowledge Graph, but many people refer to it as the Knowledge Box. Its main purpose is to show any useful details when you search for a company, including address, phone number, map, reviews & opening hours. To get a Knowledge Box, you must create a Google Places page for your business. But it will only appear if Google trusts that you are at that physical location.
Can Google Trust My Address?
To find out if Google can trust your business location, go to Google and search for ‘your-brand-name address’ so for example ‘bowlerhat’s address’ …
Can you see something like this:
Now let’s try your phone number! So just like before, but this time replace the address with phone number… like this:
(your brand’s name – phone number)
If the information about your chosen company does appear like so, then give yourself a tap on the back. If not, now is the time you need to be asking yourself where things could have gone wrong. Has your business recently moved office? or maybe had a new phone number? There are many reasons why Google may not be able to understand your address or phone number.
The key to all of this is NAP consistency. Many of you may be thinking ‘what is this NAP you speak of?’ Well NAP is your business’s Name, Address & Phone Number. Now for Google to have a clear understanding of your NAP, it needs to be consistent. Your NAP must be the same on your website, Google places listing & any other 3rd party listing. For example, if you have recently moved office and you only changed the address on your Google Places listing but did not change it on your Yell listing, Google will no longer be able to trust your address and it is now confused as it is not certain of your physical location.
How Can I fix It?
You most likely have incorrect listings on the web, or you don’t have enough listings on the web. It’s all about trust, the more Google can see your address plastered all over the web, the more it believes you really are at that location. If you are a new business, have never moved office and have never changed business name or phone number, you most likely need more citations. A citation is details of your business listed on a 3rd party directory, such as yell.com. Now, remember, duplicate listings are bad so make sure you check for any listings of your business on each directory before you create one. For a list of the best UK citations and a simple guide on how to make them beneficial, check out Marcus Miller’s blog post
If you believe you may have listings on the web that are incorrect, you need to follow Bowler Hat’s 3 step plan on cleaning all the mess up. At Bowler Hat, we have completed many citation audits, and although they can be painfully boring, it is worth it in the end. So here are the three main steps:
- How to find them
- How to change them
- How to make sure they have been updated.
For a full detailed guide on how to find incorrect citations and how to successfully change or remove them, check out this blog post by Marcus Miller.
Not only does the business search work for an address and phone numbers, it also works for opening hours and other information, so this is an important reason to complete your Google Places page. There have also been rumours that the Knowledge Box is starting to pull information from 3rd party sites, so again this is another reason to provide as much detail as possible, and remember to keep it all updated if any information changes
Don’t get caught NAP’ping