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Going Beyond NAP: Building a Better Business Profile

Within the local search industry NAP stands for “name, address, and phone number,” the most basic data any business profile will contain. Name gives you the who, address gives you the where and phone number gives you the how (eg. how to get in contact with the business). All too often profiles stop there, neglecting to offer further detail, thus miring themselves in a sea of bland search results.

Businesses, especially small businesses, must do better. Large chains can get away with this lack of detail because most people already know who they are, what they sell and when they’re open. Small businesses don’t have this luxury; their profiles must be robust, providing as much information as possible so potential customers have some idea what to expect. Here are three details that every small business owner should include in their business profile:

  1. Hours of Operation:

    If name, address and phone number are the who, what and how, hours of operation are the when. Do you close early on Wednesdays to watch your son’s soccer matches? Are you available for emergency calls 24/7? Or, does your business operate 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, like most other companies? Don’t leave your customers guessing. You aren’t Walmart or McDonalds, customers don’t know your hours by heart. When creating or claiming a business profile, always state your hours of operation clearly.

  2. Products, Services and Brands:

    Take a look at the following profile for R and J Diner in Mesa, Arizona:

    Diner Mesa, AZ

    Except for a few categories, the profile includes nothing but NAP info. What type of food do they serve? Probably the usual greasy spoon fare, but how can one know for sure? Do they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner? Most diners do, but again, one can’t be certain.

    Now, imagine the above business profile was for a McDonalds instead of the R and J Diner. The profile still lacks significant detail, but I bet you know a lot more. You know that McDonald’s has Big Macs, McNuggets and sells Coke products. You know they have a drive through window and are open till at least 10 PM. You know this because this is true for all McDonald’s locations.

    Products, services and brands are the “what” in our equation. As a small business owner you should always include these details in your online listings. Own a restaurant? Upload your menu. Own an electronics store? List the brands, models and types of gadgets you carry. Run a cleaning company? List the cleaning supplies you use, the items you specialize in cleaning and the methods you employ. Always error on the side of detail; it will look good to the search engines that crawl your listing and even better to your potential customers.

  3. Mission Statement or Business Description

    A mission statement or business description is the “why” in our equation. What are your goals as a company? What level of service do you strive to uphold? What type of experience can your potential clients expect? This is the area of the profile where you do a little bit of bragging. Tell people how you are committed to the community, donate to local charities and sponsor a peewee football team. Tell people how you are committed to green initiatives and how you only buy from U.S. suppliers. Remember, getting found in the search results is only step one; getting customers to pick you over everyone else requires an extra effort.