How To Establish Your N.A.P. for Insurance Agencies.

Now that you have claimed your Google Places listing and optimized it to its fullest, you’ll need to establish your N.A.P. profile (name, address, phone number). It’s important to understand what Google’s purpose is. Google’s job is provide their search users with the most legitimate and qualified providers at the top of the search results. Just because you have a well-claimed and optimized Google Places listing does not mean you will immediately rank on page one as their are a variety of best practices that make up ranking on page one.
So, how do they filter out who gets the page one listings? Well, there are a number of factors. One of them is how widely the company is referenced on OTHER online directory sites (ex. Yellow Pages, City Search, Yelp, etc.).
You need to make sure you have a consistent N.A.P. profile (name, address, phone number) across the web. That just means that when Google looks up your company name in your city, it’s able to find you in a variety of places outside of Google Places (Angie’s List, Judy’s Book, Yellow Pages, Yelp, Foursquare, etc.).
It’s finding you in the Yellow Pages, CitySearch, Angie’s List, InfoUSA, Axiom.com, etc. A complete list of the top citations sources to add your company to can be found in our FREE Guide, Insurance Agency Marketing: A Complete Guide to Generating Leads in the Search Engine & Social Media Era.
Citations are references to your company’s name, address and phone number.

How Do You Get Citations to Establish Your N.A.P.?

Go to InfoUSA, Yahoo CitySearch, Angie’s List, etc. All of these sites give you the ability to either add or claim your existing listing. First of all, visit those websites and make sure that you exist. If you do exist, claim yourself and build out your profile. Doing this will ensure that you’ve got a consistent name, address, and phone number. This is a key component of an advanced Google Places optimization strategy.
When I say to make sure that it is consistent, I mean it is important that what is listed is the actual name of your business. If you’re business name is “Bob’s Auto & Life Insurance,” you want to make sure that that’s how you are listed, as opposed to let’s say, “Bob’s Insurance Agency”.
Another thing we want you to be aware of is that there is a lot of misinformation about how to list your company name on Google Places. We’ve seen suggestions that by adding keywords to your name is a smart idea. For example, using “Bob’s Life Insurance Agency – Sunrise Insurance Agent” rather than your business name  “Bob’s Life Insurance Agency”. Unfortunately, Google is constantly making changes and upgrades to how it provides for its customers and that affects how things operate on the back end. While that may have worked back in the day, it’s no longer an effective strategy and  a violation of Google Places’ policies and procedures. So be sure that you list your exact company name, address, and phone number and use them the SAME WAY across the board on all of the directory sources that we’ve referenced.
Don’t try to create a unique number for each one of your directories because it confuses your online name/address profile and will significantly hurt your ranking. Use your primary phone number, your exact company name and your principal address, all written the same way. If you’re located at “1367 SW 87th Street, Suite #105,” make sure you list it just like that EVERY SINGLE TIME. Don’t leave the suite off in one place and put it on in another. Don’t spell out “South West” in one place and put “SW” in another. We’re driving for consistency with regards to our name/address profile across the web.
Now it’s your turn. Do some research and figure out how you want your N.A.P. profile to look and start adding your website’s url to the main online directory sites. Below is a great list of citation sources for your insurance agency to get started with:

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1) Google Places

Probably the most important and most talked about place to list your local business. Getting citations from many of the sites below (as well as ratings) can help boost your business’ listing in Google.

2) Yelp

The most popular social networking, directory and review site. Aside from counting as a citation for your business in the eyes of the search engines, this site can deliver quite a bit of traffic on it’s own. Business-owners will need to learn to deal with the occasional nasty review.

3) foursquare

The popular way to check in via smart phone can also provide a valuable citation for your local business.

4) Universal Business Listing

A multiple local listing service – UBL.org (along with Localeze below) is one of the major players in the effort to fill in your information once to get listed with multiple yellow pages sites, directories and social networking/review sites. It saves time and effort but may be slower than going direct with the individual sites (see Localeze and InfoUSA below as well).

5) Yahoo Local

Yahoo’s local directory tied to Yahoo Maps.

6) Local.com

Business listings, event listings, coupons and reviews.

7) CitySearch

One of the most authoritative local directories.

8) Bing Local

Bing’s local business listing integrated with maps of cities and towns.

9) CraigsList

Some SEOs recommend creating classifieds for your business on popular sites such as Craigslist. There is some disagreement over whether this is effective from an SEO point of view.

10) GetListed.org

Convenient way to identify where you’re listed (and where you’re not) in major directories. Provides referrals to Universal Business Listings and Localeze as well as consultants (if you need extra help).

11) dmoz (Open Diretory Project)

A free and authoritative index (in the eyes of Google) that is managed by volunteers. If you can get your business listed, this helps with an authoritative backlink (but not necessarily a local citation). It can be difficult to get a new listing due to the limited resources and large volumes of submissions.

12) Superpages

One of the many internet Yellow Pages directories (IYP). Includes business listings, people search, reviews and local deals.

13) Localeze

A multiple local listing service.

14) InfoUSA

A multiple local listings service.

15) Your local Chamber of Commerce

Joining your local chamber of commerce can often get you a business listing (and a citation for local SEO purposes).

16) InsiderPages

Local directory and rating site.

17) Merchant Circle

Local directory and rating site.

18) Best of the Web

A popular directory with free and paid listing options – specifically for local, they have a Best of the Web Local directory.

19) Yellowpages.com

Internet yellow pages (also YP.com).

20) Business.com

Business.com provides business information but also has a business directory.

21) Kudzu

Business review site (like Yelp).

22) Better Business Bureau

Local Better Business Bureaus usually charge for membership and provided a link to your business.

23) DexKnows

Business and people directory.

24) Acxiom

A major source of data for various yellowpages and directories – they don’t take business submissions like some of the other data providers or multiple local listings services.

25) Your local newspaper’s website

Getting an article, business listing or classified ad optimized with your local information and a link can provide a citation for your business.

26) Yellowbook.com

Internet yellow pages.

27) HotFrog

A business directory with free and fairly inexpensive paid listing options.

28) Crunchbase

A listing of technology companies that is user-generated.

29) Angie’s List

Service provider directory.

30) Judy’s Book

Local review site.

31) Jigsaw

Business people and company directory.

32) ibegin

U.S. and Canadian business directory.

33) OpenList

Local directory with ratings.

34) wikimapia

Wiki-based directory of places including schools, businesses, and more – laid out on maps.

35) citysquares

Local business directory with ratings.

36) Infospace

Business and people listings.

37) magicyellow

A straightforward internet yellow pages directory.

38) whitepages.com

People and business listings.

39) Manta

Company profiles.

40) EZLocal

Local business listings and ratings.

41) BrownBook

Local business listings and ratings.

42) CityVoter

Vote for favorite businesses.

43) ShopCity

Local business listings.

44) YellowBot

Local listings and ratings.

45) MojoPages

Social networking and review site (like Yelp).

46) Tupalo.com

International social networking and review site.

47) Praized

Social networking and review site.

48) Panoramio

Pictures associated with maps. Geotag images, upload to Panoramio and add them to your Google Places listings.

49) GetFave

Business directory, including featured listings (with additional content such as videos, pictures).

50) BizJournals

Business journal that includes business directories for certain U.S. cities.

51) Tjoos

Online store listings and coupons.

52) JoeAnt

Website directory.

53) Zidster

Products, services or business listings.

54) TrueLocal

Business directory – seems to have sparse listings.

55) ZipLeaf

Network of international business directories.

56) WCities

Places and events for cities and towns, including ratings.

57) Naymz

Personal branding site.

58) Zoominfo

Database of people and companies.

59) Yellowikis

Wiki-based business directory.

60) gomylocal

Yellow pages/local directory.

61) Fast Pitch Network

Online business networking site.

62) City Slick

Free business directory.

63) Busiverse (also businessdb)

Business directory.

64) yellowpages.lycos.com

A general directory.

65) Service Magic

Directory of service companies (includes a “seal of approval”).

66) Local forums

Forums focused on local areas.

67) Mcrae’s Blue Book

Industrial directory.

68) MatchPoint

Directory of service providers.

69) USCity.net

Directory focused on the U.S.

70) Metrobot

County street maps.

71) Google Custom Maps

“Create personalized, annotated, customized maps using Google Maps”. Listing businesses in custom maps may help them in ranking for local search.

72) Yellowee (formerly Genie Knows)

Local review site.

73) AskCity

Ask.com’s local directory.

74) Tyloon

Billed as International Yellow Pages (including multi-lingual listings).

75) Discover Our Town

“The ultimate U.S. travel, tourism and relocation guide”.

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