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Once again I'm at it with increasing people's local rankings and I've learnt so much about local rankings in the past 2 weeks it feels like my brain is gonna pop anyway, question is fairly simple for someone who engages in local rankings and I appreciate the question may be a little guess work but isn't SEO mostly guessing anyway?

From what I've read and learned that Google works of a system called nap for local rankings (With many other factors but this question is purely based on NAP). For people who care about local rankings NAP stands for Name of Business / Address of Business / Phone Number for Business.

Now what what I've read you don't need the whole NAP to be on one website, a P or just a N can help towards your local rankings. It's believed that NAP rewards more than just P and N for example but knowing Google they might have a diversity checker which is my concern what your get to in a moment.

Now of course sites weight differently where your business is posted, it's certainly going to be more credible if your NAP details are on your national phone book than say a blog site, so taking in this consideration too.

Pure Guess (Not apart of the question but none the less makes a good read on my belief).

Now my guess work would make me believe that the formula would look something like (N)+(A)+(P)x(T)

So (N)name would be 1 or 0 to indicate present or not So (A)dress would be 1 or 0 to indicate present or not So (P)hone would be 1 or 0 to indicate present or not So (T)rust would be 1-100 to indicate level of trust

So a phone number appearing on youtube might look something like 0+0+1x95= 95 and a NAP appearing on your national phone book might look something like 1+1+1x100= 300

Please note that I'm not saying this is the sole factor and I'm sure its way more complex that this with things like other factors on the page, off the page (Reviews, Links, Clicks) and so on but its still a contributor).

The Question

My question is fairly simple and I'd imagine hard to impossible to have an actual definite answer to this but maybe someone has seen official wording else where on this, is it bad to include address or phone number in the Meta Description? The reason I ask is that one of my competitors has these elements in the meta descriptions and their local rankings are absolutely superb, the problem I have with this is scrap bot sites like 'Similar Too' 'Seo Rankings' and 1,000's of the other scrap box networks that scrap site and then make urls with your site information are mostly limited to your meta description what this means that your phone number, address and sometimes even your company name if the domain is exact will appear as AP, and even NAP on thousands of websites.

So, is it a bad strategy to include phone number and address in meta description, everything I read into would suggest its good of course with the downside of maybe lowering quality of description for click thoughts but top rankings would increase this 10 folds anyhow..

  • I don't have any direct experience or references, but I've read that getting your phone number and address mentioned many times on the web is great for local SEO. If putting those in your meta description makes that happen, it would seem to be a good strategy. – Stephen Ostermiller Aug 19 '13 at 11:37
  • Please excuse my dear aunt sally. [ (N)+(A)+(P) ] x (T) This is not an endorsement of this suspect formula; I'm just pointing out that I strongly doubt that much emphasis would've been put of the fact you have a phone #. – krowe Aug 28 '13 at 13:42
  • I cannot see how a phone number in a description meta-tag will help NAP. It will make the phone number more searchable of course. It could be that mentioning various NAP elements in multiple places will help. This answer has some bits that speak to supporting NAP in social media, registration, etc. Obviously use mark-up one click from the home page or in the header/footer. webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/99933/… – closetnoc Oct 25 '16 at 16:16
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+25

Aloha Simon, I actually follow you. :)

Anyhow, there are a lot of he said, she said, Google said in regards to SEO.

What I have noticed from experience.

Adding an area code has worked small wonders in the meta description.

The reason being people are actually searching IE. "custom auto body shops 209"

They tend to use it more as an extended search opposed to saying the county after extending it past a city search.

Adding a complete phone number.

As you mentioned there are sites that scrape the info and post it. This is ok as they are only posting numbers and general business info. Google knows how your site/number is being presented and/or backlinked. I have never noticed a drop or increase based on that alone. A phone number is something you should already have and if one searches it for whatever reason, you will show up and so will the number scraped sites. Again that's fine because it only validates the business is whom they claim to be.

Your number is on the site already

I assume every site should have a number listing already so it won't stop other sites scraping your site and again should not hurt you.

As for the address Like numbers I do not think the full details should be used. Except for a contact page and as an address.

How I have done it with best results is this.

  • Use schema coded cards and use full details in there ( IE, person/business, position, number, address etc.
  • In the meta I use something like this

Title: Custom Auto Body Shop San Jose, CA 95136 | (408) 555-1212

Description: ABC is a professional custom auto body shop located in San Jose, CA 95136. Call (408) 555-1212 Free Estimates.

I have gotten incredible results from this method and use the same concept when creating multiple city page listings.

Believe it or not some of the sites I have done this way are listed up to 5 times on the search listings first page.

Note: As you can see adding a number creates a CTA on the search results and for some businesses that info is enough for them to call you without visiting your page. So it is something to keep in mind with Analytics if you are heavy into that info as well.

  • Excellent answer! Clearly is supports search, but whether is supports NAP in the traditional sense, both parsed from content and schema.org mark-up, that is not clear or likely. Think about it, if you are designing a search engine, would you be looking for NAP in the description meta-tag? One of the approaches I take, and this is a bit of a secret, is to think in terms of creating a search engine from scratch and whether something makes sense from that perspective as a signal. I would say not in this case. Good for search, but not for NAP. Cheers!! – closetnoc Oct 28 '16 at 18:02
  • Hey! thanks for the follow. The concern I have is the incomplete data being sent to Google, since a number is partial a NAP without the additional details. In addition to this there is considerable amount of information to support the idea that low quality citations reduce local rankings. So I'm hoping for some solid evidence if possible but I like your answer with actual examples but I'm not sure if this would conclude it to be fact if that makes sense. – Simon Hayter Oct 31 '16 at 17:29
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Althought Google and other search engines index META tags and they more heavily index microdata/micro formats and richdata. So, although it's not bad to have your phone number in your META tags, it's better to have them marked up inline. This also helps Google et. al. to add them to their other services such as maps.

An example of their use from Google's documentation which might help you is:

<div itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Organization"> 
   <span itemprop="name">L'Amourita Pizza</span> 
   Located at 
   <div itemprop="address" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/PostalAddress">
      <span itemprop="streetAddress">123 Main St</span>,
      <span itemprop="addressLocality">Albuquerque</span>,
      <span itemprop="addressRegion">NM</span>.
   </div>
  <img itemprop="logo" src="http://www.example.com/logo.png" />
   Phone: <span itemprop="telephone">206-555-1234</span>
   <a href="http://pizza.example.com/" itemprop="url">http://pizza.example.com</a>
</div>  
  • Hi thanks for taking the time to attempt to answer my question, but I think you miss understood my question. This question has nothing to do with Google mark-up for local business, the question is about site meta information ending up SCRAP sites, not search engines. NAP is essential a backlink without an actual link. – Simon Hayter Aug 20 '13 at 0:53
  • Ok, it's just that your question is tagged google and local-seo. – Daniël W. Crompton Aug 20 '13 at 0:58
  • NAP is relative to local seo and Google. – Simon Hayter Aug 20 '13 at 10:17
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    From the companies I know, and have worked for like European Directories, that enhance their data with scraped data they much prefer their data marked up rather than having to extract NAPT from the page as it makes their lives easier. It also makes things like additional information like: "delivery round the back" or "first floor" easier for them to add to their data. – Daniël W. Crompton Aug 20 '13 at 10:50
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Meta description is not used as a ranking factor by Google. If memory serves, I think they announced that in 2009 and there are Matt Cutts videos that discuss it on YouTube.

That said, it is important for user experience and click through rates so do whatever makes sense in context for your users. Truth be told, a lot of local businesses might prefer if the person didn't click on the result and instead just picked up the phone and called straight from the SERP, which can cause problems if you rely on analytics too heavily in evaluation of effectiveness.

  • Meta Descriptions are hugely important. Not only do they inform the visitor what the page is about before clicking it is a huge ranking factor... I think your mistaken for Meta Keywords.... – Simon Hayter Nov 25 '13 at 0:27
  • Can you point me to a Google resource that says they use it as a ranking factor? Not CTR, not 'useful snippet,' but something where they say it is indeed a ranking factor? – adam-asdf Nov 27 '13 at 9:18
  • You're find that Google is sometimes vague, out dated or just plain not telling the truth. For example in 2009 they said in the last paragraph of them admitting keywords are not a factor and that meta descriptions are not counted either through this is the only post. > googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2009/09/… through this is not true. Duplicate meta descriptions do not harm CTR and Webmaster tools actively warns about duplicates. – Simon Hayter Nov 27 '13 at 11:01
  • Google doesn't official admit 99.9% of their ranking factors, and your missing the point of my question... Sites that scrap meta data display that information on detailed page within the body tag, not their own meta ;) – Simon Hayter Nov 27 '13 at 11:04
  • I don't trust that Google fully discloses all ranking factors but 'meta' tags, by definition, aren't on-page content and could easily be used deceptively (e.g. meta keywords) and all the info out there seem to focus on CTR (by humans--which is more important) not ranking (by bots). I used to believe it was a ranking factor, and with 500+ algorithm changes a year, who's to say it isn't? The way I'd approach it is by adding meta descriptions with a phone number to half of my pages (but give equal attention to optimizing the other half) and then see what the results are based on analytics :) – adam-asdf Nov 29 '13 at 7:50

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