NAP Consistency

What Is NAP Consistency and Why Does It Matter For Your Business Website?

NAP is the abbreviation for Name, Address, and Phone number. Consistency in NAP or NAP consistency refers to the accuracy of a location-based business’s Name, Address, and Phone number across all business listings, directories, websites, and social media profiles. It is regarded as a search ranking factor for local SEO.

NAP consistency should be considered as a primary local search engine optimization strategy. If you don’t have any citations, they are probably inconsistent across the web.

What are local citations?

Any mention of a company’s name and contact information on the world wide web is a local citation. According to Moz’s local search engine ranking factors, “Citation Signals” ranked at #5. Citations are generally added to website directories, press releases, social media, and other business association pages that list business information. 

Citations do not usually have to link back to your website to pass on the link juice from high authority websites. However, Consistent data across your business listings is a critical signal to Google that your business is legitimate.

Below are some of the primary sources to add your business NAP: 

1.Google My Business
2.Bing Places
3.Apple Maps Connect 

Keep building additional citations on your social media profiles and other local directories once you achieve consistency.

Why is NAP consistency important?

The primary goal of any search engine like Google is to provide the most valuable and relevant information. Google’s algorithms have to sort all the information on the internet, so it uses many ranking signals to select the most appropriate results for its users’ queries. Other search engines, such as Bing, have almost similar processes.

There are factors involved in ranking websites at the top of the search engine results page and relegating others to the second page. For local search results, citations are among the most significant signals to Google and Bing to ensure that your business is genuine and the information it could serve users is accurate. 

Local business citations with significant inconsistencies are given a demerit in the search engine’s ranking results. Companies with consistent names, addresses, and phone numbers around the internet are ranked higher because consistent citations mean your company cares about giving searchers the correct information to search engines like Google.

The same logic can be applied to users looking for information about a company. If you were trying to get in touch with a business and found their online listings inconsistent with an old phone number or address, it would be a poor experience. The customer or prospect may think a company that doesn’t bother to update its contact information isn’t reliable enough to handle your business. 

According to data, around 73% of users lose trust in a company if their business listing contains inconsistent data. The best brands stay on top of their online presence by keeping all their directory listings updated.

How consistent does NAP have to be?

Not all NAP citations must have every character, space, and dash be perfectly aligned the same way. For example, phone number formatting doesn’t have to be exact in every citation. Google algorithms have the ability to regularize local citation data about slight variations in standard abbreviations and formats. 

The key takeaway here is to do your best to keep a consistent business name, address, telephone number, and website URL in online listings, but don’t worry about unavoidable slight variations. The search engine algorithms can figure it out. Keep your potential customers in mind and make sure it’s easy for them to find your business, and stick to a consistent format across all online listings as much as possible.

Local search rankings will not impact if a suite number is missing or formatted differently. 

Suppose you still face trouble with search rankings after your consistent business listings on all the major listing websites, social media, and local directories. In that case, there are more significant factors to look at. Check for search engine accessibility of your site, the content you publish, and your backlink profile. 

Above all, make sure your citations are correct, and if you do make a change, but the effort is to update contact info everywhere, a potential customer might find it.

Three common local citation issues

NAP consistency across local citations is an essential SEO factor for all local businesses. Below are the three common local citation issues which make the local business listings inconsistent and affect search visibility.111

1. Incorrect information in a citation

Incorrect information, changing your telephone number or address without updating online listings, pushing incorrect information through data aggregators, or getting someone else’s old phone number without knowing can affect your local rankings. Search engines receive mixed signals if the local citations have incorrect business information. This digital confusion leads search engines like Google and Bing to demote your local search engine rank and promote your competitors who are consistent with their NAP across the web

2. Duplicate Listings

Having Multiple listings for your business across the same directory can cause issues to your ranking. Search engines can recognize the duplicate listings as misleading and not knowing which one to trust or rank. Your potential customers will also get confused, not knowing which listing to leave reviews under and perhaps getting incorrect information.

3. Unclaimed or unfinished citations

Unclaimed or unfinished citations can also hurt your local business rankings. To give Google and Bing the correct information to work with, it’s essential to claim your local online citations and fill out every field with accurate information.

Conclusion

As a business owner, you have to try your best to keep the NAP consistent across all the essential listing websites. Hire resources who have previous experience in local SEO. If you’re a local business owner and need help optimizing local search results, reach out to us at Oamii. We have a team of experts who have in-depth knowledge and experience optimizing local SEO campaigns and resolving common SEO issues. Contact us today by filling out this form to get a free consultation from our certified experts.