The identity of your business is primarily represented by your business’s name, address, and phone number. Keeping them consistent across the web is a must to rank higher on local searches.
What Is NAP and Why They Matter for SEO?
Your business’s Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) are three vital pieces of information that make you unique and distinguish you from other businesses. Therefore, you need to ensure that this essential information is displayed correctly and consistently on your website, local listings, directories, and social media profiles. You want your business’s NAP to be shown accurately on any online site it appears.
Unfortunately, not all business owners realize how important this is for their online reputation. For instance, their inconsistent NAP can negatively affect local SEO. Research shows that NAP or citation variance is the most common ranking issue affecting local search ranking, with 41% of businesses found having inconsistent and not up-to-date citations.
When your NAP is displayed accurately and consistently across the web, Google will see your brand as established and trusted. Maintaining trust with Google and not coming across as spammy is what gets you rewarded with higher rankings.
Simply put, when someone is doing a geo-targeted search for a product or service related to your industry, Google will scan, cross reference, and validate from various sources on the web. Then, it will take the most relevant data and present the data to the searcher on its result pages. So if your business’s NAP is not up-to-date and inconsistent across the web, how can Google know that your business is legit and reliable, and let alone rank it higher on the local pack?
A report shows that 80% of customers don’t trust businesses if they find inconsistent business names or contact details online. So not only will it harm your ranking, but having inconsistent citations will also make your customers get confused. You might run the risk of having them contact the wrong company. And, imagine receiving poor reviews because you’ve kept your company’s old address and customers think that you’re the one who has taken over the building. This sort of issue is entirely avoidable if you implement a consistent NAP.
Set Up Your Business’s NAP Accurately
Here’s a step by step guide to set up a consistent NAP to prevent your business from being on the low ranking on the local searches or losing customers:
Your Business’s Full Name
A business name is vital. You want to use your full company name and not the nickname you or other people use for your business in informal conversation. For example, if your business’s official name is “Big Star Citytown,” you’ll want to use that as your name across all platforms, and not a variation of it such as “BSC.”
The consistency of your business name across all platforms it appears on helps your customers identify you accurately and share the correct information about your business.
Your Business’s Full Address
Your business address provides physical evidence about where you say you are. If you have a brick-and-mortar store and your target market is local users, then having a consistent address is crucial as this piece of information will be used to help you rank locally.
Your business address needs to be the same on every site, and make sure you put the same version of the address across the web. You need to decide if you’re going to write out your street address in the full word or the abbreviation. For example, 1919 Main Boulevard, 1919 Main Blvd, or 1919 Main Blvd. on your site.
The consistency of your business name across all platforms helps your customers identify you accurately and share the correct information about your business.
Your Business’s Phone Number
While emails have been around for a very long time, customers will still prefer to talk to businesses by phone. If you are operating locally, having a local phone number will make a lot of sense, and you can use the one tied to your building.
Alternatively, you could consider the idea of a business phone number if you’d prefer to reach out to the customers who are both local and further away. Keep in mind not to use different phone numbers for a single business location.
If you have multiple locations, you need to provide a local phone number for each specific area and consistently put the number across the location page, citations, and GMB listing.
Like your address, there are different formats to write out your phone number. For example: (646)-123-4567, 646-123-4567, or 646.123.4567. Whichever version you choose, you need to be consistent and stick with it.
NAP Consistency Checklist
Now you have set up your business NAP. If your business has been on the web for a while, it’s time to conduct an audit. A quick audit is necessary to know what your citations look like on the web. It’s important to periodically check your business citations and update the information to make sure it’s accurate and consistent.
NAP on Google My Business (GMB)
Your GMB is a powerful tool that can drive your success on local searches. That’s why keeping your NAP updated on GMB is a necessity. Ensure you have the same business NAP listed on your GMB and across other platforms on the web. One thing to keep in mind is checking if you have a duplicate GMB listing. Don’t update information on your duplicate or closed listing, as this might confuse customers and harm your ranking. If you have a duplicate listing caused by business acquisitions or any other reason, follow these instructions to remove it.
NAP on Your Website
Your website is your brand representation that helps customers and search engines know who you are and what you do. The best practice to put your business NAP is on your site’s header and footer so that everyone can see them clearly on all the pages of your website.
Nowadays, you’ll usually have a Google Maps form to fill in on your website so your visitors can click the map and have directions to your location. Embedding a Google Map of your business sends a strong signal for your local SEO. If you don’t find your business in Google Maps, then you should verify your GMB listing.
However, verifying your GMB listing is only the first step for your business to appear in Google Maps. It would be best if you made another effort to be in the top rank on the SERP. The accuracy and consistency of your business citations throughout the web will build your location authority. And eventually, rank you to the top of the local pack.
Example of a business’ NAP on the website header and footer
NAP on Local Directory Listings
It’s essential to improve your local SEO efforts by creating citations on local directories and other industry-related directory listings. If you have a restaurant business, you might want to create a listing on Yelp, OpenTable, Superpages, or Allmenus. Ensure your restaurant’s NAP on the business directories is consistent and matches your GMB and website.
NAP on Social Media
Having business profiles on multiple social media platforms can have a significant impact on local searches. Keep tracking all your social profiles and ensure your business NAP on social media is up-to-date.
The accuracy and consistency of your business’s NAP across the web play a notable role in making you rank higher on Google Search and Maps. Not only does Google perceive your brand as legit, but it also affects the way your (existing and potential) customers view your business. The more consistent and accurate your NAP is, the more they will trust you and choose to do business with you.