Digital marketing plays a significant role in growing a business online, albeit when it is strategically done. When it comes to it, there are many acronyms business owners may find confusing, from SEO to KPI to SERP. However, apart from ROI, another basic acronym any business owner should know about is NAP.
What does NAP stand for?
The acronym NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone number.
Think for a moment about your business website like that of a brick-and-mortar store. You've got a physical location, your business name, and a contact number for customers to reach you. This information is essential for any business to get known for by customers or prospects when they look for your products or services
The NAP for your business is a basic and essential component for your business if you want to rank well in local online organic search results.
What is NAP Consistency?
These three nuggets of information allow users and customers to know about you as a business.
A study shows that keeping your NAP information consistent across the internet in business directories and listings impacts your website's performance by as much as 16 percent, thus making it easy for Google, the other search engines and potential customers to find you. This greatly reinforces trust in your brand, even if they've never heard of your business before.
Why is it important?
Google values consistency in your listings. And just as users value consistency in communication which leads to better customer experience, NAP consistency helps your business listing rank better in Google.
Google aims to serve up search results by providing the most accurate and relevant information. If your business NAP information are the same across all platforms, Google can confidently put your information against related search queries and will be more likely to serve that search result because trust is a big factor.
Imagine Google serving up businesses in the search results that do not exist or showing them up in the wrong location. No way! Google's main goal is to give the searcher the results they require.
Why is NAP consistency important? That is a question asked by many business owners. Here are the answers.
- Validates your business legitimacy
- Better organic search rankings
- Increased website local organic traffic
- Generate more leads
- More sales conversion
Some ways to improve NAP Consistency for SEO success
1. Know and Map Out Your Business NAP
Before setting out to do anything, you need to know what your business NAP will be. For business with multiple locations, set up your fixed business name, address, and phone number information.
Use the exact or entire business name that you will use on your store signage, brochures, and business cards.
Use your company's full validated address. Make sure it is properly formatted and an exact match on all directories and listings, social media profiles, and any other location on the internet. Do not use P.O. boxes, UPS Store addresses or cross-streets. You can use abbreviations within the address but it should be consistent on all citations across the internet.
If you're changing your business phone number and/or address, make sure you change it on all locations.
2. Double-check Your NAP Data
Once you have decided on your business name, address, and phone number, it's time to fill out some paperwork and make it official. Double-check to make sure your NAP data are accurately encoded as they were initially recorded.
Check for duplicate listings, otherwise, Google wouldn't know which listing to trust and rank. Duplicate or multiple listings can also confuse users which can negatively impact your business. Should you find or have accidentally created duplicates, claim your business listing, go through the verification process, and contact the website owners to have them removed.
Avoid using variations in your NAP profile. NAP variations can also confuse search engines and prevent you from reaching optimal visibility in local online search results. Do not use different or multiple phone numbers for a specific business location.
3. Update Your Website NAP Information
Think of your website as your brick-and-mortar company or storefront. It is the face of your business which people will go on in their online search. With this end in mind, all your NAP information should align with your website. Make sure to be up-to-date and consistent with your NAP data on all the pages of your website, particularly in areas like your header and footer. It should be compliant with proper spelling, grammar, and text formatting, readable, and indexable by search engines. NAP information on images cannot be read nor indexed by search engines. With proper and visible NAP information on your website, indexing your site for search engines and optimizing it for local SEO will become easy, and your users will find it easier to contact you.
4. Update and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
Your NAP information is set, now it's time to update and optimize your Google My Business page. Google My Business and updated NAP data are critical components for any local SEO strategy for your business to scale. When your NAP data are consistent, and Google My Business listing updates and optimization steps are done right, it will be easy for search engines to trust your website. Once Google verifies your business, your exact NAP information will appear in Google's Local Pack when users search for your business.
Tracking your optimization progress is accessible on your Google My Business dashboard. You can add other things to your Google My Business page, as well as monitor and analyze your profile in Google Analytics to reach 100% optimization.
5. Audit and Update Your Business Directories and Listings
When running your business and conducting quality audits on paperwork, it is essential to check how your NAP information shows up online. Make sure NAP consistency is maintained across all citations online – in your website, your Google My Business listing, social media profiles, and all other online directories. Make a quick search for your business name, address, and phone number, then two or three combinations of these information.
For a more detailed audit, you can use tools to identify your site's external links and possible issues with your website. You can organize your citations and listings on a spreadsheet to make it easier for you to figure out those that need correcting.
Whether you are building a new website or rebuilding one, it is important to regularly run quality audits to check the relevancy and consistency of your NAP data. Doing this will keep your online consistency and even increase your local SEO.
NAP consistency is an indicator that you have a legitimate business and that it is what and where it claims to be. In fact, over 70% of users lose trust in any brand or business if their listing contains inaccurate NAP data. While Google intends to show search results of businesses that meet their standards, NAP consistency is a ranking factor for Google Maps, letting people and potential customers find your business, keeping your business on top of your online presence, and eventually grow your business.