One of the key factors in determining the local ranks in search and ‘Maps’ on Google depends on a business’s quantity and quality of NAP consistency across the Internet.
The importance of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) these days in the marketing efforts of any online business entity cannot be overemphasized enough. This article will explain what NAP is, the importance of NAP consistency and where to list your NAP.
What is NAP?
NAP is the abbreviation for Name, Address, and Business Phone Number. It is a critical component in local real estate SEO. NAP is a major deciding factor of what search engines show on the search engine result pages (SERP). NAP citation building, when done correctly, will improve any online business’s chance of ranking high in the search engines, Google maps, and drive direct traffic from the places it is listed.
The occurrences of NAP data around the web whether in web pages, social media, apps or local listed directories is known as the local citation. In simpler words, NAP citation is the process when any online business’ name, address and business phone number gets mentioned in online results. as directory sites Yelp or Angie’s List, blogs posts, social media platforms, newspaper articles, etc.
What is NAP consistency?
The reason for the need of consistent NAP is the fact that Google and other major search engines want to ensure that people receive the most relevant and accurate results for local searches.
Major search engines such as Google place a huge emphasis on showing search results for location-based searches these days.
Google utilizes the location information for every business’s website and across various other websites to determine the search results. For this reason, having the NAP information updated and consistent across all platforms becomes essential for gaining the competitive advantage on the local SEO front.
Is NAP consistency important for SEO?
NAP citation consistency is an important concept for the online marketing of a local business and is crucial for the SEO (search engine optimization).
The consistency of NAP citation of a particular business across the web including the web pages, social media, Google listings, etc. is a major determining factor for the success of the Google rankings of your local business.
NAP consistency also creates an impression of trust. The search engines get the opportunity to authenticate and validate your business from multiple places.
Let’s understand this better with an example-
If, for example, you are a local realtor and your website contact page says Joe Smith Beach View Real Estate. 12 months ago you signed up for Yelp under the name Joe Smith Beach View Realty. Then, you registered Joseph Smith Beach View Real Estate on Citysearch. This is going to raise a red flag and/or Google will perceive them as three completely different businesses.
The name, address, and phone number that you use on your website on your contact page, headers and footers need to be identical everywhere else on the Internet.
Furthermore, consistency even goes for the way that you write your phone number. For example, if your website has 800-555-1212 then do not list on a citation as (800) 555.1212.
Search engines are ridiculously picky. To keep your citations consistent take a look at the following example:
Listing 1: THIS IS THE CORRECT INFORMATION
Joe Smith Beach View Real Estate
123 Clark St.
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
Listing 2: THIS IS THE INCORRECT INFORMATION
Joe Smith Beach View Real Estate
123 Clark Street
Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
NAP consistency, which is to ensure the name, address, and phone number of the business is listed consistently across the web, becomes crucial in such cases. In fact, it can be detrimental to how the business is ranked in the local search engine results if you even have small discrepancies as listed above.
The fact that major search engines such as Google constantly changes its algorithms, small companies find themselves competing against constantly moving goal posts for getting better search results. Basic SEO, hence, is crucial to have a reasonably viable online presence for any business.
What NAP citations are important for SEO?
The more relative citations that you can have the better it is for your SEO ranking. At a minimum, you should have local citations on Google My Business, Yelp, Trulia, Zillow, Superpages, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. You should also think about Apple Maps, Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Bing Places for Business, Yahoo Local, and LoopNet.
There are hundreds of other local citation sites that your business can be listed. The list above is a pure minimum.
How to get NAP citations?
To ensure that there is NAP consistency for the better SEO of your business, some of the steps could be-
First and foremost is to run a quick search for your respective business to see how your business is listed on the internet at various places. Although it’s a time consuming and tedious task to edit all the listings with the same information to achieve NAP consistency, it’s worth all the efforts.
Another way to deal with the inconsistencies in the NAP data affecting your business or to get new citations is hiring a company. Several national companies offer services to put your business information into a local data aggregator. This can be beneficial because it happens relatively fast and you only have to enter your information once. The downside is there will be a monthly fee. Once you leave the service all of your citations will disappear as well.
Manual citation submissions are more time-consuming but are also permanent. Once your business information is added the citation will not be removed. It may involve a little bit more of an upfront cost but may be a better choice for some businesses. No matter which way you decide to manage your citations, remember two things.
First, NAP citation consistency is critical to improving your local search engine result pages rankings.
Second, get as many relative citations to your niche as possible.
One last thing…
There are approximately 8 billion local searches a month at the major search engines like Google.
Approximately 85% of people who search for a particular type of local business call or visit one listed on the top.
Do it yourself or hire someone to do for you.
So, get to it!