What is NAP consistency? And why is it so important for Local SEO?
What is NAP consistency?
NAP is an acronym that stands for the name, address, and phone number of a location-based business. Here is an example of NAP.
John Doe’s Gardening Company,
19 High Street,
According to SEO experts, NAP consistency is one of the most important local search engine ranking factors for location-based businesses. As per the best local SEO practices, a business should have an accurate and consistent NAP across the web. In other words, the listing you saw above should not contain different information on different sites on the internet.
Having a consistent NAP helps Google identify a business, build citations, and send search traffic to it.
What is the SEO value of NAP?
Why is NAP a significant local search engine ranking factor?
For a second, think about what Google wants? Google wants to serve its customers (online searchers who are looking for information on the web using Google) in the best possible way.
This means providing them with the most accurate, reliable, and useful information as quickly as possible.
That is why Google looks at citations to ensure that a business is legitimate. This leads to higher trust among potential customers. As more and more listings pile up, Google thinks of your business as more reliable.
However, it is important that all those listings have the same information and that they are accurate and consistent across the web. Once your business has become credible and legitimate in the eyes of Google, the search engine will display your business listings on the first search engine results page (SERP), knowing that it is an accurate and reliable result for its users.
On the other hand, if your business listings (NAP) have inaccurate or inconsistent information on the web, it makes it tougher for Google to rank it higher and display it to search engine users.
Inaccurate NAP can lead to frustration for users. Studies reveal that up to 73 percent of customers can lose trust in local businesses with inaccurate business listings. And Google does not want to send online searchers to such websites.
Therein lies the true value of NAP and NAP consistency.
The main purpose is to provide users with the best possible user experience by offering the most reliable and accurate information about a business they might be interested in.
5 tips for ensuring NAP consistency
Now that you understand what NAP is and why NAP consistency is so important, here are 5 tips to help you ensure that your business listings remain accurate and consistent across the web.
- Conduct a quality audit to see what is already listed online. Run a Google search for your business name and take note of how many listings appear and what they have. Try searching with a combination of your business name, address, and phone number, and see how your business listing appears on different websites.
- Determine how your business listing should appear before you start making changes. This is arguably the most important step to avoiding NAP inconsistency in the future. Decide if you want to use an abbreviation in the address or not, which business phone number you are going to use, if you are going to use the full name of your business, etc. Then stick with it for all future business listings.
- Update your Google My Business profile and the NAP information in there.
- Update your website with the new business listing and format. It is important to place the NAP in a text-readable format (i.e., not in an image format) on the contact page of your website. You can also use it in the footer section of the website. Wherever you place it, though, make sure that the web page is crawlable and indexable by search engines, i.e., search engine crawlers are not disallowed to crawl that page.
- Add local schema markup to your website with Google Structured Data Markup Helper so Google can more easily understand your NAP information. Once done, you can check the validity of your schema markup with Google’s Structured Data Testing tool.
As mentioned earlier, NAP consistency is one of the most significant search engine ranking factors for local businesses. Follow the tips mentioned above to give your local business a better chance to rank higher on Google SERPs.
If you have any questions or need any help, please reach out to us.