• Learn SEO

Everything You Need to Know About NAP Consistency And How it Boosts SEO

  • Jenna Bunnell
  • 7 min read
Everything You Need to Know About NAP Consistency And How it Boosts SEO

Intro

What is NAP? It doesn’t mean a daytime snooze.

NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number. This information is displayed in any online directories and listings which include your business, as well as your own website.

It’s essential to highlight your NAP wherever you can. Name recognition is crucial for branding, your address will draw in local customers, and your phone number is necessary for everything from customer service to business text messaging.

A consistent NAP across your online presence is a search ranking factor for local SEO. This means that if your website is listed using identical accurate details every time, it appears higher in local Google search results.

Ensuring a consistent NAP should be an easy win. However, there are a few areas where businesses frequently make mistakes. For example, it’s not enough to have the same details listed, it also must be formatted and spelled the same way each time. Any slight discrepancy can throw off your SEO.

Why must NAP be consistent?

Google’s algorithm uses a variety of factors to determine which websites should appear higher in search results, and which websites are buried in later pages.

Websites which are deemed authentic, reliable and trustworthy will always rank the highest in searches. When it comes to local businesses, consistent NAP suggests your business is real and that you care about providing online visitors with accurate and up-to-date information.

Having inconsistent or error-filled NAP makes it more difficult for potential customers to contact you, and looks unprofessional. Google punishes this in the rankings.

Combined with fantastic products and customer service techniques, your online presence can have a real impact on customer conversion. Customers often search for businesses before visiting and making a purchase. Frequent search terms include “directions” and “address”. If a customer can’t easily find you, they may visit your competitor instead.

So, let’s take a look at how to perfect your NAP and boost your SEO.

Why must NAP be consistent? (Image Source: onthemap.com)

Set up your business details

If you are a young business, take SEO into consideration when you add your fixed business details online. Double check your existing documentation. If you have copies of your business’s registration papers, look at how you originally formulated your official business name and address. This is a useful road map for your online NAP.

Are you going to write out each word in full, or use any abbreviations, eg. “st” instead of “street”? Make a decision, then hold to it. Whatever you choose, it must be the same across all listings on the web.

Another crucial point to consider is your phone number. Search engines can recognize area codes, so they are useful to include as a means of improving local SEO. However if you do include the area code, you must include it every time.

Enhance your SEO by including keywords in your business name and descriptions in its listings online. For example, if someone searches “hair salon near me”, your business is more likely to appear at the top if it has “hair salon” in its name or description.

Make sure your website’s domain name is optimized for SEO, using either your business name or a SEO keyword. A free .io domain could make your URL even more unique and memorable.

Set up your business details (Image Source: library.umaine.edu)

Your quality audit

If your business has been around for a while, run a quick audit to see how your NAP looks at the moment and take a note of any areas for improvement.

Search for your business name, address, phone number, or some combination of the three, and scroll to see how it looks. Where are you currently in the rankings? Do you notice any discrepancies in spelling, formatting, abbreviations, or anything else?

If your business has relocated or changed its phone number, hopefully you have already updated the details on your website and main social media profiles. However, doing regular audits can flag up any areas you may have forgotten, or external websites which still list the old details.

Watch out for duplicate listings. If other websites list your NAP inconsistently or incorrectly, this can affect your SEO. Search engines won’t know which details to trust. Be vigilant about duplicates: claim and verify your own business listing, contacting other website owners to have them removed if necessary.

Your quality audit (Image Source: seranking.com)

Consistency across locations

So what if your business has multiple locations? Should you just give up on NAP consistency? Obviously not! For each location, you must provide clear and accurate details. Failing to do so makes it harder for new customers to get in touch.

Here are a quick few dos and don’ts for multi-location NAP.

Do:

Use one single website URL for all branches of your business. Having lots of similar-but-different URLs confuses both the search engine results and the customers trying to find you.

Include one single phone number for each individual location across all of your sites, directories, social media profiles.

Keep your details fresh. Any time you change your business name or address, update it online immediately, to avoid any inaccuracies.

Don’t:

Add multiple URLs or phone numbers for each location. This adversely affects your rankings. Keeping it simple is key. Having a lot of citations for your business makes it difficult to manage them. This eats into your time and slows productivity.

Prioritizing your most popular and frequently-visited websites and directories means less work for yourself and your colleagues. Plus, when customers search for your business, they will find one clear answer, which enables them to connect with you more quickly.

So, which areas of your online presence should you prioritize? Let’s take an in-depth look at how to optimize the pages which will appear first in a search.

What Local consumers want most from local business websites (Image Source: brightlocal.com)

Your website

Your website is the home of your business online. It should be friendly, welcoming, and accessible. It definitely shouldn’t be cluttered, confusing, or filled with outdated or inaccurate information.

You should feature your NAP and any other contact details for your business as prominently as possible. Making yourself easy to contact is how you convert idle page visitors into active customers.

The best way to do this is by displaying your accurate business name, address, and phone number in the header and the footer of your website. This way, any and all of your website’s pages appearing in the search results will contain your correct NAP data.

Next, you can submit these details, with the same spelling and format, along with your URL, to external or third-party websites or directories.

SEO Stats (Image Source: bluecorona.com)

Google My Business

If you search for a local business on Google, you’ll notice a few results appear before the rest, with links to the website and location on Google Maps. These are Google My Business listings (GMB). One way to ensure greater traffic to your site is by optimizing your GMB listing.

You can create a Business Profile on Google for free, and customize it to show off your business to its best advantage. Add opening times, pictures of your storefront and some of your products, and respond to reviews.

Again, all your details must be accurate. However, on Google My Business, it is permissible to include a call tracking number alongside your business number. This will not negatively affect your NAP consistency.

Call tracking is beneficial, as it allows you to record your calls and track important metrics, like length of call and call volume. As a bonus, it helps keep pesky spam calls at bay. You can use call tracking in combination with an enterprise phone system to keep all of your data in one place. If your business uses call tracking, add it to your My Business profile.

Always list the call tracking number as your primary number. Your business’s main line should be listed as an additional phone number.

Other listings and business directories

Other listings and business directories (Image Source: onthemap.com)

Online directories fall into three main categories:

Local directories

Online directories connected to a specific city or region. Registering with local directories can be helpful, as it provides more evidence to search engines that you do exist in your location. Plus, you can gather data about local customers for targeted marketing and ecommerce personalisation.

National directories

Directories which are country-wide attract more visitors, so this can be a boon for getting hits to your website. However, they aren’t targeted, so a smaller percentage of those visitors are likely to be converted into customers.

Industry directories

If you know of any reputable industry-specific directories, you should prioritize listing your business there.

Social media

Do a quick audit of your social media profiles by searching for “[your business] Twitter”, “[your business] Instagram”, and so on.

Check whether you have an account on each platform. Shut down any duplicate, fake or inactive accounts. Finally, inspect your NAP data. Do all of your accounts contain the same information as that which is displayed on your website?

Schema markup

A final tip to boost your local SEO: add a Schema local business markup to your website.

Schema markup is structured data. It is information which makes it easier for search engines to understand your website’s content. The more clear, accurate data you provide, the higher your website will rank.

Google offers its own Schema tool, the Google Structured Data Markup Helper. There is also a testing tool to make sure you have included everything you need.

Schema markup (Image Source: theaffiliatehub.net)

Wrapping up

Consistent NAP matters. In order to attract new customers, you must gain their trust. One way to do this is through a strong online reputation, with your business’s name ranked high in local searches.

Having poor NAP looks unprofessional, and suggests the information provided by your website and business is untrustworthy. Taking these simple steps to improve your local SEO should be a no-brainer!

About Author

Jenna Bunnell - Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Dialpad

Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system and an enterprise contact center solutionsplatform that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. She has also written for sites such as Spiralytics and Codemotion. Check out her LinkedIn profile.

Try Ranktracker for FREE