A vital part of growing any small to mid-sized business with an online presence is to develop your ranking for local SEO. Having your name, address, and phone number combination, referred to as NAP, across the web in relevant locations is one of the fastest and easiest ways to boost your local SEO ranking.
The above said, it’s imperative that NAP be accurate and consistent in content across the web. Wrong or outdated NAP info can hurt vs help your SEO goals. Plus, it leaves potential customers or clients unable to use your NAP info to contact you.
Where Should NAP Be Placed?
Local citations are brand mentions on web directories are ideal starting points for your business’s NAP info. These include:
• Google Places
• Your local Chamber of Commerce
• BBB (Better Business Bureau)
Being listed will improve your SEO ranking, and it can also make customers more likely to see your business in a random search or pick you specifically out when they can only remember a piece of your NAP from past interactions.
NAP Consistency And Accuracy Are Vital
Ranking is based on where all your NAP appears, but it’s also based on the NAP itself. So, don’t make the fatal mistake of just focusing on quantity. Search engines will examine the consistency and quality of a given NAP across the web. And it doesn’t just look at the local directories; Google will scan the entire web for any mention of the NAP and use the cumulative info to hurt or help your ranking.
NAPs that appear inconsistent between locations aren’t looked at favorably. These inconsistencies can arise because the info is outdated after you’ve changed your business’s name, phone number, or location. It can be from adding a toll free number. It can be that someone else’s old business NAP still appears to be in the same location as yours. Then there’s the old typo. Even if you have an expert plugging your NAP and SEO in around the web, they too can make mistakes. In any event, such inconsistencies hurt your SEO ranking by signaling to Google that your business isn’t reliable for search queries.
On the other hand, consistent NAP with the exact same information across the web signal to Google that you’re a legitimate business that searchers can rely upon to be accurate.
Ensuring NAP Consistency
If you change your NAP, always remember to change the info on local directories, landing pages, contact us pages, marketing pages, backlink pages, and any other online portal that your name, address, and phone number are present.
Do a search of each NAP element to ensure that outdated businesses aren’t associated with any of your current info.
Continue to do periodic searches of your own business to ensure that all posts contain accurate info without typos. Remember, the exact same NAP should be universally used across the web. If your business name is CuTTingUp, then make sure it’s not typed as CuTTingUp here, cuttingUp there, and then CuTTingUP somewhere else.
If you hire out for SEO services, do random spot checks to ensure your team is keeping up with NAP consistency tips.
In closing, underestimating the value of NAP consistency and accuracy can leave you with lagging local rankings. It’s a simple concept, but one that holds a lot of SEO power. Treat it with respect and you’ll reap the rewards of higher visibility.