From SEO and Bounce Rate to NAP and Domain Authority, digital marketing is littered with jargon and acronyms. Knowing exactly how to improve your business’ online presence can be confusing, especially when letters and novel terms are thrown into the mix.
Fortunately for local businesses, we are on hand to cut through the language and explain what really matters. Whether you are looking to rise up the search engine rankings or just want to get your head around NAP, we’ve put together this guide to NAP Consistency, its components, and why it’s important.
If you need an introduction to SEO, read this helpful blog.
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What Does NAP Mean?
The NAP acronym stands for Name, Address, Phone Number – the critical location and contact details for any business. NAP details are found on business websites, social media pages, directories, and other websites. Using this key information, internet users know the official business name, whether a business is local or not, and how to get in contact.
Many businesses will have their NAP information clearly displayed on their website, often in the footer, so users can easily act on the information. Without displaying NAP, potential customers cannot get in touch or visit the business and possible income is deterred… certainly not ideal for business.
But NAP isn’t just import for customer contact, it is beneficial in helping a business rank well in local organic search results. Search engines want to help out users – they want to present results that match the search in terms of content as well as locality. Using NAP, search engines know where a business is based and whether they can be of service to a geo-targeted search.
The above general search for ‘computer repairs’ in a specified location has returned results from the area given, narrowing down the search for the user. Note the integrated option of getting directions for the businesses that have given their address, further facilitating the user.
Even without a specified location within the search, search engines like Google will use your device location to retrieve local results, possibly even closer than wider area searches.
In essence, NAP information lets search engines know more about your business, including location, so they can point interested users in your direction.
So, What is NAP Consistency?
As the title suggests, NAP Consistency is all about uniformity. Across all platforms on which your NAP information is listed, you want the same information, with the same spelling, in the same format.
For example, we could have 3 variants of our NAP across our website, Google Business Profile, and Facebook Business Page causing confusion (including our old address):
Inconsistencies result in issues, not least potential customers not being able to contact you! Additionally, search engines are constantly gathering data and trying to understand businesses before presenting them as highly ranked search results, so it is vital your business comes across as trustworthy to search engines.
Old or incorrect NAP can give users a bad impression of your business, make search engines lose confidence in your creditability, and generally cause detriment to business.
Therefore, although cliché, consistency is undeniably key.
How Do I Know if My NAP is Consistent?
Seeing as uniformity is so significant, it’s important to check your business’ NAP is consistent across all the relevant platforms.
If you aren’t sure where your business may be listed or what information has been used, go to a search engine and search for any old information (i.e. old phone numbers, previous addresses, or abbreviated names) which may have been previously used for NAP.
Whether you come across any NAP requiring amending or not, it is critical to regularly check and update business information.
Why is NAP Consistency Important for SEO?
NAP Consistency not only presents your business well to potential customers, but also bodes well for SEO; i.e. NAP Consistency is a ranking factor.
Search engines want to help users and strive to present results that are trustworthy, specific to the user’s location, and ultimately useful. NAP plays a key role in search engine confidence in your business, as well as aiding search engines in retrieving local results for geo-targeted searches.
In terms of SEO, NAP Consistency goes a long way in promoting your business to local users in a highly ranked position. Ultimately, NAP is one of many components that promote search engine favourability, increasing search ranking, local organic traffic, and, consequently, leads.
Tips for Good NAP Consistency
So, you’ve realised the significance of NAP, but how do you improve upon simply listing information? Here are some tips for good NAP Consistency:
Abbreviations are extremely tempting to use, especially if your business is already well known locally. However, search engines and users alike will know your business’ official name, so it is best to keep it uniform across NAP. Examples of common abbreviations are St. for street or M&E for Mechanical & Electrical.
Add Your Website
Although the acronym is NAP and doesn’t easily make a common word by adding ‘W’, your website is an essential addition to any NAP information. Just because users are already on the internet, doesn’t mean they don’t need reminding of your website, especially for referrals from social media.
Keep NAP Updated
It goes without saying that ensuring NAP is up to date is critical. Users visiting old addresses or ringing previous telephone numbers are lost business!
Set Up a Google My Business Account
Google is without doubt the most popular search engine, so it is crucial to gain credibility with it.
Creating a Google My Business account allows you to access a variety of useful tools for digital marketing and SEO. Most importantly concerning NAP, through this account, you can manage your Business Profile, the one-stop-shop for users looking to find out more about a business.
When searching for a local business or service, users are instantly drawn to the informative profile from which they can access all the information they require.
Once created, a Business Profile is easy to update, maintain and add to. You can even integrate reviews on your profile – of which there are many benefits!