The first and most important thing to know here is what NAP stands for. NAP is an acronym for name, address, and phone number. These are three key factors in every single business listing on the internet. Your business’ homepage URL should also be considered for NAP purposes. NAP consistency is the accuracy and consistency of a business’ name, address, and phone number across all listings on the internet, including social media profiles and third-party internet listing services (ILS).
NAP consistency is the foundation of local SEO and is a search ranking factor. Ensuring consistency among all business listings across the internet is essential for your business to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs). Local citations are the building blocks of local SEO. Using local citations is the best way to build a strong foundation for the rest of your local SEO goals.
What is a local citation?
A local citation is any mention of a business’s name and contact information anywhere on the internet. Some places where you may find these local citations include online directories, ILS, chamber of commerce mentions, social media profiles and posts, and anywhere else on the internet you can think of that would have a business’s name and contact information listed. These local citations do not have to directly link back to your site to provide search engines with positive signals about your business.
The easiest way to begin building local citations is to list your business on the major listing providers: Google My Business, Apple Maps Connect, and Bing Places. Ensure that all information on these listings is correct and complete for the best results. After you have established your business on the major listing providers, you can focus on building local citations through social media platforms and other online directories.
Importance of NAP Consistency
NAP consistency is one way that search engines establish trust with a business or listing. Google prides itself on delivering the most relevant and accurate information to its searchers, and your business will rank better if Google and other search engines trust your business and website.
To help you find what you’re looking for, we consider many factors, including the words in your question, the content of pages, the expertise of sources, and your language and location. Every day, fifteen percent of searches are ones we haven’t seen before, so we use automated systems to get you the most relevant and reliable information we can find.
To measure whether people continue to find our results relevant and reliable, we have a rigorous process that involves extensive testing and thousands of independent people around the world who rate the quality of Search.
-Google, How Search Works
Consistency among business listings on the internet promotes trust from search engines as it shows that your business cares about providing consumers with accurate and updated information. Businesses that have major inconsistencies in their listings will not rank as well. This is because search engines cannot trust them. For example, if a business has two different names and four inconsistencies in their hours among business listings on the internet, how should a consumer trust this business? Are they still open? Are their products or services good? Is this a scam? Both consumers and search engines will wonder these things if there are inconsistencies in your listings. The best way to ensure that your business can be found on the internet is by ensuring consistency among all listings and local citations for your business.
What are some common local citation issues?
While NAP consistency is key to being found online by consumers, there are some common problems that you may encounter with local citations. In an attempt to build the foundation for your local SEO, you want to be careful not to make some of these mistakes.
- If you have incorrect information in your local citations, you will lose ranking in SERPs. While you may be doing everything to stay on top of your business listing information, even forgetting to update your new phone number on one directory causes inconsistency in your listing, and you will lose trust from search engines and consumers. If you find it difficult to manage all of your business listings and constantly update them, Biewer & Associates can help! We offer local SEO solutions for small businesses to take the stress out of local SEO.
- Duplicate Listings
- If you have duplicate listings on the same directory or listing service, search engines–and consumers–will have a hard time knowing which one to trust. Having duplicate business listings is just as bad as having inaccurate or outdated information on your listings. If you have an old business listing that you no longer have access to, ensure that you take the proper steps before creating a new listing and leaving the old one up.
- Unclaimed and Incomplete Listings
- It is crucial to claim all of your business listings across the internet. Yelp! is a commonly overlooked listing that many business owners forget to claim, but it is crucial as Apple aggregates data from Yelp!. It is imperative that your Yelp! listing is accurate if you want to reach your customers with iPhones.
Local SEO for Your Business
Whether you have yet to claim a listing or feel that your business has a solid foundation, Biewer & Associates can help your business get found online! At Biewer & Associates, we utilize the latest software and techniques to maximize your business’s online reach and visibility. We have the capability to update your business listing information from one easy to use place and then push out your listing to over 70 different internet databases and data-aggregation sites. Contact us today and learn more about how you can reach more customers more effectively!