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Your Free Guide to NAP Consistency, Why It Matters & How to Get It Right
When it comes to digital marketing, there are so many acronyms out there that things can get confusing, from SEO to CRO to SERP and more. However, few acronyms cause more confusion than NAP. Many business owners hear about how important NAP consistency is and that they should focus on cleaning up NAP citations, but they’re sitting there wondering, “What actually is NAP in the first place?”
At Blue Corona, our goal is to make businesses’ SEO as successful, trackable, and understandable as possible—which is why we’re going to explain what NAP is, why it’s important for your company’s local SEO, and how to get it right.
What Does NAP Stand For & How Does It Affect SEO?
The acronym NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone number, and it’s critical for any business that wants to rank well in local organic search results.
Think for a moment about your company’s website. Somewhere on that website, you’ve got the name of your business, as well as the address and phone number at which potential customers can reach you.
We’ll use our own website as an example:
You can see that we have our company’s name and phone number displayed prominently in a sticky header at the top of the site, and we have the addresses of both of our offices (one in Maryland, one in Charlotte) in the site’s footer.
Hopefully, like Blue Corona, your company’s name and phone number are prominently displayed at the top of your website. In addition, we suggest that you display your company’s name, address, and phone number in the footer of your website, if you don’t already. It’s the best practice when it comes to user experience, for one thing—but it’s also critical for SEO purposes.
Why? Because search engines like Google take that data into account when they’re deciding which companies to show for geo-targeted searches (example: “Furnace repair in Bethesda, MD”)—and you want your company to show up.
You absolutely need the following on your website for NAP purposes:
- Your company’s full name
- Tip: Use John Doe’s Heating & Air Conditioning rather than just JD’s HVAC, even if your business is known casually around your community as the latter.
- Your company’s full address
- Tip: Decide if you’re going to write out your street address as 123 Blank Street, 123 Blank St, or 123 Blank St. on your site. Whether you choose to use the full word or the abbreviation, make sure you stick to it when creating social media or directory profiles as well so you’re consistent across the board (more on that later).
- Your company’s phone number
- Tip: Just like with your address, there are a few different ways to write your phone number. Whether you choose (555) 555-5555, 555-555-5555, or 555.555.5555, it’s important to use that phone number format every time you put your phone number anywhere on the web.
These tips may sound like common sense, but you’d be shocked how many companies out there have varied address information, conflicting phone numbers, and even multiple names floating around the internet! When you’ve got several people managing profiles and directories for your business, unfortunately, these things can happen.
Okay, So What Is NAP Consistency?
NAP consistency is when your company’s name, address, and phone number are listed the same way across the web, from your website to your social media profiles to directory listings (such as Google My Business, Yelp, etc.) and beyond.
Note: even though NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number, it’s important to make sure your web address is listed consistently as well.
Consistent listings include not just the same basic information, but the same spelling and formatting, as well. Search engines are all about the details!
When your NAP is consistent, the same information shows up on all profiles and in all directories, which helps search engines understand who you are, what you do, and how users can find and reach your business.
So, let’s consider these three listings using the same NAP discussed in the example above:
Listing 1: The Correct Listing
John Doe’s Heating & Air Conditioning
123 Blank Street
Charlotte, NC 28205
Listing 2: The Close-But-No-Cigar Listing
John Doe’s HVAC
123 Blank St.
Charlotte, NC 28205
Listing 3: The Casual Listing
Corner of Blank St. & Main St.
Charlotte, NC 28205
Depending on how many social media profiles your business has and how many directories it is listed in, it’s very possible that your NAP looks like this (if not worse). We see it with our clients all the time. It’s just not something people often think about when creating profiles or listings.
When all three of these listings are floating around, not only can consumers get confused about which listing is the correct one for the service they’re seeking, but so can search engines.
And trust us—you don’t want to confuse the search engines.
How NAP Consistency Impacts SEO
Considering Your Company’s Search Rankings, Organic Traffic & More
Many business owners brush off the importance of consistent NAP information, assuming that both consumers and search engines are smart enough to know that two similar listings, like John Doe’s Heating & Air Conditioning and JD’S HVAC, are the same.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
The truth is, NAP consistency is key for businesses looking to improve their search rankings, increase the local organic traffic to their site, and get more leads (and sales) from the web.
Let’s break that down for you. When users see your business listed under multiple names, with varying addresses, or using inconsistent phone numbers, they get confused. So, they turn instead to a company whose information is consistent because they have more trust and confidence in that listing.
And because users think and act this way, search engines also think and act this way.
If search engines are finding conflicting information about your NAP, they’re not going to know for certain what your business is or where it’s located. When the search engines find varied details about your company, they lose confidence in your listing—so they are more likely to provide users with another listing that they’re more confident about.
So, if you want to show up in the search results for relevant keywords in your service area, taking care of your company’s NAP consistency is your first step.
Download the 7-Step Guide to NAP Consistency for Your Company
Chances are you have a few questions at this point. The first is probably, “How do I know if my company’s NAP is consistent?” and will likely be followed by, “How do I fix NAP inconsistencies so my site will show up in local search results?”
These are excellent questions, and thankfully, we have some excellent answers. In fact, we created a comprehensive guide to ensuring your company’s NAP is consistent across the web, and you can download it right here! Just click on the image below.
We Can Take Care of Your Company’s Local SEO & NAP Consistency!
Maybe you’re too busy to take on this NAP consistency issue right now, but you still want to make sure it’s taken care of so your company shows up in local search results. If that’s the case, no problem—our team of skilled digital marketing specialists can handle it for you.
Contact us with your information, and we’ll clean up your local SEO in no time!
About The Author: Betsy is the social media lead and a digital marketing expert with Blue Corona. When she’s not managing Blue Corona's digital content campaigns she’s urban exploring, hiking with her dog, or teaching horseback riding lessons. Twitter: @educatedbets
View more blogs by Betsy McLeod