When it comes to local SEO, there isn’t too much that is as important as having NAP consistency.

No. We aren’t referring to having regular afternoon sleep patterns! The acronym NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone. And, it is essential to keep it consistent across the web.

There will be many ‘mentions’ of your business around the internet. Some of these you have created, while many others are created by others – often automatically.

But, sometimes digits are mixed up. Leading to potential issues on how search engines interpret your business info.

Something relatively simple like a missing digit from your postcode (ZIP Code) or how your phone number is shown can easily lead to a bigger problem. Small changes like this start to erode the consistency of your NAP and then these spiral into further variations.

This post will help you to understand just how important a consistent NAP is to your overall local SEO efforts.

Local SEO 101: NAP Consistency Is Your Friend

Why NAP Consistency Is Important

It’s probably not the most exciting of topics, but having a consistent NAP is essential for good local SEO.

Your NAP is generally found when you have a citation on another website. Be it Facebook, Google Maps or other localised business directories.

Pretty much every single local SEO ranking factors survey explains that citations are one of the most critical factors in determining if you feature high up in local search. 

Therefore having consistent data for both humans and search engines is pivotal in ensuring that your strategy isn’t flawed.

Why Outdated Citations Negatively Affect Local Search

Google reviews many different data points about a website before determining it trusts the information.

Having citations that are identical is an effective way to ensure that this information is well received by the search giant. It likes this and is happier to ‘promote’ it higher in the results pages.

But, warning signs are there if NAP data starts to get mixed.

To Google (and the other search engines) it prevents them from being confident about the information that they see. Suggesting that something is wrong. 

Because of this, rankings suffer. Your website doesn’t enjoy the visibility that it should. Competitors find it easier to outrank your page. You lose out on new business opportunities.

NAP & Voice ‘Visibility’

Voice search continues to grow, with more and more people turning to this method to conduct their searches.

Google has to have confidence in your website to show it in search results. The same applies to searches that are carried out by voice.

Google needs to be confident that your business information is accurate when populating traditional search results, and it also requires that same trust for other forms of search results, including voice search.

Voice search can represent a significant source of traffic to your local business, so the importance of this should not be underestimated. 

Smart speakers are now seen as pretty much an integrated part of home life – therefore voice search is only going to increase.

The Starting Point Of Consumer Interaction

Finding out about a business name, address and phone number tend to be the initial point of consumer interaction.

However, when data points are inaccurate this leads to confusion and mis-trust. 

Most consumers will embark on this journey via a smartphone, using their favourite search engine. 

Any discovery of your business name, address and contact information can be the starting point for the consumer journey. 

Imagine if your phone number is wrong. They can’t get through. They can’t contact you. 

Leaving you exposed to them calling a competitor.

Consumer Trust Or Not!

If first impressions are anything to go by, you will want to make a positive one.

Sending them to an incorrect location isn’t going to endear them to do business with you.

Research suggests that around 94% of consumers hold the individual business responsible for mixups like this. Almost certainly guaranteeing that business is lost. 

Over ¾ of all people state that trust is lost due to the inconsistent contact details.

Increased Referral Traffic

Businesses that have a consistency in their NAP data can expect to receive numerous benefits.

One of these is a growth in referral traffic. Making your website more discoverable is a great way to drive traffic, especially ‘ready to spend’ traffic searching for local service suppliers.

People trust in the information that they see on these highly credible directory listings. As such they are much more likely to click through to your site and engage with you.

Measuring NAP Consistency

You can either keep a record of all your citation listings; however, this is likely to be out of date quickly. 

This is because you only generate a percentage of the citations that are out there. The remainder are created by bots and other automatic sources.

As such you may think that you have fewer citations than you really have. 

Thankfully when you partner with a reputable agency you don’t have to worry about this as it will be included in any local SEO that you pay for.

The alternative would  be to subscribe to one of the automated tools that are available and review the data yourself.

A Consistent Footprint

Ensuring that all the data points match up isn’t an easy task.

Thankfully the search engines have evolved to allow for a high level of understanding. This means that you needn’t worry about the minor things like certain abbreviations. Google is clever enough to know that “#” and “No” are the same thing. The same applies for “St” and “Street”.

This means that you can turn your attention away from formatting issues and focus on the more important details such as the correct usage of your NAP.

The Wrap Up - Why NAP Consistency Is Your Friend

Hopefully now you have bought into the concept of having a consistent NAP.

It’s your gateway to influencing Google’s trust in your brand. Which gives you the opportunity to deliver your services to local clients.

Ignore it at your peril as it is one of the major factors that help to determine if you are found locally or not!

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