If you are trying to tap the local market for your specific business, a perfect strategy for Local SEO is much essential. You might have found that when you type in a query for a local business, for instance, repair service in Toronto, Google pulls up a large number of companies—ever wondered how Google manages to pull so many results and how it ranks them? That is exactly where NAP consistency comes into play. 

NAP simply is the abbreviation for Name, Address and Phone. Google pulls these details from Google My Business profiles and other listings for determining the ranking of the businesses in the local search results. 

What does NAP mean in SEO? 

NAP in SEO is an acronym for Name, Address, Phone. The NAP information needs to be consistent across the internet. That would mean, you should have the same details for NAP parameters across the website, search engine results, social media profiles, directory listings, and on your Google My Business profiles. 

Why should you enter the current NAP without fail? 

Having correct NAP details in all your listings across the internet is required for an efficient local SEO. When someone searches for your business on the internet, Google goes through all the listings looking for proper citations for your business. A wrong entry in terms of NAP can lead to confusion and create a poor user experience for the visitors. 

Where should you enter your NAP?

The exact locations for entering the NAP depend on different parameters. In case you are looking for consistent NAP performance, it is advisable to understand a better placement of your NAP data. Each of the listings and listing types will have a differential requirement in terms of how well you place the NAP information. 

The right placement of NAP information on a website would be at the footer of the website. Ideally, it’s a good idea to place the NAP information on every page on your website. The right way to place NAP information should be in the form of HTML, which can be crawled easily. Other types of content, like images with NAP info, aren’t crawlable. 

What does NAP Consistency mean? 

NAP consistency refers to the consistency of your Name, Address, Phone data entered across all the locations across the web. It is important to have your NAP info the same across your Google profile, social media, website, and all other directories that you are part of. NAP consistency is important because even a minor error can affect your rankings severely. 

If your NAP details differ across different profiles and listings, Google- just like humans, gets confused and fails to display the results as per search queries. If Google finds such inconsistency, it treats it as a poor user experience and thus ranks it lower. 

There are several reasons NAP inconsistency can occur. The prime reason can be you have forgotten it inadvertently while focusing on larger marketing tasks. Yet another reason for NAP inconsistency can arise from outsourcing. For instance, you might have outsourced your social media campaign and website design to separate agencies, and this can result in an improper NAP consistency. 

Why Is NAP Consistency Good For SEO?

NAP is an important factor for local ranking as it can be a great on-page SEO tool. It is also important to build trust among your customers. 

  • NAP helps in ranking – NAP information is one of the top five ranking factors. Strong NAP consistency is seen as a sign of accurate information. 
  • Consumer Trust – Consumers can get frustrated with the incorrect NAP results and can find it annoying. An inconsistent NAP can make the consumer inconvenienced, causing them to lose trust in your business. 
  • It drives the consumers to purchase – Local searches have been observed to be the first call in a purchase decision. If you want your consumers to be on the purchase path, the first step in that direction would be to focus on a consistent NAP. 
  • Improved appearance in voice search – Voice search adaptation has been impressive of late. With close to 20 per cent search queries coming from voice searches, a consistent NAP will increase your chances of appearing in the voice searches. 

Is NAP a ranking factor? 

When ranking a local listing, Google takes into account three major parameters – distance, relevance and prominence. Relevance refers to the ability to associate the search result to the user query. Distance is the parameter decided upon the location of the user. Prominence is your popularity in your local region. 

From the factors above, it should be evident that your NAP consistency does play a major role in a better ranking. Google and other search engines focus on citations to arrive at the ranking. Google attempts gathering as many citations and info as possible to understand your business. It means the accuracy and consistency of the citations will improve your ranking and local SEO prospects. 

Better NAP consistency can help bring more referral traffic to your site and business. A proper NAP consistency can help build a credible image of your business. Irrespective of whether your NAP data appears in a review, Facebook profile or anywhere else, better consistency will improve the search visibility. The more consistent your NAP is, the more referral traffic will be directed to your site. The referral traffic can be through a clickthrough or from a trusted site. 

Problems with inconsistent NAP

Google values consistency in your listings more than anything else. When your listings across all the instances say the same thing about your business, Google or any other search engine would be confident about the information. They would provide the results to the users as an answer to the applicable queries. 

When the search engine finds any inconsistent info, the search engine decides to lower the rankings. Search engines do not want the users to have any poor experience. A lower ranking will make you lose customers. 

Ranking and losing customers part, inconsistent NAP info can negatively affect the credibility of your business in local search. It can also affect the placement of your business in the wrong category. A wrong location of the business can even lead to your business being rated as being not legitimate or fake. 

Summary

NAP consistency does play a major role in improving search visibility and acquiring consumer trust. It can even provide you with a huge opportunity in visibility in voice searches and improving local SEO rankings. 

Taking time to check your NAP consistency can optimize your search engine presence and thereby help drive more consumers to your business.