NAP Consistency: Search Engine Optimization Tips For Local Business

(NAP) Name, Address and Phone Number

Trust is based on consistency.  Search engines depend on trust.  When you have consistent local citations, your business listing ranks well. But if your business is listed with different business names, under various categories  with conflicting addresses and phone numbers, “apart from causing confusion for humans, these discrepancies hinder Google’s ability to trust the data they have gathered from around the web about a given business. A lack of trust on Google’s part can spell ranking difficulties for the business.” MOZ

If you want to get more local search traffic, you must send a singular message.  The tiniest variation in your business name, address, phone and website address will suppress your rankings.

Get Organized

Library Card Catalog File

Don’t Deviate

Use identical NAP (name, address and phone number) on your site and all local directories. All citations must list your NAP precisely the same way. Any variations will hurt your rankings.  Think about it this way, Google wants to be a trusted resource for its users, just like you want your advice to be trusted by your clients.  You only want to recommend things when you’re confident in them – and if Google is not sure of what and where your business is, it is less likely to show your listing – especially if your nearby competition is more consistent than you.

Spammers ruin everything. Greedy business owners are always trying to “trick” Google by trying to create fake local listings. In order to sift the good from the bad, Google relies on other trusted websites to confirm business listings.  If a listing fails to “check out,” because the NAP is erratic, Google isn’t sure if it should send users there.

Problems can arise when your listing is even slightly different. Here are a few ways businesses screw up NAP:

Where Are You? Street addresses are easy to screw up. 123 Main St., 123 Main Street, Suite 244 … and 123 Main #244 and Main Street Floor 2 #44. Huh? Yes, Google will normalize minor variations ( like “Blvd. vs. Boulevard” and “St. vs Street”) but the fewer variations, the better.

Who Are You? John Smith, CPA? John Smith, Accountant? Smith Accounting Group, John Smith, CPA? John J. Smith

What’s Your Number? Your local number (best) Your 800 number? Your tracking number? An extension?

Which Website? If you have more than one site, choose just one to list.

Compounding Mistakes.  A few random listing errors can be shared across many different directories. As these errors and discrepancies spread, they compound the confusion.  Confusion leads to mistrust – and low rankings.

Fixing It

First, get your story straight. Are you trying to rank your business name or your own name – or both? Which category best identifies you?  What address and phone number will you display?

Next, submit your site to relevant websites and business directories. And do it regularly, not just once.  Keep adding citations.

Make it easy for search engines to match your site with your business and online sources.  Using  a consistent Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) will give you higher trust and more visibility.


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