Digital Media Executive, Lee Faulkner, pens a search blog for Hunterlodge.
A major factor in determining how your website ranks for local search terms is the quantity and quality of citations and how consistent your NAP is across these citations.
So what does NAP stand for?
NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone number. Having this information correct and consistent across all key citation directories such as Google My Business and Bing Local are integral to boosting your company’s local listings. Likewise, if your company NAP listing is incorrect, inconsistent or there are duplicates across the citation website, this could have a negative impact on your local search engine position. Just because you or someone at your company didn't create or publish the information doesn't mean it's not polluting your websites local ecosystem.
Example of a poor NAP Consistency
Let’s pretend Hunterlodge have only recently moved to our current location in Rickmansworth. We’ll pretend that previously we were located in Manchester.
Two years ago, Hunterlodge submitted a business listing to an online local directory with this information:
Hunterlodge Advertising, 123 Portland Street Manchester M1 4WB, 0161 496 0971
However the company moved, then submitted a listing to the same directory without updating the existing listing:
Hunterlodge Advertising 171 High Street Rickmansworth, 01923 714949
As each listing varies, these will be seen as different businesses by search engines. In this case, you never know which of your listings will outrank the others. You may end up with a highly visible listing with an old address, a wrong phone number or other issues showing up for your searches instead of your new and approved listing. New customers may be misdirected by the bad data, causing you to lose business.
Benefits of consistent NAP Listings
While NAP Consistency is particularly important when optimising for local search, it actually plays a role in all types of search engine rankings. If you help the major search engines establish an overall perception of information consistency when its crawlers look at your business’s online presence, you are helping the search engine display your business listing correctly.
- Increase organic rankings by having consistent NAP listings across all channels and websites.
- Appear higher in search engines for localised keywords.
- Receive increased traffic to your site, which are likely to lead to an increase in calls and enquiries.
- Help new and existing customers easily find your website and location which will increase footfall.
- I have found a number of issues including duplicate listings and incorrect information, what should I do?
- Audit Your Citations – Start by auditing every citation source you find for your business. On the main local listings site, these include: Google My Business, Bing Local, Yell, Yelp and Thomson Local.
- Record the Data – Record the NAP information in a spreadsheet and don't be shy with the details. After you have identified a problem make sure to colour code the row which will help prioritising actions.
- Add Citation – For any of the major listing providers that you cannot locate your details, create a new listing with the correct information.
- Outreach & Fix – Once you have a list of your action items, you can sort the list by RED or priority items. You can then outreach to these sites and record it within your spreadsheet.
- Follow Up, Record, & Repeat – You may be able to edit your NAP listing yourself, however you may need to send an email to the listing supplier. If so, they may not make the changes immediately, this means you will have to check and re-check until these issues are cleaned up. The reality is that some of these listings will require multiple contacts to get fixed.