04 Nov The Importance of NAP Consistency in Local Business Listings
If you’re looking to improve your ranking in local search, then it’s important that you keep the NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) consistent on each listing.
The NAP is important because it helps search engines determine that the business is genuine. Think about it; if your business does not have this and instead has a number of different details, it is going to be hard to rank because the search engine won’t be able to decipher if it’s a real business. Also, a consistent NAP is valuable to business listings – which are like ‘votes of confidence’ for your website. Thus, keeping your details consistent is key to getting more listings.
Part of my job is to clean up these listings and ensure that the details are consistent. Sometimes they are, other times they can be very messy. This usually occurs when people change the address or telephone number of their business, so they then proceed to create new listings with these details instead of amending or deleting the old ones. Whilst this may seem like the easy option, it actually creates more mess because to the search engine you already exist at an old location, so when you churn out new information it becomes confusing.
I once worked on a client who had created multiple Google+ listings at different addresses, as well as various listings on external directory sites, and it actually became quite challenging to clean up because there was a lot of different data across multiple listings. When your listing is on, say, a directory such as Yell, other small directories then scrape that data, so you could say it’s a bit like a domino effect.
Ensure the NAP on your Google+ listing is correct and up to date, because this helps eliminate any issues that could arise.
Then, when you create additional listings, you need to make sure they match with the one you have on your Google+ page to avoid any confusion and duplication. If you find that you do change address, contact Google My Business support to request the update to your page.
It’s best to remember that with local SEO business listings, less is more. The more business listings you create, the harder it is for Google to recognise the data that is on those pages, and if you have a lot of citations, the harder it is to amend them if you do change any of your NAP. A clean and consistent NAP will be easier for the search engine to read, meaning that you should start to rank for the terms you’re going after.
Remember, it may seem like the right thing just to create new listings with new or different addresses, but if you want your business to rank locally, then you should keep things simple and consistent. If you need help working out what type of SEO you need, check out my guide here.