When it comes to SEO and ranking efforts, local businesses face an array of do and don’t guidelines on pretty much every single text, picture, and video facet associated with their website. A single wrong step can destroy your online marketing strategy, making it a daunting process for any business. However, one of the most common missteps might be in the most basic, simple, and fundamentally important facet of your brand – your NAP.
Local business owners face a multifaceted problem if their NAP is listed inaccurate and/or inconsistent across the web:
1. Customers with a vague idea of who you are have difficulty finding and/or distinguishing you.
2. It keeps random potential customers from seeing you.
3. It tarnishes your brand as inconsistent and a potentially unreliable source.
4. Ranking in local search ultimately suffers.
What Is NAP?
NAP is an acronym for your business’s name, address, and phone. NAPW, or NAP+W, is used when your info includes your business’s web address. Your NAP is like your online identification signature that (as a combo) can be compared to the business version of a Social Security number. In other words, the unique combo tells everyone you are who you are.
Most likely, your NAP is already listed on hundreds to thousands of various websites and apps where you, supporters, or data gatherers have marketed, referenced, listed, or otherwise keyed in your info. These info listings are called citations.
Search engines pick up these citations as checkmarks toward your business being search-reliable, meaning they use them as a local search ranking factor.
Most small business owners are surprised at how prevalent NAP problems are and how severely they affect ranking.
BrightLocal’s InsideLocal Webinar Series recently listed the most common local business search ranking issues, and guess what was number one? Yep, NAP citation inconsistencies. Duplicate business listings, optimization, poor links, and Google violations rounded out the top five.
As far as search engines are concerned, they often pick up incorrect and inconsistent NAP as referring to two separate businesses. When this happens, all the checkmarks are split up vs working together to increase rank. Search engines may also view inconsistent/inaccurate NAPs as businesses that can’t be relied upon to provide searchers with accurate results. Either way, the result for the business is the same – a lower rank.
It’s imperative that all local citations are submitted exactly identical every single time the info is listed.
Your NAP should look like this: