There’s a lot of acronyms going around in the digital marketing industry. You have CRO, CTA, SERP and NAP to name just a handful. NAP is one that we learn a lot about, primarily because it’s a vital element of local search. While the definition of NAP is essentially quite clear, there are aspects that need to be identified – namely, the consistency of NAP.
By just mentioning the NAP consistency, one might trigger anxiety, because it sounds like something horribly complex. Fortunately, in this situation, the reality is quite different. It’s worth doing this correctly and giving importance to the details as it’s one of the key elements to gaining high-profile local search exposure.
NAP accuracy is essential not only for search engine ranking algorithms; it can also have a significant implication on the user’s view of your company and influence whether they perceive your firm positively or negatively. So, while NAP itself is quite simple, there’s a lot more going on underneath the surface, ensuring that your local search visibility is configured and works well for your business.
What Does NAP Stand For?
To put it simply, NAP means:
- Phone Number
All three pieces of details are relevant specifics in their own right, but put them combined, and that could be the trigger for a customer heading to your store – or the reason they get confused, irritated, feel like the waste of time and energy, and end up walking into your competitor’s place.
As we’ve learned, NAP is a significant ranking factor, but you might as well notice you’ve got a lot of NAP directories that you haven’t already set up to create. That’s the reason NAP listings emerge organically merely as a result of your regular marketing efforts.
For instance, if you launch a Facebook business page and fill in the appropriate profile information, you’ve manufactured a NAP citation. If you generate an event and share particulars of the event online, maybe so that consumers can purchase tickets or local people can visit your business premises, you have unwittingly added another NAP citation to your list.
Similarly, if you present at a conference and that conference posts exhibitor details online, or if you’re referred to in a local forum, newspaper or magazine post, or if you connect your site to a market directory to guide niche traffic to your company, you’ve packed more NAPs without even trying.
Is Your Website Included in Your NAP?
We’ve defined that NAP references can take several forms and take place in a wide range of different places, from social media accounts to directories, journal articles to reports, but nowadays NAP consistency also incorporates the website. This is a spot where you, of course, refer your company name to the customers, offer your contact information to your clients, as well as provide directions to your stores. Irrespective of whether they’re grouped together in the same section of the website or spread on the page, the details still qualifies as a NAP citation.
Having said this, you’ll need to be mindful of how you refer to your name, address, and contact details on your own site much as you do when you make citations or offer simplified contact info somewhere else.
How Does NAP Inconsistency Take Place?
It’s convenient to get into the mindset of thinking about NAP as a carefully orchestrated thing you do while you’re specifically attempting to produce references. In reality, this is something that always happens pretty normally in the process of marketing efforts, such as writing an article or producing a new web page.
Due to this reason, it’s possible to be caught completely off guard and fall into the pit of ignoring the consistency of NAP purely because you’re more obsessed with the real job at hand, not the NAP that you’ve created at the time as a natural result of your attention.
NAP consistency can also fall short of being perfect when the NAP mentions follow different formats. Since you can find yourself inserting NAP details in a wide variety of habitats for a number of different purposes in a multitude of varying places, continuity may be difficult to retain. This is particularly valid if you update a social media presence one minute, instantly followed by the purchase of a directory listing.
Similarly, you’re not necessarily going to be the one who physically produces a citation all the time. You may be contacted by a news reporter, for starters, and in their story, they abbreviate the name of your street or fail to provide the zip code. They may use the informal version of your firm name or do not use LLC beside your company name for styling motives.
You could also have other staff serving on your behalf, such as your local SEO department, who input your NAP data somewhat differently than you, causing differences over time.
Why is NAP Consistency Crucial?
NAP is recommended to be consistent since it is a ranking factor, i.e. NAP leads to on-page signals and quotations. It is also a crucial element in building customer trust.
Helps in Ranking
According to the Moz Local SEO Ranking Study, NAP knowledge is the top five ranking component. It accords to on-page signals and citation signals, all of which lead to a good local presence. As per Moz’s results, only Google My Business signals (including NAP in the business page), review signals, and link signals are more relevant for local pack rankings, with behavioral signals, social network signals and customization all deemed to be less significant.
It is also understood that Google (along with other search engines) use citations to collect business information. Google simply needs to obtain as much data as it can from a company to comprehend it. This ensures that the number of citations it will locate, the precision and consistency of information, and the reliability of the position of the data, all allow the search engine to create an image.
If the NAP is consistent everywhere, it is taken as a confirmation that the data is correct – ensuring that Google can reliably hand the same details for search users. On the other hand, the lack of continuity in the NAP is a red flag that chips away at confidence and hinders rankings.
NAP Consistency is Vital to Gain Customer Trust
It is difficult to further emphasize just how crucial the continuity of NAP is to customer trust. More than 9 out of 10 customers in the 2018 Local Citations Trust Report say they are irritated by inaccurate details in online directories.
This isn’t supposed to come as a shock, particularly when you’re factoring in that local searches appear to be powered by high intent. Think With Google reveals that 88 percent of users who use their mobile to perform a local search will visit a local store within a week.
If NAP data is unreliable, or worse, inaccurate, the user is likely to be substantially impacted. They could be heading to the wrong location. They could have wasted a ride. They will need to conduct multiple searches to find the right NAP information – all of which leads to feelings of dissatisfaction and ultimately destroys confidence in the brand. Ensuring continuity with the NAP eliminates this pitfall.
NAP Consistency is Key to Customer Eventually Purchasing Your Product/Service
Google’s study data indicates 96 percent of people turn to their cell phones when they need to do something, with 87 percent of those customers heading straight to the search engine. This means search results should be the first priority to ensure you create a path to purchase.
Consumers are quite likely to find a directory page, a Google My Business profile, a positive post or a social media reference since that’s your website. They are both exploration portals, making it much more crucial that your NAP is stable and up-to-date on the internet.
Just as providing reliable and precise NAP pushes customers down the buying route, inaccurate data will cause them to slip off the path. Plus, customers tend to put the blame for not fixing inaccurate information on the local company, not the directory platform that shows the wrong data.
Inconsistent NAP Significantly Reduces Your Potential Customers
Nine out of ten customers say they usually seek the business address on the internet prior to their first visit. As a brand, you need accuracy with NAP to ensure that the address they discover is right. If the customer discovers two different addresses, or anomalies, such as a different zip code, they won’t know where to go, and this might cause them to cancel their intended visit before they ever set out, losing you a transaction that you were never aware of.
Similarly, customers who fail to locate a company when they travel due to inaccurate or unreliable NAP details are more likely to quit and move elsewhere. Almost half say, they stop pursuing, and almost a third say they would rather head to a rival. The possible sales loss makes NAP inconsistency extremely costly.
The more reliable your NAP, the easier it is for customers and the more credible you tend to be.
NAP Consistency Contributes to Higher Referral Traffic to Your Site
So, we’ve learned NAP accuracy is important to the buyer’s experience and will help the local consumer switch from a search user to your client – but only if the info is reliable and correct.
We also saw NAP data could be an important aspect of local SEO rankings. It enables Google to create a trustworthy image of your business, review what it feels it knows about you, and securely deliver your business knowledge to local search users via the appropriate searches. This can only be achieved if the NAP is consistent. The more reliable you can be, the more you can make search engines trust your company.
Local customers often tend to be a very brutal bunch when it comes to finding bugs – they want companies to get it right and correct their faults when NAP is incorrect. Irrespective of whether your NAP features in an article, a review, a social media profile or in the Yellow Pages, it needs to be correct to capture the search visibility (leading to traffic to your site) and to drive the customer down the road of purchasing. This will usually include visiting your site. If your NAP is incorrect or wrong, you will limit your local ranking status and discourage local customers from visiting your website.
The simple truth is the more reliable your NAP, the more referenced visitors you can get to your page, whether by clicking from search results or from a trustworthy third-party site that shows precise business details.
NAP Consistency Helps You Rank Higher in Voice Search
Google claims that the pace at which users have embraced voice searches has been higher than the implementation of any piece of technology since smartphones. Voice search now covers handheld devices, which means that the target audience is potentially even greater.
Why is this important? Voice search is tightly linked to Google queries – with many smartphone owners turning to a voice assistant for hands-free experiences, such as while driving and in need of directions to a nearby business.
In a report on voice technology initiatives, Google’s Jared Belsky points out precisely why this is so essential, saying, “Smart speakers give one answer at a time, so if you’re not first, you’re last.”
Accurate NAP Enhances Reliability of Maps
Maps are all about NAP, obviously. Ensuring that the NAP is correct indicates that the user interface is even more consistent and can help users locate your physical brick and mortar position while preparing their trip. Again, this could be equivalent to an in-store guest or, in the case of false data, could result in the loss of a future buyer.
Google My Business details is used to populate Maps together with other Google resources, so it’s worth testing that the information you’ve supplied is still correct. If it’s not, it’s easy to make the correction through the editing feature.
What Other Business Data Should You Keep Consistent?
Besides the accuracy of NAP, some other pieces of company data need to remain consistent. Your web address is an obvious one in addition to your primary email address. Product and service details should also be accurate across your web presence.
For instance, if your product/service has been removed from your Google My Business profile, you could end up losing out on leads or sales. Likewise, if the product or service you have mentioned is withdrawn, it should be deleted from your web presence as soon as possible to prevent confusion and mistrust on the part of the consumer.
Many people turn to social media to locate local companies or source company data to ensure that the accounts are consistent as well. If you have older, obsolete accounts that are no longer in use, delete those references and replace them with active social networking accounts.
NAP data plays a vital role for both the visibility in the search engine and customer confidence. It will help you elevate your rankings or if done poorly, worsen your visibility. It could make it easier for consumers to locate you or you ended up frustrating them and stink up your brand trust.
Taking time to make sure you have NAP accuracy is a convenient way to feel assured that you’re doing everything you can to maximize your search presence and bring customers to your doorstep.