NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. If you are a local business owner, you may already know why this information is important to organic rankings; however, not all people recognize just how critical it is to have consistent and accurate NAP. The truth is that Google places a significant amount of importance on NAP when it comes to natural rankings. For example, consider how often you see local searches with listings for businesses without a website. This illustrates just how important accurate NAP can be to online success.
How NAP Can Affect Online Authority
Google tends to use the information gathered by NAP (along with the accuracy of how it is listed) to determine a business' online authority. What does online authority mean? It's all about becoming known as an industry leader and a credible source on a specific topic. Google will only show results for businesses they feel are qualified experts. There are multiple ways to establish your online authority, but making sure all your businesses local citations are showing the same accurate information everywhere is an important start.
Accuracy & Consistency with Your NAP
Let's use "Bob's Towing Company" as an example. On business cards, they are advertised as "Bob's Towing Company," but on Yelp, they are listed as "Bob's Towing Service." This might not seem like a big difference to most people, but to Google everything needs to match exactly; it's all about accuracy and consistency. In fact, a change as simple as abbreviating "NE" vs. spelling out "North East" in an address can prove to be crucial.
Creating a Strong & Accurate Online Presence
Google has provided three steps that businesses should follow when optimizing a listing:
- Make sure your listing is complete and accurate
- Choose the most appropriate and specific categories for your business
- Establish a strong and accurate presence on the web
The key guidelines are right there: you need to establish a STRONG and ACCURATE presence across the web. Never take these local listings for granted! It is vital that you set these profiles up with care as having incorrect data is harder to fix in the long run than just doing it right from the start. Google's algorithm history continues to show the importance of NAP and how big of an affect it can have on your marketing campaign.
At Scorpion, we don't see the importance of accurate NAP going away anytime soon. For that reason, we remain committed to helping clients build a strong, accurate presence across the web. Part of my job here at Scorpion is to make sure online directories are showing consistent, correct information for our clients. While this can be time-consuming, it is absolutely worthwhile—and we continue to see clients reap the benefits.