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What is NAP in SEO & Why Is It Important for Your Business?

Published by wadialbada
March 13, 2024
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In simple words, NAP in local SEO means making sure your business’s Name, Address, and Phone number are the same everywhere online. This consistency helps Google trust and display your business correctly in local searches.

Let’s dig deeper and know everything about NAP.

What is NAP in SEO?

Imagine you are craving a pizza while you are at a friend’s house. What do you do? You pull out your phone from your pocket, open your browser, start typing something like “best pizza near me,” and a list of restaurants with their details pop up.

Ever wondered why Google chooses to show these locations from the vast number of restaurants available?

Well, that’s where NAP comes in, which stands for “Name, Address, Phone number.”

Google uses NAP info to verify the credibility of your business and you have to make sure that your NAP info is consistent and correct across various platforms (Google My Business, social media, review sites, company websites, directories, and apps)

Look at the image above, that’s how it appears when you do NAP right.

Let’s discover how this essential local SEO element can make or break your business.

Importance of NAP in Local SEO

Ranking factor

In terms of local SEO, NAP can be a game-changer.

Google relies heavily on the details you provide to show in local search results.

When your business name, address, and phone number are provided accurately across various platforms, it satisfies what Google wants to know about your establishment and validates you as a trustworthy business.

However, be very careful and precise when you input this data as Google prioritizes accuracy. Even very minor mistakes or inconsistencies can confuse it to the point where it can potentially harm your local search ranking.

Impact of NAP consistency

A citation (in terms of local SEO) is a mention of your key business information on any platform of the web.

When you cite across multiple platforms, it will increase your visibility but, just make sure that the information that you provide has zero inconsistency and error.

It will confuse the search algorithm and Google doesn’t like to be confused – it wants clear, consistent, and accurate information. Studies show that a significant 73% of users lose trust in a business if its listing contains inaccurate data.

Once you successfully cite consistent NAP data, Google rewards you with increased local visibility and ranking. Why? Because it’s proof that your business understands the importance of maintaining an up-to-date online presence and cares about providing accurate and reliable information.

User experience

Google’s Local Pack is a search engine result page (SERP) feature that appears on the first result page of any search that indicates a local intent.

The image above features a map of three top business locations relevant to the search query for “coffee shops in Dubai.” Now, how is this related to user experience?

Many consider the start of a user journey when an individual spends time on a company website. But, in reality, it starts much earlier – from the moment you start Googling.

What if searching for coffee shops in Dubai led you to local pack listings that have incorrect or outdated addresses, phone numbers, and names that vary from one platform to the other? Would you call that a good user experience?

After all, if a business can’t get its contact information right online, how reliable can it be in delivering products or services?

Targeting mobile users

Mobile devices have become the tool for accessing information on the go, wherever they are.

As per Statista, in 2023, over 64% of global website traffic originated from mobile devices.

It is more than likely that anything users search for with local intent will be done using mobile for more convenience as 40% of users have been reported to find local businesses using their mobile phones.

When it comes to local searches, Google’s official Search Central emphasizes that they prioritize mobile-friendliness. By neglecting mobile optimization, you are losing a huge portion of potential consumers.

Imagine a scenario where you carefully cited your NAP into all the platforms with consistency without any mistakes. You have been successful in making your site show up in Google’s local pack listings but then the user finds the link to your site and finds the website like this (see the image below). Even after getting all your NAPs right, you still lose the potential consumer due to poor mobile optimization.

How do you know your site is mobile-friendly? Google provides a free site testing option so there is absolutely no excuse not to make your site mobile-optimized.

How to Maintain NAP Consistency?

Citations & directories

Maintain consistency and accuracy in your NAP information across these platforms if you want to win the local SEO game:

Google My Business (GMB)

This is a leading platform for local business listings, GMB is a must-have for NAP consistency. Ensure your business name, address, and phone number are accurate and up-to-date on your GMB profile. Regularly monitor and update your GMB listing to show any changes (eg. relocating your business to a new address) in your NAP information.

It is completely free and if you want potential customers to find your business easily, GMB is the way to go. If you don’t have one yet – sign up for your GMB profile.

Social media platforms

Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer additional opportunities to maintain NAP consistency and increase online visibility. Create your business profiles on these platforms and ensure that your NAP details are consistent with your other online listings.

Let’s say you run a clothing store. If your Facebook page has an old phone number while your website and Google listing show the correct one, this will result in the customers and the search engine algorithm getting confused.

They might try calling the old number and end up frustrated when they can’t reach you. This failure to be consistent could cost you sales and make you look unreliable.

By keeping all your info the same across social media and other sites, you make it easy for customers to find you and as a result, grow your business.

Local Directories

They are another key tool for maintaining NAP consistency and boosting your online presence. Online directories such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Trustpilot are valuable sources of NAP citations.

Search engine algorithms rely on consistent NAP information from different sources all over the web, to determine the relevance and authority of a business. So, the more correct your citations are, the better. However, inconsistent information can negatively impact your SEO performance and visibility in local search results.

For example, a potential customer recently moved to Dubai Marina and is looking for the service that your business provides. They find you through local directories like Zomato or Dubai Yellow Pages and with excitement go to your address only to realize that the address is outdated.

Why? Simply because you recently moved from Dubai Marina to a new location and forgot to change the address. You will never even know the number of potential customers you are losing like this.

Local Chamber of Commerce Directories

They are not a must-have for small enterprises but being enlisted here brings credibility and trust to your business. Consider enlisting your business in the Dubai Chamber of Commerce (or your local) directories as another opportunity to show your consistency and trustworthiness to Google as well as your potential customers.

Vehicle GPS

This is especially important when it comes to anything related to your business address. Whether it is an update or consistent formatting. Use the same address format as it appears on your official business documents. This ensures consistency and reduces the risk of confusion or errors.

Most vehicles rely on their GPS to navigate and find businesses. To optimize for this you must keep the name and address of your establishment very consistent and precise.

Additionally, you can include images of your store in the directories so that potential customers can locate you easily.

Avoid duplicate listings

Take the image as an example of duplicate listings, see how Rosen Injury Lawyers uses the same business name on Google and a new phone number for 2 business locations. You too can fall victim to this if you aren’t careful.

If you have multiple locations for your business then don’t use the same name for the separate locations. Sometimes even confused users (with the intention to help) can falsely edit your listing info so you have to keep them in check regularly and report any duplicates that you find.

Different variations in NAP confuse both people and search engines as they can’t be sure which listing to trust. Moz Listing can be used to check if you have any duplicate listings.

Local Schema Markup

Ever wondered how Google and other search engines understand the nature of your business?

That’s where Schema Markup comes into play. According to Semrush, Schema Markup (also called structured data) is code you add to your web pages to help search engines better understand your content.

Now, you might be thinking about how to implement it. Don’t worry! This is not as technical as you might think. In any case, Google Structured Data Markup Helper can be used to add your company’s structured data.

Once done generating structured data, use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to check its validity. It’ll show errors for any missing properties and give recommendations to add more relevant information.

When Google has a solid understanding of your business, it will likely show it in searches with local intent. This means your business could appear in featured snippets, maps, and other prominent places like the image below.

Updates

Once you’ve decided to change your name or number, it’s crucial to update it everywhere. From your website to online directories, make sure your new name or number is accurately reflected across all platforms.

Keep your customers informed about the change. Whether through email, social media, or a simple notification can prevent any bad experience for the customers in the future.

As a precaution, consider setting up call forwarding from your old number to your new one so that you don’t miss any important calls.

Wrapping It Up

What is NAP in SEO? Now that you’ve learned about this essential part of local SEO, hope you’ll make proper use it and leverage more benefits of SEO.

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