Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the best digital marketing tools available to businesses. So, why isn’t every business using it? Believe it or not, 57% of businesses still lack an SEO strategy in 2022.
We can argue about the merits and time involved in SEO, but this simple fact means there are opportunities to connect with potential customers ahead with less competition than you may have imagined. This is especially true if you’re a brick and mortar business with customers either coming to your door or getting deliveries or services delivered to them.
If you’re interested in gaining organic results for your website and want local customers to find your website or blogs, you need to clear up any inconsistencies in your business profile. This is especially important because when your business information is inaccurate, Google and other local search engines become confused.
So how do big services like Yelp, Google My Business, Waze, Yext, Bing Places, Yellow Pages, Yahoo! and more get confused? It all comes down to NAP consistency.
What Is NAP Consistency?
NAP is short for name, address, and phone number. It’s your business contact information. And, it’s the critical info potential customers need to find or locate your business which is why search engines care so much about it. If your information is inaccurate or inconsistent online, this can confuse search engine crawlers, which may be harmful to your local SEO efforts.
For example, if you have a Google My Business profile that says one thing, a Yelp page that says another, and a website that says another, Google will not know where to send customers.
Because it’s unclear, in local search results on just about any directory, your competitor will be picked ahead of you.
How to Set Up NAP For Local SEO Search
Local SEO takes place both on and off your website. Take a look at all of the platforms where your businesses are listed and begin addressing them one by one. SEO consultant like us use tools to help you find these locations and make changes to your NAP quickly.
But if you want to take a stab at doing this yourself, and we really suggest that you do, here’s how to handle your NAP on each of your listings.
On every listing, your business name should be its full and proper name. Nothing more, nothing less.
This means, your Google My Business Profile, your Psychology Today listing, your website, your Yelp listing and everywhere else, your name needs to be 100% consistent. That means that if you have a title like “XYZ Pet Supplies”, then you shouldn’t change it to “XYZ PS” or just “XYZ” anywhere else.
Avoid using variations whenever possible. It’s okay to use in replies to customers, but when you tell official sources your business name, it should be consistent every time.
There are plenty of different ways to write an address for businesses. While Google’s algorithm is great at noticing plurals or stop words in keywords, you can’t rely on it to understand variances in your address. It isn’t programmed to understand these differences quite as well.
For example, “St.” instead of “Street” or “Route 9” instead of “Boston Parkway.” One isn’t better than the other, but it’s important to choose one and stick with it. You can leave notes for people if there is any confusion, like “555 Boston Parkway (Route 9),” but keep it the same on every platform.
Just like your address, there are different formats to write your phone number. Whichever one you choose, try to keep it consistent across your online presence. If one system chooses a format for you automatically, use that.
Typically, the most common format is to use parentheses for the area code and to hyphenate the break afterward. This looks like “(555) 555-5555.” However, there are other methods to use if you prefer.
Where to Add NAP
Your NAP is likely already in a dozen places online, assuming you’ve been in business for a while. However, business information changes all the time, so it’s important to update or renew this information when possible.
If you work with a local SEO provider (or even a regular SEO team and they use SEMRush or another SEO tool) ask if you can have your NAP assessed. This will give you a report on any NAP inconsistencies and places to update your listing.
If you’re doing this on your own, we recommend adding/verifying your NAP with:
- Google My Business
- Google Maps
- Yellow Pages
- Social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Your website (contact page, bottom menu, other applicable content)
- Local directories
- Industry directories
Essentially, anywhere online that will showcase your website and business info needs to remain consistent. And,if you aren’t on Google My Business, Yelp, or Google Maps, get listed on these right away.
Maintaining Local SEO and NAP Consistency
NAP SEO consistency is not a one-and-done tactic. You will need to maintain this over time to ensure consistency with new details, new listings, and more. Here’s how.
Create a Checklist
Again, business information changes frequently and sporadically. You don’t know when you’ll change your business name, address, or phone number. For that reason, it’s best to have a checklist handy for when these situations arise.
For example, if your business moves next year, it might be a challenge for you to recall everything you did after reading this article. Having a checklist available with all of the location-specific directories, industry-specific listings, and more can really help ensure you maintain that consistency later on.
Also, you should have a list of exactly how you format your NAP. This way, if you list your business on any new platform, you won’t have any consistency issues. Of course, you can always check your existing listings online if you lose it, but it’s helpful to have a verified and accurate copy elsewhere.
Hire Managed SEO Services
If this sounds overwhelming to you, don’t worry. The right local SEO services can help you get listed on every important directory and maintain your NAP consistency for the long term.
Of course, that isn’t the only way they can help you. SEO is time-consuming, and it takes a while to come to fruition. With the help of the right experts, you can rest assured that your local SEO strategy is going somewhere!
Get The Support You Need
Now that you know about the importance of NAP consistency and how to maintain it, put these tips to use today. A lack of consistency could currently be harming your strategy without even realizing it, so there’s no time to waste.
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