Heads up to all businesses with a local service area. A major factor in determining how you rank locally is the consistency of business name, address and phone across your citations online. Yes, focusing on just your name, address and phone – NAP – and ensuring they are 100% consistent everywhere will boost your search rank.
How NAP Is Used
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. It’s a critical factor in local SEO and influences what Google and other search engines show for local intent searches.
Occurrences of NAP data around the web are commonly referred to as citations. A citation is when your NAP data shows up on directory sites like Yelp or Angi, membership directories, Google Business listing, etc.
Several search ranking factors are highly influenced by a consistent NAP across all locations. A consistent business name, address, phone number is one of the most important factors in achieving good online visibility.
There are data companies that collect, verify, and distribute business data for companies all around the world. Information for just about every business eventually finds its way into this business data ecosystem.
Many of those providers make money by selling this data as leads or as a data feed to other companies. Companies like Google, Yelp and Manta subscribe to the business data from these providers. They also crawl the web for business data and add it to their databases.
This business data collection effort often leads to your business information being listed on sites like Yelp, Google Maps, and YellowPages.com even if nobody in your company created a listing on those sites.
Citations Are an Important Search Ranking Factor
Google uses data points it can process programmatically to determine search rankings. To determine how a business should rank in local results, Google scans the web for mentions of your business name, address, phone number, website URL, and several other data points. It then compares that information to other data sources, including the major data providers and official records like state business filings.
Your local search rankings are heavily influenced by whether or not Google finds consistent business information on the web and from data suppliers. This all works well, as long as your NAP is accurate everywhere.
However, if the information is inaccurate, it still spreads. And this spreading of inaccurate information can confuse the search engines and make it more difficult to rank. It also creates a big mess of inaccurate data all over the web that is difficult and time-consuming to clean up.
Control Your NAP
Starting with the basics, the first step in having an accurate NAP everywhere is to decide what name, address and phone you will use. Sounds basic, but this can be a challenge if you refer to your business by various forms of your name, have several phone numbers, and your physical address differs from your registered address.
You need to decide on one NAP in order to rank well on search engines.
Fixing the problem of inaccurate or inconsistent NAP data starts by fixing information on file with the authoritative players. That usually means starting with the big data providers:
Then moving on to the authoritative directory sites:
And finally, cleaning up any remaining listings on directory sites like:
- Member Directories
Google yourself to find out all the places you are listed.
Clean-up can take a while until you correct all the data sources and prevent bad date from being shared. In the end, your online citations should match the business filings with the state, the information the post office has, the information on your website and your listings everywhere online. Accomplishing this puts you in a solid position for great local search ranking and overall online visibility.