NAP: Name Address and Phone number. NAP consistency is a critical element of successful local SEO. If you follow SEO bloggers on local issues, you will note that NAP is always listed as one of the primary elements in ranking well for local searches.
When talking about NAP, we need to mention where it fits in. A citation is a mention of your business on the web that includes your NAP. Citations are one of the more important elements that Google uses to evaluate the trustworthiness (‘think truthiness’) of your business. There are two aspects of citations that are important. First, the more relevance to your business and trust of a citation source, the better, and the more number of citations that you have the better. So, one of the goals of Internet marketing is to get many high-quality citations.
NAP Consistency Key Element In Citation Building
A key element in building citations is making sure that your NAP is correct and consistent across the web. If the NAP is not consistent, the search engines will not recognize some of your listings and credit your for them. Worse, is that they may even have negative effects on your website’s trustworthiness.
So, one of the jobs of an Internet marketer is to make sure that your NAP is consistent across the web.
Why Citations Become Inconsistent
First, how do citations become inconsistent? There are a variety of ways that citations can get out of sync and end up different. Company moves and is not able to update all the citation on the web. Inconsistent standards (and formats) were used when getting listed in different web directories. These are the two most common. Additionally, to confuse matters, some popular directories use different data sets for addresses, meaning that the same address can be shown in many different variations across the web and you have no control over it.
NAP consistency is a issues that Matt McGee addresses recently on his blog. Hi is responding to a question that I had about NAP info and Google’s ability to recognize slight variations on an address as being the same address. This has to do with data normalization: taking data and modifying it into a consistent format. Google does not actually change citations, but it does recognize certain variations as belonging to the same address.
The bottom line here is that if there are small address variations, Google will help correct them through the process of normalization, but the more your NAP adheres to a standard, the better. My advice, is that if you can, start with doing the Google + Local listing, see if the format you submitted is accepted by Google, and then use that as a standard for all your other listings.