What is NAP in Digital Marketing and Why is it Important?

What is NAP?

NAP is an acronym for Name, Address, Phone. NAP Consistency means your business’s Name, Address, and Phone Number are consistently listed the same across the web. Your NAP info will be scanned by bots sent out by search engines, not human eyes.  

The consistency of your NAP is critical if you want to rank well in local organic search results. If your business can’t be found on the first page of search results, you are losing valuable customers to your competitors. More and more people go on online to research local businesses, products, or services than ever before.

Why does NAP need to be consistent?

Your business NAP needs to be consistent across the web and the various directories for your business is on because it’s a ranking factor.  NAP contributes to on-page signals and citation signals so if your NAP is different on various listings, you lose trust and creditability not only from consumers but from Google and other search engines as well. If Google see your business name with 2 different numbers or addresses, it will not know which one to display.  It’s up to the business to make sure their business is listed with the correct information across the web.   

In this related article about how local citations help local SEO, it says:

Building good quality local citations for your business is often recommended as a first step in any local SEO strategy. The reasons for this are threefold: citations can help (or hinder) your search ranking, they can aid local business discovery, and they can make or break a new customer’s trust in your business.

Is NAP a ranking factor for Search Engines?

Yes!  In the Moz Local SEO Ranking Report, NAP information is a top five ranking factor. It contributes to on-page signals and citation signals. Both of these have huge influence in Google’s local pack, also known as the Google Maps Pack.

According to Moz findings, only Google My Business signals (which includes NAP within the business profile), review signals and link signals are more important for local pack rankings, with behavioral signals, social media signals and personalization all judged to be less important.

It’s also known that Google as well as other major search engines use citations to gather information about a business. Google essentially wants to amass as much data as it can about a business to understand it. This means that the number of citations it can find, the accuracy and consistency of that data, and the quality of where that data is pulled from all help the search engine to build a picture.

If NAP consistency is apparent across the board, it’s taken as a signal that the information is accurate – meaning Google can confidently provide that same info to search users. On the flip side, a lack of NAP consistency is a red flag, eating away at trust and hampering rankings.

Inconsistent NAP data could mean you’re losing customers you may not know you had

Nine in ten consumers also say they look up the address of a business online before their first visit. As a brand, you need NAP consistency to ensure the address they are finding is correct. If that consumer finds two different addresses, or inconsistencies such as a different zip code, they won’t know where to go and this could lead to them abandoning their planned visit before they even set off, costing you a sale you never knew was in the balance.

Likewise, consumers who struggle to find a business when they arrive due to incorrect or inconsistent NAP data are increasingly likely to give up and go elsewhere. Almost half say they’d stop trying and around a third would go to a competitor. The potential revenue lost makes NAP inconsistency incredibly costly.

The more consistent your NAP, the clearer it is for consumers and the more trustworthy you appear.


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