Businesses that rank highly in local search engine results are more likely to attract visitors, drive conversions, and increase sales.
In fact, according to research:
- 92 percent of search users and consumers choose a business that appears on the first page of local search results.
- And approximately 53 percent visit a business within 48 hours of performing a local search.
You can apply a wide range of marketing techniques and tactics — from location pages and on-site optimization to community engagement and review generation campaigns — in order to improve your business’ SEO (search engine optimization) performance. But one such technique or tactic that you shouldn’t leave out is the development and maintenance of your business location’s NAP profile.
What Does NAP Stand For?
NAP stands for your business Name, Address, and Phone Number: three key pieces of business information that search engines like Google take heavily into account when determining local search rankings (or deciding which businesses to include in the prestigious Maps Pack).
Your NAP information can usually be found online, on your own website as well as in business directories and listings, online yellow pages, social media profiles, and online review sites.
It could be that a representative of your business had originally submitted this information as he or she signed up for and claimed your business listings. Or it could be a case of consumers themselves enlisting your business as they contributed user-generated content (like tips and reviews) to platforms of their choice.
Business locations with good NAP profiles typically rank well in local search. Local SEO experts assert that Google and other search engines use your NAP profile and cross-reference your information across a variety of websites and platforms not only as a validation that your business location exists and is legitimate, but also as a major factor that affects how and where your business ranks in organic local search results.
(Important note: If you’re managing a business with multiple locations, each location should have its own unique NAP.)
To the question of what makes a good NAP profile, consistency is the key.
While all this seems plain and simple, too many business owners and marketers have been careless with the information they provide when building out their business presence online. Or they have lost track of places where they’re listed and abandoned efforts to regularly keep their NAP information correct and up-to-date.
- 37 percent of businesses in the US have at least one incorrect or missing name on their listings. 43 percent have at least one incorrect or missing address, and 18 percent are missing their phone numbers.
- According to research, wrong or inaccurate NAP information is costing businesses in the US up to $10.3 billion in potential annual sales. Moreover, 32 percent of consumers will not consider buying from a business with wrong NAP information listed online.
Optimizing Your NAP Profile for SEO
Audit your information. It’s more likely than not that your business is already listed on at least one website, probably more. Run a quick search to see how your NAP appears on different sites and, if you have time, organize the information on a spreadsheet so that you can identify which ones need editing, updating, or correcting.
Remove duplicates. Once you finish your audit, look for any duplicates that may accidentally have been created. If you do find any, clear them out by claiming the business listing as your own, going through the verification process, and either updating the data yourself or contacting the website owners.
Update your profiles. Your business may have moved to a new location, or perhaps you recently changed your business name or phone number. In situations like these, you must make sure the changes are reflected across all the digital properties where your business is listed.
Keep it consistent and avoid variations. It is worth mentioning again: with NAP profiles, consistency is key. Variations in entering your NAP information could prevent you from achieving your ideal SEO results. For example, don’t write down “N. Davis St.” as your business address when previously you listed down “North Davis Street.” Also avoid having multiple or different phone numbers for one business location.
Manage your local listings regularly. Get organized and stay on top of where your business and NAP information are listed online. A badly managed NAP profile can adversely affect your SEO performance and local search rankings, so always be proactive in monitoring your online presence and correcting any errors or inaccuracies.