Your business is dependent on its customers, and those customers need to be able to reach you. That’s why when you change your address, your phone number, or your hours you may be feeling eager to make these changes online as well. You might consider updating the major players first like your Google Business Page and Yelp listings. This is not a good idea.
When we use the term NAP, we aren’t talking about taking an afternoon rest. NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone. The NAP is one of the primary building blocks of a solid local SEO strategy. What’s the most critical part of your NAP though? It has to match. What you may not realize about your business, especially if you’ve used an SEO company in the past and moved away from them, or employed someone specifically to perform citations, is that your NAP is everywhere.
Think of citations like indexing your business in a bunch of online industry related journals. Those journals are always available, and they only change your information if you tell them to. If those journals are carrying your original NAP information, and you make a change, they won’t update it or remove the original listing until you take action.
Citations are the same. Your NAP information is cited across the internet. Without removing original listings and creating new ones, or updating existing listings, you’ll have multiple versions of your NAP indexed across the net. That means multiple versions of your address, phone number, hours etc. depending on what changes you have made.
What you may not realize is that NAPs’ directly affect your local listings. Google bots index all of your citations. Those citations have to be the same in order for Google to consider your business trustworthy enough to rank well. It doesn’t matter how good your service is, how honest you are with customers, or what guarantees you provide if your NAP information conflicts with itself and Google catches it.
Google will see the inconsistencies in your NAP information and pull your local rankings down because of it. If you have different phone numbers in different listings, addresses, or hours, how can customers trust they’re reaching the right company? Google knows this. It will elevate businesses without these problems above yours. This provides customers with the best opportunity to get the service they are seeking. The highest ranking websites in local search will not have NAP discrepancies, and there are several ways you can make sure to do the same.
Now that you know your options and how to approach a NAP change, it’s time to take steps if you’ve already made some of these mistakes. A citation cleanup should be your very first order of business, so contact your local SEO company and ask them what they can do for you—your customers and your rankings will thank you for it.