October 16, 2018
If you needed to tell someone how to identify your business, a logical place to start would be your business’s name, address, and phone number. That reveals who your business is, where it can be located, and how it can be contacted.
What if you told someone the wrong information? Would they be able to find your business? And if they did, would they feel a little off because they got the wrong information first? What if they didn’t get the information from you, but from somewhere else?
This is why your NAP listings need to be consistent. A NAP listing is more than just name, address, and phone number. It’s every piece of information that can be used to uniquely identify your business, including things like your website, your email address, and much more.
It’s not just people who use these listings, however. Identification services and search engines also use these listings and that’s a problem for SEO and for mapping services. If these encounter two sets of information for the same business, they have to make a judgment call. Do they favor one over the other? Do they make an entry for both? If they make the wrong decision, your customers will get confused and you’ll lose business.
Why would there be more than one entry? It has to do with how your business information is shared. Your local business authorities have one copy they share out. The entry you put into Google My Business has another copy. Your ads might have a copy. Your website has a copy. Every salesperson you gave your business information to will have a copy.
Also, there are several huge clearinghouses of business information who hold a copy. These are where mapping sites and review sites go to confirm information. When these sites ask you to “claim a business”, they’re comparing the information you give them with these clearinghouses to confirm it and to scoop as much information as they can about your business to help your profile.
If any of your information has changed, this can cause a mismatch between these records. If there’s too much confusion, search engines might get the impression that there are two different businesses and drop your ranking. Review sites could end up with two different businesses. It can be a real mess.
It doesn’t even have to be a big change either. Forgetting the Inc. on the end of your business name, changing the suffix of your street name, even changing the spacing and the commas can signal a difference. Worst of all, you have little control over how another company records your information.
Getting the SEO boost from making all your listings consistent will take a bit more work. The best way to do this is to work with an SEO company with experience in NAP correction. Depending on the age of your business, there could be hundreds of these records that need updating. Plus, you may have to revisit these records every few months because they may pull in information from elsewhere and decide to override your changes.
Nevertheless, if you’re seeing duplicate entries for your business on mapping and review sites or you’ve recently changed part of your business information then getting your NAP listings in order is a must.