Just as Google crawls your business’s website to gather new information on what you may be talking about or what new items you are selling, it also crawls other websites such as directories, in an effort to gather more information about your business.
One way in which you may not even know that you’re hurting yourself is by leaving incorrect NAP information on other websites, which lets Google to sort through the information. And, if you’re a local business who has been through a few relocations or expansions, there could be multiple problems.
What does NAP stand for? Name, Address, Phone
Why is NAP consistency important? While a large, well-established business may not suffer much due to a lack of NAP consistency, smaller, local companies can almost certainly feel an impact. After crawling your website to discover any information, Google then checks that data against any other crawled sources, ranging in sizes from companies like Yelp to massive data companies like Factual.
If inconsistent data is found, Google must select which address to display when showing Local Search results, and to no surprise, it usually goes with the information given by one of the more reputable data sites. This is even more important after Google updated the Local results pack on 8/06, narrowing the selection from 7 results to 3. For a local business, this could lead to missed sales or other opportunities, all because of a simple listing error.
How can I fix my NAP listings? Unfortunately, the only way to fix them will be to manually go from site to site correcting the information, if you aren’t willing to pay someone else to take the job. Luckily, the task takes little effort, however, we make no promises about the time it may take to find all of those login details and check the information.
Depending on how much of an online presence your business has, you may not have to review many listings, but, we’ll cover all tiers:
1st - Check with some of the Big Data sites. These companies provide a lot of listings and directional information for tasks like navigation, directories, mobile apps, and more. Some examples are:
2nd - Check over the search results in mid-tier data sites, and major directories. These will most likely be the most common for smaller local businesses who may not have expanded yet or have little online presence:
3rd - Check over any specialty listing websites or small directories. Add to this almost any industry-specific directory website:
It’s important to keep in mind that once updated, listings need to be checked regularly for a period of time, in case they are updated again with bad information. This is done because some directories and review sites pull listing information from big data providers such as Factual, and if that wasn’t updated, then the site will be updated again with the wrong information.
Making sure that your NAP is correct—both on your website and throughout the web, is important in order to help your business rank well in local organic search results, and to demonstrate to search engines that you are, indeed, a legitimate business.