5 Ways That Incorrect NAP Listings Can Hurt Local SEO Rankings

Optimizing Website SEO
The SEO Guide For Healthcare Practices With Multiple Locations
September 29, 2022
SEO Audit Checklist
20 On-Page SEO Audit Checklist Items to Improve Your Site Rankings
October 12, 2022
Show all
Hurt Local SEO Rankings

Hurt Local SEO Rankings

Managing a small business and your online presence can sometimes feel like you have two full-time jobs. Optimizing your Google and search engine rankings, though, can have a considerable impact on the success and growth of your company.

Google takes a lot of different factors into account when ranking local businesses, but NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency is an essential part of their local search and Local Pack algorithms.

When you have inconsistent NAP listings, it can hurt your local SEO rankings in more ways than one.

Let’s look at what you need to know about why it’s worth fixing inconsistent NAP listings to benefit both your search engine rankings and your customer’s user experience.

What Are NAP Listings?

NAP is an acronym for name, address, and phone number. To rank well in local organic search results (which you most likely want), having consistent NAP listings is essential. Why? Search engines like Google use this information to determine which sites to display when users perform geo-targeted searches.

This means you’ll want to ensure that your NAP is correct everywhere it is listed on the web. Beyond your website and your Google Business Profile, you’ll want to keep your NAP consistent on other directories, review websites, and anywhere else your contact information shows up on the web.

NAP Listing Acronym

You should generally list your NAP on any reputable directory specific to your industry or location. It’s important to understand that consistency in your NAP listings means all your information is presented exactly the same.

In short, you shouldn’t have your location listed as “50 Cherry St.” on your Google Business Page and “50 Cherry Street” on your website. Similarly, your website should be listed exactly the same every time, including your formatting choices regarding the inclusion of “HTTP://,” “www.”, etc.

How Can Incorrect NAP Listings Hurt Your Local SEO Rankings?

Let’s look at some of the ways that having incorrect NAP listings can hurt your rankings for local searches.

1. Inconsistent Rankings

Consistency in NAP listings is highly valued by Google. When your name, address, and phone number are listed identically everywhere on the web, Google has more confidence that your business should be listed in response to relevant search queries.

Inconsistent Search Rankings

On the other hand, when there are discrepancies in the listings, it leads Google to see your business as less legitimate. It decreases their confidence that they will display the correct information in response to the user search.

If you operate a healthcare practice with multiple locations, you might be wondering how to approach your local SEO so that your search rankings are helped and not hurt. Check out this SEO guide for all the information you need.

2. Lost Leads

When your NAP isn’t listed correctly across the web, it can mean that you lose leads you would otherwise have landed. This can happen in several different ways, none of which are favorable.

For example, let’s say that your website still lists your old physical address, and a potential customer drives down to where they believe your business is. They show up only to find an empty storefront or a completely different business. Rather than tracking you down at your new location, they simply head to your competitor that has correctly listed their address.

A Lost Lead

Another way this can happen is that your business doesn’t rank as highly as it could on local search results, leaving potential leads unaware of your company entirely.

3. Confused Visitors

Your website should be clear and easy to use if you want to create the best possible user experience. If they struggle to find your contact information or the info is not up-to-date, you’re requiring your visitors to do much more work than is ideal.

How does this impact SEO ranking, you ask?

A Confused Website Visitor

Google incorporates countless factors when determining where pages should fall in search results. Some of these are behavioral, such as dwell time, click-through rate, clicks-to-call, clicks-to-site, and clicks-for direction.

When your NAP information is unclear or inconsistent, you’ll likely find that these behavioral factors suffer. After all, most potential customers don’t want to spend fifteen minutes trying to track down your phone number, and most people will simply hit the back button to find a competitor that is easier to do business with.

4. Less Likely to Appear Within the Local Pack

The Google Map Pack (also known as the Google Local Map Pack) is what pops up whenever you search for location-based queries. For example, when you search for “pizza restaurant near me” or “plumber in Houston,” you’ll see that a map pops up with relevant results displaying the physical location of the business and listings placed on the left side of the screen. These listings present the companies’ contact information, hours of operation, and other helpful information.

Google Local Map Pack

There are a lot of benefits for optimizing for the Google Map Pack, including:

  • More local traffic
  • More organic traffic
  • More phone calls
  • More mobile traffic
  • Advantage over your competitors

One essential part of where you rank in Google’s Local Pack is having a consistent NAP and building citations to your Google Business Profile. Google wants to make sure that you are a legitimate business before they send customers your way, and consistent NAPs across the web are one of the ways they verify your authenticity.

Depending on the product or service you sell, getting a high-ranking spot in Google Maps results can make a massive difference in your sales numbers. After all, when you’re looking for a specific business in a location, what do you do? If you’re like most of us, you search on Google and choose one of the closest, most relevant businesses listed in the top results.

Did your rankings take a big hit after Google’s last update? Learn how to audit and recover your site after the helpful content update here.

5. Negative Reviews

You will likely create some perturbed potential customers if your NAP is listed differently on different sites. There are few things more frustrating than driving to the physical location of a store only to find that it is no longer there, and most people won’t dedicate very much time toward trying all of the various phone numbers associated with your business before giving up and calling a competitor.

None of this is ideal, as you want it to be as easy as possible for people to do business with you. Beyond that, though, if your customers have a lot of negative experiences with your company because of NAP inconsistency, you could also find that it leads to negative reviews on prominent sites like Google and Yelp.

Negative Online Reviews

When Google presents results to a user, they want to provide the best possible options in their location. If your company has stacked up many negative reviews and ratings, you’re hurting your chances of receiving a high ranking when people do a relevant search.

NAP Listings You’ll Want to Prioritize

It’s possible that your business information is listed in hundreds of places across the web, and the thought of auditing all of these might be daunting. So let’s look at what you’ll want to prioritize when optimizing your web presence for local SEO.

Your Business Website

Google will look at your website to verify your NAP. If the info on your site is different from your Google Business Profile or completely missing, it can hurt your search rankings.

Business Website NAP Information

Of course, your potential customers are also looking for your address and phone number, so making sure they are easy to find on all of your site pages is essential. One study found that the first piece of information local searchers are trying to find is your business address, with your phone number being second.

You’ll want to ensure your NAP is easily viewable on mobile devices as well, as 63% of searchers look for local businesses using multiple devices.

Your Google Business Profile

Formally known as a Google My Business page, your Google Business Profile is key to ensuring your local SEO rankings are as high as possible. It’s quick, easy, and free to set up a Google Business Profile, so this is a step you won’t want to skip.

A Google Business Profile

Again, you’ll want your NAP to be listed exactly as it is on your website.

Primary Data Aggregators

It’s important to understand that one inconsistent NAP listing can lead to countless incorrect listings due to the actions of data aggregators. These are local search data collectors and providers that crawl through the internet in search of local data for businesses. They then share this information with countless sites like Showmelocal, Citysearch, and Mapquest.

Primary Data Aggregators

When there’s old or false contact information about your business on the web, these data aggregators can end up spreading your inconsistent listings across the web. Likewise, when Google comes into contact with different information about your business, it can negatively impact your ranking.

Citations

Your business is likely listed on other websites along with your contact information. These mentions of your NAP are known as citations. Sometimes, but not always, these will link directly to your website.

Business Citation on Yelp

Google doesn’t see all citations as carrying the same weight. For example, citations on popular sites like YellowPages or Yelp are more important than those on directories that are seldom used.

Common Reasons For Inconsistent NAP Listings

There are several common reasons one business can have inconsistent NAP listings across the web that hurt their local SEO ranking.

One example is when the address of a business changes. Moving a company is a big job, and it isn’t uncommon for old directory listings and citations to be forgotten during the transition.

Person Making an Online Search

Another way that this happens is when a company creates several different phone numbers for attribution tracking. Finally, having different addresses for a physical location and where the company is registered can lead to this issue when both are used online.

How to Fix Inconsistent NAP Listings

It might seem overwhelming to fix countless inconsistent NAP listings, but it’s likely well worth the effort for your SEO and user experience.

You have several options when it comes to fixing these listings.

Firstly, you can go through manually and fix inconsistent listings yourself. You’ll want to prioritize your website, your Google Business Profile, the primary data aggregators, and the most popular directories and review sites.

Managing Local SEO

Your second option is to hire an SEO company that offers this service. They will audit your NAP listings across the web and ensure that they are consistent to ensure you aren’t losing out on Google rankings due to your contact information being varied or incorrect.

A final option is to create new listings to help thin out the prominence of the incorrect listings. This might be a good choice if you’ve updated your information on all the most important sites, but your NAP is also located on many smaller, less-used directories.

Are You Looking For Help Managing Your Local SEO?

Running a business and managing your own local SEO can be more than one person can handle. However, many small business owners find that hiring out their digital marketing services allows them to focus on what they’re good at without sacrificing their all-important search results rankings.

If you have a business with inconsistent NAP listings, you might find that delegating this task to the pros is well worth it– both in terms of saving your time and helping to improve your Google rankings.

Improving Search Rankings

Blue Pig Media is a one-stop shop digital marketing service that will help you audit your online presence and implement a plan to get you more traffic, leads, and business.

Whether you need to fix inconsistent NAP listings, build a new website, or start a blog, we’re here to help. If you’re looking for a team to manage all of your digital marketing needs, contact us today.

If you have any questions about anything SEO or SEO-related, be sure to drop those in the comments section down below. We’ll be sure to answer any questions you may have on the topics to the best of our ability! 

David Curtis
David Curtis
David Curtis is the founder and CEO of Blue Pig Media. With twenty years of successful execution in sales, marketing and operations, for both clients and vendors, he has a bottom line ROI driven mentality rooted in metrics driven performance across highly competitive global corporate initiatives.

Comments are closed.