Most of the guides on how to build citations over different categories insist on consistency. This is the factor that affects the rating of your page on Google, and inconsistencies can indeed hurt those rankings. In this article, we’re going to find out more about NAP – why it’s important, should you strictly focus on its consistency or you should find out more about variations in NAP citations.
What is NAP?
Let’s go through some basics on NAP citations. These represent listings of your business all across the web. Citations appear in various directors and websites related to your industry. Mentions of your business on pages such as Yelp or YellowPages make it easy for customers to look up your business and find goods or services they need. For that reason, those citations should clearly present the information about your business, and be consistent over the web.
About NAP consistency
Many guides will insist on NAP consistency as a key for succeeding in the local SEO. If the same information appears in multiple locations on the web, search engines will understand that as a good signal from a trustworthy business. Also, people looking for some of your products or services will get more accurate results and be sure that the citation they are looking at is the one they can trust and visit. Stronger consistency will result in higher Google search rankings and therefore more chances to get new customers. But, are there variations in NAP citations, and should you be looking for them? The answer is yes. With so many mentions of a business on the internet, there are great chances these mentions won’t be the same.
More details on variations in NAP citations
As we mentioned, consistency in NAP is very important. it’s one of the defining factors for SEO success. However, it’s not possible to have all the citations exactly the same all over the web. Some directories won’t accept the format you previously set for your NAP. If that happens, don’t sweat it. Try the closest alternative and try to be consistent with all the future new citations.
Variations of NAME
Even though this should be as exact as possible, your business name can have certain variations across different directories. However, this doesn’t apply to the specific name of your business, but the business category. This means you can type Ltd. instead of Limited, Co instead of Company, LLC instead Limited Liability Company, etc. Actually, it is encouraged to use abbreviated versions to make it easier for users to read the name. Other variations include:
- Corporation – Corp
- Professional Corporation – PC or P.C.
- Esquire – Esq
- Insurance – Ins
- Medical Doctor – MD
- Juris Doctor – JD
- Doctor of Dental Medicine – DDM
Also, if your business name includes the word ‘and’, it’s okay to use the symbol “&” instead. But, always insist on the accurate name of the business, and never use a short version.
Variations of ADDRESS
The middle part of NAP, address, also has available variations. Depending on your zip code, you can use classic 5-digit or 5+4-digit zip code, or A11 041 format. When it comes to the actual address, you should keep the name of the street accurate and in the full format. However, there are certain abbreviations that don’t mess up with your SEO ranking:
- Street – St
- Suite – Ste
- Avenue – Ave
- Apartment – Apt
- Square – Sq
- Road – Rd
- Route – Rte
- Lane – Ln
- Drive – Dr
- Boulevard – Blvd
Also, every state in The United States of America has its official abbreviation – Alabama – AL, Alaska – AK, etc. All of these are allowed as variations in NAP citations.
When it comes to the phone number, there are not so many differences and variations. There are a couple of common phone number formats such as:
- 111 111 1111
- (111) 111-1111
There’s not much you can go wrong here. However, our advice is to pick a format and stick to it wherever you can – both online and offline.
Variations with multiple business locations
If your business spreads on multiple locations, you need to find a way to deal with those listings. It’s recommended to keep the name, but change the address/phone number for every location. This will tell Google and users who look for you that it’s the same business with offices in different locations.
How to deal with inconsistency and minimize its presence
It’s not easy to find all the inconsistent citations and keep the consistency levels high all the time. However, business owners should try hard to do it, and here are some tips on making this process easier:
- set the format of NAP you want to use in your branding bible and make sure all the employees are aware of it. Educate the people you work with about the importance of NAP and insist on using this particular format;
- monitor your local rankings to see if there are any issues you can track as soon as they appear;
- check the web for duplicate listings – find and report duplicate listings to website owners;
- make your website right – every website is the mirror of the business it represents, so make sure yours is spotless. The information you share on the website should be the official version of your NAP.
- set the GMB page – Google My Business is the page users will probably visit first when looking for your services or goods. Make sure it presents correct information and your official version of NAP.
As you can see, the story about the NAP is not that simple. Surely, the focus is on accuracy and consistency, but variations in NAP citations are still possible.