A recent online marketing study showed that of the most common issues business owners face when getting strong online search ranking, by far the most common (cited more than 40 percent of the time) was inconsistent citations and NAP information.
As we’ve noted before, NAP stands for Name, Address and Phone. It’s as simple as that. To ensure you get the best rankings for your site, ensure you have a consistent name, address and phone number wherever your site appears online.
The local search space typically is plagued with incorrect business data, so it’s not surprising to see citations/NAP as the number one issue affecting local businesses. The majority of businesses have NAP consistency problems on some level, ranging from cripplingly bad to very minor.
Similarly, citations are mentions of your business name and address on other webpages—even if there is no link to your website. An example of a citation might be an online yellow pages directory where your business is listed, but there’s no link to it.
Citations can also be found on local chamber of commerce pages, or on a local business association page that includes your business information, even if neither is linking at all to your website.
Citations are a key component of the ranking algorithms in Google and other search engines, such as Bing. Other factors being equal, businesses with a greater number of citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer citations.
Just as with NAP, it’s critical to ensure your information is consistent across all citations. Do some searching to determine everywhere that your business is mentioned, and if the information doesn’t match up exactly, make sure it’s revised. Whenever you list your business on other sites, be sure you’re always using consistent info.
The reasoning should be obvious: Consistency in NAP/citations helps Google and other search engines understand that you are one sole entity, and every time that entity appears on the Web, you get ranking juice from it.
If it thinks mentions of your business actual relate to two (or three, or even four) entities, that rankings juice is diluted among them.
It would be like an actor who has several different names, and each of those names has a different IMDb page. For the actor to get credit for his full filmography, he needs to be identified purely as “himself” and credited appropriately.