Google’s local search and Local Pack algorithms rely heavily on a constant NAP.
What is it, and why does it matter?
Building citations with a consistent NAP on your Google Business Profile page and other online directories and sites can influence your local results because
NAP consistency is a key aspect of Google’s local search and Local Pack algorithms.
However, maintaining a consistent NAP is vital for the user experience
because online directories and social bookmarking sites are used by humans as well as Google.
Maintaining a high level of consistency and correctness decreases the danger of search engines making mistakes while processing the data mechanically.
It also lowers the chance of user annoyance if a potential consumer tries to contact your company and finds an erroneous phone number, store hours, or email address.
And, if Google finds five different versions of your store hours, how would they know which one to believe?
Because Google’s trust in your location’s data can eroded by conflicting information,
your listing may not considered the best result for a relevant inquiry.
Even for a single location, keeping track of where critical company information is posted and how accurate it is may a difficult task.
Even with corporate software, managing several locations with multiple addresses
and phone numbers becomes increasingly complicated.
Now that Google wants business owners to manage their Google Business Profile (GBP) from the
Google Maps interface, and bigger multi-location firms via the Business Profile Manager, this position is also changing.
When Does The User Journey Begin?
Many individuals believe that the user journey and brand experience begin when a customer calls or emails for the first time, or spends considerable time on a company’s website.
The journey, on the other hand, begins far sooner.
According to Google analytics, there are five touch-points that, on average, lead to a purchase or affirmative site action:
- I used a search engine to find the information I needed.
- I went to a store or some other area.
- You went to a retailer’s website or downloaded an app.
- I went to a different website or app.
- A map was used.
The user journey begins when they first come across your brand in a search result listing, the Local Pack, on a map, or at your physical store.
Users require constant information to succeed in their trip, which is where the consistent NAP comes into play.
We frequently think that users learn about our local businesses and brands from our websites, guest blogs and marketing, and Google Business Profile listings.
Our brand, on the other hand, is discovered by users through a variety of web portals, including the directories where we establish our citations and listings.
At The Search Stage, Influencing The User Journey
This is your first chance to create an impact and be a part of the user journey when users conduct their first searches.
You want your users to click on content that both delivers value and satisfies their useful purpose if you appear higher in the Local Pack or SERPs.
Nobody benefits from lazy local pages.
When a website “localizes,” it usually refers to the creation of local content and pages.
These are done with varying degrees of time, care, and attention to detail, but in the end, lazy local pages do no one any good.
A doorway page is a tiny page that provides minimal value to the user and exists solely to rank for local search queries.
Google dislikes gateway pages (because they provide a bad user experience) and in 2015 implemented a “ranking adjustment” algorithm for them.
The Possum update in 2016 did a lot to combat bad quality and spam, but it’s still a method that’s being used.
They are still effective in many areas (until something better comes along).
Even if you redo all of the content on these pages to ensure that they aren’t duplicates, they are worthless because they all deliver the same message with a different city targeted.
However, because of the absence of competition and other suitable solutions in some smaller sectors, Google may still rank doorway pages.
The “useful purpose of the page” and whether the page is a “good fit for the query” are the two principles that Google utilizes in its Quality Rater Guidelines document.
When Google is unable to find other options that meet the physical location preferences, even if the business does not meet the physical local aspects of the query
but is providing content that suggests it does cover the physical location and provides value (and a positive reputation value proposition) to users looking for X in Y, Google will rank the content.
Creating High-Value Local Pages
Indeed, creating high-value local sites for companies with physical brick-and-mortar establishments in the places they wish to target is a lot easier.
However, this does not rule out the possibility of doing so for businesses that provide an intangible product or service with a local focus.
Content is defined in two components by Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines:
- The most important information.
- The supplementary material.
- This is how local search should approached.
When a Londoner searches for [plumbers in london], Google must divide the query down into major and supporting portions, as well as examine for intent.
It can do so because of the improvements made in the Hummingbird and RankBrain releases.
With [plumbers] as the primary part of the query, and based on a review of the [plumbers] search results page,
Google interprets the query as someone looking for a plumber (service), and returns a mix of local business websites, aggregators, the Map Pack (local to my IP), and Google’s Local Services carousel.
It’s a secondary signal to Google, reinforcing the correctness of the desired results.
Google has given more weight to aggregators listing many plumbing companies in the area and appears to have de-weighted individual company pages after adding this qualifier for me (using [plumbers in horsforth]).
From a user’s standpoint, this makes sense because it allows me to access several options
with a single click rather than multiple ones.
The main material of your website should reflect the products and services you provide,
with supporting content sections giving value and topical relevance to the area.
This can be done in a non-commercial fashion, such as through a blog, guides, or supplementary resources.
Consistency of NAPs
As previously said, NAP consistency is critical since the directory listings and citations
we provide are used by more than just search engines.
These details are also found by potential customers.
Users may become annoyed if their NAP is inconsistent or wrong, and leads may be lost as a result.
The Most Common Causes of Inconsistent NAP
Inconsistent NAP can caused by a variety of human errors and business changes, according to our experience:
Changing the business address without changing existing citations, directory listings, and other information
Having a separate retail address from the registration address of the company and using both online.
For attribution monitoring, different phone numbers are generated.
Not only may all of the above wreak havoc on your local SEO,
but they can also wreak havoc on your user experience –
and a bad user experience leads to lost sales and brand harm.
Beyond the Local Pack and SERPs, user experience includes your website,
how the local journey is managed, and whether it can satisfy all local intentions.
It’s critical to be able to track and report on the success of marketing campaigns.
However, in some circumstances, especially when it comes to local SEO, there is a reason for “over-reporting” and “over attribution.”
User Experience & Attribution in the Google Local Pack
Google’s Local Pack uses a different algorithm than regular organic search results,
and it is highly influenced by the user’s location while searching.
Google Business Profile has an attribution issue, and many clicks from
GMB listings categorized as direct traffic in Google Analytics rather than organic traffic.
A parameter can used to get around this:
There is no need to be concerned about the parameter causing NAP/citation consistency issues.
If you have a consistent NAP, you’re more likely to appear in the Local Pack, and studies suggest
that if you’re in the Local Pack, you’re more likely to obtain a high percentage of clicks on the results page.
If you’re expecting a lot of clicks, you should expect a lot of users to
demand fast-loading sites and prominent content to fulfill their search intentions.
Attribution to a Directory
This is a more typical issue I’ve encountered while working for an agency,
as well as one I’ve requested to solve while working for a client.
I’ve known firms to develop unique phone numbers for each directory where they submit their business to track marketing efforts.
The advantages are that you can pretty properly calculate the return on your marketing efforts.
The disadvantages are that you will wind up with a large number of published citations with an inconsistent NAP.
As an “added service,” several directories want to build Google Business Profile entries based on the information you provide.
As a result, numerous Google Business Profile listings for individual locations created,
each with a distinct phone number and, in some cases, a separate map pin location.
This is problematic for the user experience because
they presented with several options for a single place, only one of which is correct.
This can dealt with by claiming the bogus listings to be duplicates of one another and asking
Google to merge them.