When it comes to ranking on Google and some of the most popular search engines, one thing is for sure: everyone wants to rank higher. This is especially true when it comes to appearing on Google’s business maps when people search keywords or phrases that pertain to your business. There are several strategies for improving your business’s presence on the ‘maps’ section of a search engine, but the most effective way is to create a consistent NAP listing across the internet for your business.

What is NAP?

It stands for name, address, and phone number. Consistent NAP listings across the web mean that your business name, address and phone number appear the same throughout the internet. In addition to the NAP, it’s also important that your web address is also consistently listed, to ensure correct direction and routing for all users.

What Determines Ranking?

Search engines are most concerned with a combination of popularity and relevance. You are ranked based on how relevant your content, information, and graphics are to a user, in relation to how popular your site is for the information being searched. Popularity is determined mostly by the click-through rate (CTR) of your website from a search engine, while relevance is determined by robots that crawl your page for information.

Unlike humans, search engine robots to not identify common sentence structure or word formation. They recognize consistency and key information. In addition to relevance and popularity, consistency is one of the most vital qualities that your website should have. Inconsistencies in your NAP can lead to fewer impressions, a decreased CTR, and lower overall popularity and relevance.

The culmination of these ranking factors is a reflection of a search engine’s confidence. The goal of a search engine is to provide users with the absolute best options to satisfy what they are looking for. Variations in your NAP can lead search engines to have a lower confidence in your business. When the search engines have a lower confidence in your business based on the information you provide to them, the result is generally a lower ranking.

Understanding NAP and the importance of consistency on the web could make all the difference in overcoming that hump that’s keeping you from ranking in the top places of a search engine’s maps results, or from building confidence with the search engine itself.