Consistency is a critical element of any Search Engine Optimisation. But for local SEO, consistent NAP (Name, Address & Phone Number) information is vital.
NAP information fits into your structured citations. Structured citations are mentions of your business across the web, such as third party directory listings, and they should always include your NAP information.
Google and other search engines use citations to evaluate the trustworthiness of your business and website. The higher the quantity and relevance of citations the better this impacts your credibility and your rankings.
But it is critical these are all correct and consistent across the web. Search engines won’t recognise inconsistency which means you could lose all credibility and trustworthiness you may have had otherwise.
Inconsistency of NAP information can happen for various reasons. When a company move for example, they may not have the ability or the resources to update very listing with their new information. It can be a result of inconsistent standards and formats also. This is usually when there is more than one person creating the listings and there hasn’t been a template put in place for the format in which they should be created.
Some directory sites unfortunately use different data sets. This means that no matter how you put your NAP information in, it will still display differently to how you may have entered it elsewhere and you have no control over this.
However, whilst Google and other search engines don’t change these, they will recognise certain variations and if the information is correct and consistent with other NAP they can see, they will help to correct these through normalisation. For these purposes, it is best to keep the information as generic as possible on all listings.
A good idea is to put your NAP information into one place, say Google +, and use this format as a template for creating additional listings on other sites. This is especially beneficial to those companies where more than one person is creating the listings, or when multiple listings need to be edited.