Beware: Inconsistent Identity (Name, Address, Phone Number) Can Hurt Your Ranking

Written by Detroit SEO consultant Blake J. Discher

When working with a new SEO client, one of the first tasks we work on is making sure their online identity is identical across the internet.  This is often referred to as NAP (name, address, and phone number) and inconsistent data can hurt your site’s search ranking.

Here’s a few ways it can happen, especially to small businesses.  Remember back when you bought your domain name from GoDaddy or another registrar?  It was probably in the very early stages of your company’s formation; back before you had an office.  So you used your home address for the registration.  Then a short time later, you get an office and the office address is now the one your using as you add your business to various online business directories.  Perhaps you decided that for privacy reasons, instead of using your home address in these directories you’ll get a PO Box and use that address.  Boom! Now you have an inconsistent internet identity.

A great free tool that can help you to discover where inconsistencies exist is available from MOZ.  It’s part of a larger suite of paid tools used by many SEO professionals. It’s called MOZ Local:

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Just enter the name of your business (not your site’s URL) and zip code, click “Check my Listing”, and you’ll get a score that 1) reflects your visibility across the internet, and 2) takes into account your inconsistent NAP information:

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I’ve circled where the report shows an inconsistency: specifically, this company’s NAP is different on Yelp than it is elsewhere on the net.  The gray bars below the center line represent missing information for each of those online directories.  Rolling over each bar reveals the name of the directory or search engine and what the issue is.

Now it’s time to “clean up your act” as my mother used to say!  For $99 per year, MOZ can stay on top of it for you, or you can manually resolve each issue on your own.  That’s up to you, but at least now you know what work needs to be done.  Do it so your ranking won’t suffer.  Get the MOZ Local tool.

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