NAP & Local SEO – Why Citation Consistency is Critical for Google Search
What is NAP Consistency?
Your healthcare practice has plenty of moving parts to consider. But one of the most important to maintain is NAP Consistency. NAP Consistency refers to the accuracy of a location-based business’s name, address, and phone number across all business listings including local directories, social media profiles, and websites. Essentially, NAP Consistency is keeping your practice contact information accurate and consistent across the web. Today, being NAP-consistent and having updated Google Map citations is crucial for healthcare practices to rank higher in search rankings and show up in Google Map results for your target keywords.
What are the benefits?
NAP Consistency ultimately brings more viewers and users to your website as you have clean data across different business listings across the internet. Your online presence and relevance are essentially dictated by Google. Understanding that Google’s goal is to provide web surfers with plenty of relevant and useful information. It is important to fill your website and social media profiles with content that users can benefit from. It is also beneficial to have numerous local citations in a wide array of different places. These are crucial for your SEO optimization and ensuring that your dental or dermatology practice is consistently on the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
What are local citations?
Local citations are a mention of your business on the internet. They are also a great way to significantly increase your SEO ranking and where most of your prospective customers or patients will initially hear about you. It’s recommended to have your practice’s contact information present on as many online platforms as possible. Local citations serve to connect you with new business through online mediums that make users aware of your services. It is also important that you have this information present on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Yelp etc. Some of the resources you may additional consider are local directories and business association listings that will feature your information.
Even though creating local citations sounds simple, there are a few things that can go wrong. It is important to look out for small mistakes that can alter how successful your citation efforts are. For starters, make sure there are no typos or spelling mistakes in your contact information. More often than not, businesses fail to proofread and double-check what they’ve written. Scan through the listing directory that you choose to feature your information in and make sure there are not multiple listings for your business. This is detrimental for a few reasons. When customers see multiple listings, it is hard to distinguish which one is official and accurate. If customers want to leave a review under your listing, it may prove difficult to discern which listing to trust, and it is possible that a new customer looking to work with you won’t be able to see your other glowing reviews!
Inaccurate information can hurt your patient acquisition, revenue growth and reputation. Even if you’re unintentionally misleading customers, they may grow disgruntled and leave a poor review that will discourage others from considering your medical or healthcare practice. Think of it as a snowball effect. That’s why customer trust is critical to the success of your business in the long term. Look at it this way. When you’re on the road and you need to stop somewhere last minute, the first thing you’ll do is Google it. If Google knows the information is incorrect or unclear, it will not show your business on the top search results. To that point, if your business’s information is consistent and accurate across the board, Google will feel confident showing your information to more people. Remember, Google’s platform is dedicated to making sure that users have unlimited access to the most relevant, useful, and accurate information on the internet.
Your local SEO efforts won’t be as strong if you do not practice NAP Consistency. Healthcare practices thrive off of new referrals and the SERP of local search engines. Imagine a new parent looking for a pediatrician for their newborn child, or a recently settled family in town looking for the best general dentist nearby. If your competitor’s information is well placed, accurate, and consistent, Google will continue to choose them over you when customers search for your services.