Whitespark’s List of A-OK NAP Variations for Google Maps & Bing

What are acceptable address formatting variations that won’t impact my citation consistency?

This is a question that our clients often ask us. While NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) consistency is critical to a citation profile, there is a long list of abbreviations that will not harm your profile.

For example:

  • “8902 99 Street” or “8209 99 St
  • “James and Sons” or “James & Sons”
  • “Super Awesome Tire Inc.” or “Super Awesome Tire Incorporated

Google and Bing algorithms are capable of normalizing data, which means that certain address variations are okay. We’ve compiled a list of these variations for those who prefer to have a reference.

Check Out the Acceptable NAP Abbreviations!

Have a question that’s not covered here or have another abbreviation to add? Leave a comment below and we’ll answer it!

AUTHOR

Nyagoslav Zhekov

Nyagoslav is the Director of Local Search at Whitespark. He has been in the local search industry since 2010. Nyagoslav has been cited on Search Engine Land, David Mihm's blog, Local SEO Guide, and has presented at SMX West.

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11 comments on “Whitespark’s List of A-OK NAP Variations for Google Maps & Bing

  • How about this type of variation:

    7 Pennsylvania Plaza
    and
    7 Penn Plaza

    The official Google Maps address for my business is “7 Pennsylvania Plaza” but everyone in NYC refers to it as “7 Penn Plaza” which is what its listed as on every site other than my Google Business Listing. I didn’t want to try and edit my Google Business address for fear of appearing as a new business and possibly losing my rankings.

  • Hi Adam,

    I think the easiest way to figure out if such a variation is fine would be to go to Google Maps and search for [7 Penn Plaza, New York, NY]. Does Google find the right address? If yes, then everything should be fine. If no, then you might be in trouble.

  • Mary, I am not perfectly convinced Google understands “555.555.5555” and “555-555-5555” as the same thing all the time, and that is why this particular variation hasn’t been included in the list. To give you an example, try the following queries:

    “503.362.9548” vs. “503-362-9548”

    Steve, I understand and appreciate your confusion. That was the main reason why we decided to put this together. I am, however, not entirely sure where you read the suite number issue you mentioned. Google is certainly able to figure out the address, even if the suite number is omitted, if the rest of the NAP is accurate. The reason for this is because Google doesn’t really “use” the suite number as a telling signal when matching data. However, from usability point of view, not including the suite number might potentially cause problems with the actual, real-life findability of the business, especially if they are located in a big business building, a hospital, or a mall.

    Adam, this is a great suggestion for an addition to our list. I have one concern about it, though. While it would work fine for US businesses, it might cause problems for businesses from many other countries around the world. I have seen that happen with Canadian businesses, for instance. The problem is that in most of the countries in the world the suite/apartment/unit number is placed *before* the street address (makes sense to me personally). Thus, having the street address number, with which the street address usually starts, spelled out or written with a number, might cause potential troubles.

    Corey, this was covered in the original version of the list, but due to the way the tables are structured it was later removed. “Suite” vs. “Ste” vs. “#” are all fine.

    Kathy, these are very small variations, but in general I would suggest that especially when working with lawyers you try to have the business name formatted in the same manner everywhere. Plural vs. singular forms, in particular, can easily be seen as entirely different things, and if it so happens that there are two law offices of John Smith in the same city, then leaving variations like the ones you mentioned floating around the space might cause issues.

  • Hey,
    I am wondering if it is ok to abbreviate Saint with St. or Fort with Ft., as in St. Augustine or Fort Worth.

  • We’re looking at doing citation cleanup with Whitespark. One question I have is whether unit/suite # formatting is important. For example: is #5-1234 Anywhere St the same as 1234 Anywhere St, Unit #4?

    • Hi Martin,

      It is fine if you use “Unit”, “Suite” or “#” for your suite number. However, in terms of how the information should be “ordered” within the address fields, it would be best if you stick to the standards. The standards differ from country to country, though. For instance, in the US the standard street address is given as:
      [Street Number] [Street Name] [Street Type], [Suite/Unit/Apartment/#] [Number of the Apt/Ste/Unit]
      For example:
      10 James Avenue, Suite 20
      In most other countries (including Canada) the formatting is the opposite:
      [Suite/Unit/Apartment/#] [Number of the Apt/Ste/Unit], [Street Number] [Street Name] [Street Type]
      For example:
      #20-10 James Avenue

      Hope this helps!

  • Australia has different formatting for phone numbers, I’m finding.

    Here are the variations I’ve found:
    +55 5555 555 555
    5555-555-555
    555 555 5555
    5555 555 555

    I’m wondering if you know whether any of these would be parsed as “errors”. Your current list of variations is really useful and it takes care of all the cases I’ve seen for USA and Canadian numbers.

  • When optimizing the address, does it make a difference to use “Route” or “US Highway” instead of the city’s street name i.e. “Main St”. We see this a lot for customers who use Route or Highway in their address, but when looking on maps ( like Google, Bing and Yahoo) they will also have a the street name such as “Main St”.

  • Hi Emma, I am not sure I understand your question. It is always best to use the correct version of the business address, without any additional extraneous terms. If words such as “Route” or “Highway” are part of the business address then you should certainly use them, and if they are not – don’t add them to the business address on listings.

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