Introduction to NAP: The Road to Local SEO Success
Are you a local business owner who wants to leverage the power of local SEO to grow your business? Then, you’ve come to the right spot because an introduction to NAP is exceptionally important when you’re starting your local SEO journey.
Local searches have dramatically grown in the past few years.
In fact, “where to buy” and “near me” searches grew by over 200% between 2017 and 2019.
It’s clear that local SEO is crucial to the success of a local business. And that underscores the importance of NAP and how it helps with citations. Citations, in particular, bolster your off-page SEO and NAP consistency is required there as well.
But what exactly is NAP and what do you need to know about it as an entrepreneur?
Let’s find out.
Table of Contents
- 1 Introduction to NAP in SEO: What is it All About?
- 2 Why is NAP Important for Local Search Engine Optimization?
- 3 Where Can You Find More NAP Citations?
- 4 How to Use NAP to Your Advantage
- 5 FAQ
- 6 Get Your NAP Right
Introduction to NAP in SEO: What is it All About?
Simply put, NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. In short, these three parameters are the various modes through which a potential customer can:
- Identify your business
- Contact your business
- Reach your business
This information is considered important for local businesses as it makes things easier for the customers.
Now that you got an introduction to NAP is, let’s try to understand its importance in local SEO.
Why is NAP Important for Local Search Engine Optimization?
As mentioned above, NAP is crucial information that a customer would need to get in touch with your business.
If this information isn’t accurate, it would instantly create a poor customer experience. And search engines work to penalize poor experiences. This means that such a situation may negatively impact your website rankings.
For instance, if the contact information on Facebook is incorrect, you’ll lose potential customers as they won’t be able to get in touch with you. At the same time, the customer won’t be able to find what they’re looking for.
That’s why local SEO stresses the importance of having accurate and consistent NAP information on all digital platforms. These include your website, social media platforms, bookmarking websites, and more.
Doing so would help in boosting up your rankings in the local search results. This, in turn, would mean that you’d get more inquiries, walk-ins, and conversions.
Now that you know about the importance of NAP, let’s take a look at how you can ensure that you score full marks in this regard, for local SEO.
Where Can You Find More NAP Citations?
Some NAP citations may be more obvious and easy to find. These include Google My Business, Yelp, and others.
However, finding NAP citations beyond these could be a challenge for marketers. You need to manually look for various local directories which aren’t as popular as bigger ones.
And how can you go about that?
Thankfully, the method is easy.
All you have to do is search “local business directory+city name”. This will bring up a list of all the local directories for your city from where you can get NAP citations.
For instance, note how the search for “local business directory + new york” yields the below results.
You can then head to each website and get your NAP citation there.
However, you’d manually have to verify each of these websites to understand whether they’re good citation listing websites or not. This process could be time-consuming too.
So, what can you do to avoid this situation?
We’ve got the answer in the form of our Link Chest. It contains nearly 300 verified local directories where you can submit your business information for NAP citations. All you have to do is filter the list, click on the website and submit your listing.
You can also keep track of the acceptance/rejection of your submissions using it.
How to Use NAP to Your Advantage
Here are the various strategies you can leverage to ensure that your NAP is accurate and consistent across platforms so that it can boost your SEO.
1. Conduct a NAP Audit
The first step in your SEO Checklist for ensuring NAP consistency and accuracy is identifying where your business is already listed online. It’s likely that your local business might be a part of some online directories already.
So, to run your audit, you can start by searching for your business name, address, and phone number on Google or other search engines.
This will show you a list of all the websites where your business is already listed. You can check the NAP information on all these business listings to see if it’s accurate and consistent.
For instance, note how Kacal’s Auto and Truck Service has its address listed on various websites and its Google My Business (GMB) listing. It’s also consistent everywhere.
2. Cross-Check Your Business Information
When you start your business and create a Google My Business listing for it, you should cross-check all the business information you’re entering, including business name, address, and phone number.
Also, you should regularly keep an eye on this listing using this Google My Business checklist as Google users can update this information too.
If you’ve recently shifted the location of your brick-and-mortar store or have changed your phone number, you must update it at the earliest. Else, it may affect your SEO negatively.
A word of caution here— don’t create new business listings when you shift the location of your stores. Instead, update the same one. Creating multiple business listings for the same website with different NAP data can negatively impact your business.
To check if you’ve already got some duplicate business listings, you can leverage a tool like Moz Local Listing Score.
And guess what?
Your Google My Business listing isn’t the only place where you should update this NAP data. It’s also important that you update this information on your website and social media platforms.
Additionally, it’s critical that you place your NAP on your contact page. You could also consider adding it to your website’s code, especially if you’re using a platform like WordPress. The idea is to make it easy for search engines to crawl and index this information.
For instance, note how the Moz Check Listing tool shows how many incorrect NAP entries are showing up in local directories.
3. Use Local Schema
Yet another important thing that you need to do is add local schema markup to your website. This would help search engines understand the NAP information of your business better.
Additionally, it improves the chances of your business getting featured in rich snippets in the search engine results pages (SERP). These include the likes of the knowledge graph, maps pack, and more.
And which structured data should you choose for it?
You should leverage the Local Business schema markup to ensure that search engines understand your NAP information well. This, in turn, would help in boosting your online presence.
For example, take a look at how Greenwood Heating & Air Conditioning shows up in the knowledge graph results. Here, you can see their address, photos, location, open hours, and more.
4. Update NAP Everywhere
While you may have updated your NAP information on your website, Google My Business (GMB) listing, Bing Places, and social media accounts, there’s a lot more to be done.
It’s very likely that your business may be listed on some other third-party websites and directories.
You need to ensure that the NAP information of your business is accurate and updated there too. For that, you might have to reach out to webmasters and ask them to edit your business listings.
This is where your NAP audit can come in handy. It’ll help you spot all those websites where your business is listed. You can then individually update all of this information to maintain NAP consistency in your listings.
It’s important to keep conducting this audit regularly to ensure that the NAP information remains accurate and consistent continuously. You must also update all of this information whenever your name, address, or phone number changes.
5. NAP as an Off-Page SEO Signal (Citation)
You could put up your NAP data on your website and other owned media outlets. However, this data could also appear on other third-party websites and local business directories in the form of local citations.
These citations typically consist of the mention of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP). There are three types of local citations you can get:
- Local Business Data Platforms: These are large platforms where you can create your citations. Examples include Google My Business, Yelp, Localeze.
- Industry or Location-Specific Platforms: These are ones that have local business listings of a particular location or industry. Examples include chamber of commerce websites.
- The Web: This includes websites and publications on the wider web including blogs, news websites, and more.
The purpose of citations is to help people locate and connect with your business. And that’s why having NAP consistency here is crucial.
Citations are considered important off-page SEO signals so poor consistency will affect your SEO drastically. You must make every effort to find and update these citations for best results.
For instance, note how Glitz N Glam Nail & Lash Spa has its NAP information displayed on Yelp.
See how this information is the same on their Google My Business listing as well.
1. What is NAP in local SEO?
NAP stands for name, address, and phone number in local SEO. Essentially, it’s the way through which people can find, reach, and get in touch with your local business.
2. Why is NAP important for SEO?
NAP information is important for local SEO because it comprises all the important details that a prospective customer would need to know to find, contact, and locate a local business.
It’s thus crucial to ensure that this information is accurate and consistent on every digital platform, including your website, social media, GMB listing, and more.
3. What is a consistent NAP?
Consistent NAP is the consistency in the business name, address, and phone number across multiple digital platforms. These include your website, Google My Business listing, social media platforms, local directories, etc.
4. Is NAP a ranking factor?
Yes, NAP is an important ranking factor when it comes to local SEO. If you maintain NAP consistency, it’ll positively influence your rankings. On the other hand, inconsistency in NAP will drop your rankings in the SERPs.
5. How do you correct a NAP?
Here are the steps through which you can correct your NAP:
- Conduct NAP audit
- Cross-check your business information
- Use local schema
- Update NAP everywhere
Now it’s time to discover the other 102 steps that will get more organic traffic flowing to your website. Get the SEO Checklist here.
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Get Your NAP Right
NAP is an important ranking factor when it comes to local SEO and it can make or break your chances of ranking higher in the SERP (search engines results pages).
To give a boost to your local SEO, you should ensure that your NAP information is accurate and consistent across all digital platforms.
For that, you should regularly conduct NAP audits and verify if your NAP is consistent everywhere, even when it comes to local citations. Additionally, you should leverage the Local Business schema markup to further improve your chances of getting featured in rich results in the SERP (search engines results pages).
Need more advanced tips on local SEO and NAP optimization? Check out our complete SEO Checklist.