In the world of online acronyms, NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. Thanks to the popularity of local search and the importance that search engines place on providing accurate info to consumers, NAP plays a role in that other crucial acronym: SEO.
Small businesses need to be especially vigilant about ensuring correct, consistent NAP info in multiple locations across the Internet. Google scans for NAP info about businesses to identify real businesses versus spam entities. They also appreciate businesses providing up-to-date information, so that search engine results display reliable data to searchers.
If you’re a small, local business, you probably want accurate NAP anyway to make sure your customers know how to find you. But even if you don’t do business at a physical location — say, if you’re a general contractor with a home office — you still need to be mindful of NAP because it can boost, or hinder, your SEO efforts.
Best Practices for NAP
Your NAP info will be scanned by bots sent out by search engines, not human eyes. Make it easy on the bots by displaying your NAP the same in all locations. And we mean exactly the same, character by character. Stylize your business name one way (don’t vary between “Company” and “Co.”) and write the street address without variation (pick “Blvd.” or “Boulevard” and stick with it).
On your own website, it’s good to include NAP on a contact page as well as in your header or footer. Make sure it’s text, not just an image, so that the bots can read it. On your social media pages and other profiles, check to make sure the NAP appears consistently.
Control your NAP on other websites, too. Google wants to see the same NAP on third-party websites. Create or claim your business profile on Yelp, Manta, MerchantCircle and other directories. Submit your NAP to the chamber of commerce website and other local directories, and look for industry-specific directories like ZocDoc and HomeAdvisor.
Can Incorrect NAP Hurt SEO?
Taking care of all those NAP citations can be tedious, but it pays off with SEO results. Google and Bing will rank your site higher with confidence because the NAP info provides evidence that you’re a real business, and you’re taking care of your online presence.
Incorrect or missing NAP can dock your SEO below a competitor — or worse, get you buried behind several pages in the results. If Google thinks you might be a spam operator or fake website (yes, people create sites for businesses that don’t exist…) you can find yourself fighting a nightmarish, uphill battle to get back in Google’s good graces.
Local SEO Services from Rank First Local
So, don’t get caught sleeping — check your NAP on all your pages and directory listings, and keep it up to date. Make the search engines feel good about vouching for you.
Rank First Local offers local SEO services for small businesses—including NAP citation building and cleanup. If you’d like to learn more about our affordable SEO for small businesses and how we can help you reach your goals, contact us today.