NAP is one of the most important factors in Local SEO. While taking a nap can be good on a Sunday afternoon, it is not a good thing when you are trying to improve the local ranking of your business!
Now, we’re not saying that you should skip that Sunday afternoon nap—especially if it is a nice summer day—but you also shouldn’t skip out on NAP when managing your business online.
What Does N.A.P. Stand For?
All puns aside, by now you are probably wondering what NAP stands for. It’s simple. N.A.P actually just stands for Name Address Phone number. This is a critical component that search engines use to rank sites in the local search results. On the surface this seems pretty straightforward—a no-brainer, really—but given all of the places that your business is listed online, it can be quite a job to make sure that your data is correct across the web, even in places that you might control.
How Do Search Engines Use this Data?
NAP is used by search engines to identify businesses and understand their name, location, and phone number. This information is then used to place the business in search engine rankings, maps, local stacks, etc.
As the search engine bots crawl the web, they are looking for multiple instances of this information to ensure that the business is a real legitimate business. The more often they find it, and the more times that the information given matches the other information they find, the more likely they determine your business to be real and therefore the higher it will rank.
Why is it Important?
With search engines constantly looking for Name, Address, Phone Number data online, it is crucial that you have the correct information present on as many sites as possible.
In fact, based on the top local SEO factors from Moz, NAP is indicated to be important to both External Location Signals and on page signals to search engines—representing over 33% of the total weight in ranking factors. In other words, NAP is kind of a big deal.
Where Do I List my Site?
Listing your information is important, but many business owners are unsure of how to get started. It’s always good to start with the sites you do control and work from there. The first thing you should be doing is making sure that everything you control has the same phone number, address, and business name. This includes your own website, social media, directories, the BBB, Chamber of Commerce, Yelp, Angie’s List, and other industry-specific locations. These sites are enough to get any business started, but there are also many tools online that can help you control the sites that you may not have direct access to.
When first getting started in this process, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Place the same address on a crawlable page on your site. Including this information in the main content area, footer, or even sidebar can boost recognition.
- Put the information everywhere possible and make sure that everyone on your web team is aware of your preferred formatting (i.e. writing “street” vs. “St.” on your address). This includes social media, industry sites, BBB, industry directories, etc.
- If you are using mini sites or secondary sites, make sure that the numbers match. If not, the search engines will get confused and your data will be mixed up in the data ecosystem, leading to a lower rank.
- If you change your name, number, or address be sure to change all of the areas that you are listed in. This can be quite a process; if you need help, you can take a look at our local listing service.
- For multiple locations, you can list all locations Name, Address, and Phone Number on the same page. Be sure to call each one by the office / location name—and be consistent!
When we first started, I told you to take a nap on Sunday but as it turns out, something as simple as keeping NAP consistent can be a lot of work. If you are working overtime and can’t take that Sunday nap, reach out to a local SEO company for some help!